According to MSN Money and the US Congressional Budget Office, US worker disability payments outpaced the government’s ballooning spending on food stamps in 2012. With a rise in government expenditures comes a need for tax increases which only adds pressure to manufacturing companies already struggling to meet the ecommerce, economic demand with a limited labor force. Recognizing the need to provide the optimal work environment to address these distribution challenges, SSI Schaefer has developed an extensive range of highly-flexible, ergonomic and innovative semi-automated solutions. The workstations, which are part of SSI Schaefer’s ergonomics@work!® program, offer new and trend-setting ergonomic attributes which have been tested and recommended by official occupational-health experts.
The German health and safety institute, BAD, represented by Dr. Sven Stabenow confirms, “The workstations developed by SSI Schaefer provide an outstanding contribution to ergonomics during the order fulfillment process. They reduce health risks for employees and eliminate barriers for employees with physical challenges.”
To provide optimal working conditions, flexibility in the workplace and in work processes is necessary and needs to adjust to each respective employee. An activity that is easily implemented by an employee and follows a clear process will be achieved with high quality and efficiency. Manual activities with high strains on an employee lead to decreased performance and increased error rates as well provide a higher risk for employee illnesses.
“With the increasing manpower shortage and the demographic change to an older workforce, the need for flexible, physically relieving solutions which are ergonomically optimized, health keeping and tailor-made has evolved,“ says Elmar Issing, business unit manager New Technologies and Solutions at SSI Schaefer, Giebelstadt. “To meet these requirements, special picking stations and workstations have been developed by SSI Schaefer.”
Hard wearing postures lead to decreased performance, increased error rates and an upsurge of employee illness.
Ergonomic workstations of SSI Schaefer replace the activities of lifting and carrying with ergonomic tearing and pushing.
To analyze the suitability of the ergonomic workstations for daily use, SSI Schaefer commissioned BAD and the Accident Prevention & Insurance Association Trade and Goods Distribution (BGHW). The objective of the analysis was to get a realistic comparison of the strains of the person´s musculoskeletal system between today´s traditional picking methods and the newly developed workstations of SSI Schaefer following the goods-to-person concept. With each test, identical pallets were picked and the test-employee wore a special sensory suit to measure all movement and strains on the human body.
It was concluded that the workstations of SSI Schaefer exceeded the requirements of the Employer´s Liability Insurance Association. According to the report from BGHW, 98% of the carried out postures by the palletizing workstation with manual picking are classified as “non wearing”. Due to the significant reduction of the declination of the upper part of the body, an improvement of the posture is achieved at the palletizing workstation with manual picking compared to the usual picking.
Ralf Schick, head of the section physical strains in trade and goods logistics of the BGHW in Mannheim, adds, “Considerably wearing as well as considerably hard wearing postures no longer occurs at the SSI Schaefer palletizing workstation with manual picking.” The combination of automation and manual flexibility achieves significant optimization potentials at the picking workstations.
SSI Schaefer’s innovative workstation solution provides a significant increase in health, employee satisfaction, economy and occupational safety. With this concept, an employee can achieve a consistent, errorless picking performance, and therefore, increase productivity, delivery quality and packing density. SSI Schaefer sets standards with this new development in the area of ergonomic workstation design and underlines its leading position for sustainable system solutions.