When properly posting standard work charts over the last few days, several hidden benefits of improved visibility and air flow emerged. By auditing standard work instructions posted throughout one of our manufacturing plants, I expected just to improve accessibility and functionality. Sometimes hidden benefits come out after making an improvement with lean manufacturing principles.
The standard work charts were posted on boards above the workstation with several requiring ladders to reach. These high ones were outdated due to the difficulty to reach them and not readable from the shop floor. (A lean reminder-If the maintenance department is required to post standard work, you are not properly posting them!).
After removing them, the first hidden benefit of improved visibility across the department quickly could been seen (no pun intended). Keeping structures below head level allows improved visibility of process flow and communication between operators. In addition, this clear line of sight improves safety.
Improving air flow earned quick approval on the shop floor. As most manufacturing plants in America, ours is not air conditioned. Fans primarily push air across the department providing minimal relief during the hot summer months. Without the boards above, the air flow circulates freely. Improvements like this go a long way to gaining support on the shop floor.