Industry Insights

Balancing the safety, productivity and quality triangle

How can you optimize three of the most important elements of manufacturing without risking a decline in output? Start by visualizing a three-legged stool. Each leg represents one aspect of your manufacturing operation: safety, productivity and quality. Each element feeds the others, and too much stress on any one part of the triangle can cause the entire stool to tip over.

The safety “leg”

Many companies claim that safety is their number one goal. Is that always realistic? What would you do if fixing a safety hazard was going to be a major expense for your organization, but putting a “band-aid” on it would get you by for a while? Depending on your cash flow you just might opt for the band-aid. In a competitive, fast-paced manufacturing environment, you sometimes have to decide between making safety “number one” and protecting the investments of the organization.

However, it’s in the company’s best interest to do whatever you can to keep your employees safe for multiple reasons, one of which is that they’ll be more effective. An injured employee usually won’t be a top performer.

The productivity “leg”

This leads to the next leg – productivity. What happens when you have a major increase in productivity, perhaps adding new equipment to handle it, without aligning your safety regulations and checking for new violations? The triangle becomes unbalanced. Too much focus on productivity and not enough on safety can have serious consequences, from an injury leading to significant downtime, or an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation.

The quality “leg”

And for the final leg of our stool, your production goals shouldn’t be at the expense of quality. New employees need training – on production and safety – so that they can reach your standards for quality. Any steps you skip could cost you later, so it’s critical to always maintain quality, regardless of the production numbers you aim for.

Keep your stool standing

Safety, productivity, and quality are equally important—they all keep the stool upright. This message on the importance of balance can be continually communicated throughout your organization. You should also hear the same message from your workforce provider. Their words and actions will demonstrate, “We’re here to work. We can get things done. We’ll help you succeed, but not at the expense of safety.”

If your employees are focused on all three objectives, then you have an engaged workforce that knows what’s important. Once all aspects of the triangle are balanced, everyone benefits from a healthy, dynamic work environment.

Keep your eyes focused on the three legs: safety, productivity and quality. Accomplish those goals and you’ll see real workplace dividends.

Contact Leadpoint at (800) 552-3136 for a personalized, complimentary safety audit.

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