Recently, a North American uniform and work apparel company with a culture of embracing improved ergonomics throughout their manufacturing plants and distribution network was looking for a better way to unload containers & trailers at their main distribution hub.
Their inbound docks received containers & trailers filled with floor-loaded product. A team of 2 workers manually palletized the product inside the can. Once a pallet was complete, it was removed by forklift and transported to the warehouse. To assist workers, the company had purchased powered roller conveyor with an impact table and inclined conveyor. This intervention did help, but workers still had to use a step stool to reach ceiling height boxes or alternatively, climb on boxes to handle cartons. Over the years, the conveyor impact section had taken abuse from boxes being dropped onto it and the section was becoming less reliable.
The company-wide focus on ergonomics was not a reaction to a number of recent incidents, but based on the corporate culture of preventing injuries. Their proactive approach identified the inbound dock area as having a high probability for injury. With this in mind, the company initiated a justification process to purchase equipment as an intervention strategy. The process assessed the number of motions saved over the course of one year, the number of potential injuries and established dollar value as a cost to the company. The assessed cost was calculated to be $1.2 million, leading decision makers to search for an intervention device to reduce the risk of injury for their workers.
At a prominent industry trade show, the company discovered the Destuff-IT™ product line, manufactured by Engineered Lifting Systems & Equipment Inc. (ELS). After discussions with ELS, the company had a Destuff-IT™ product demonstration at their facility. One year later, they purchased a Destuff-IT™ with powered roller conveyor which integrated with their inclined conveyor.
While health & safety was the driving force behind the purchase of a Destuff-IT™, the company was pleased to realize productivity gains of 20% over their previous method of unloading. With an average of 900 case per truck, their inbound dock was capable of unloading 1.5 to 2 more trucks per day. Additionally, personnel who operated the Destuff-IT™ reported the machine improved their overall work experience and also commented they were not as fatigued or sore at the end of the day, allowing them to enjoy after work activities.
The company has an eye on using a bi-directional Restuff-IT™ for their outbound operations, however renovations and building alterations would need to be completed to reconfigure the floor space.