Mundelein Makes Strides Toward Plant Floor Safety

Continuous improvement is MacLean-Fogg’s way of life. This steady drive toward perfection keeps our business in a constant state of positive change. A mantra among associates is: “To be better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than today.”

Eliminating Potentially Dangerous Interactions
A project came out of a Lean Basic course. A group of Mundelein associates formed to eliminate interactions between forklifts and pedestrians on the plant floor. After conducting observations, gathering data, completing studies, spaghetti diagrams, and tallies for three main aisles on the plant floor, the team identified the path with the greatest foot traffic.

Data Collection
One Material Handler kept a tally for a week while working in the deflection aisle. Every time he had to stop for a pedestrian, he’d make a mark for the day and record how long he had to wait. By week’s end, he noted on average how many times he was encountering a pedestrian and the average length of each interaction. The team then calculated how many working hours each year could be lost due to pedestrian and forklift interactions and identified opportunities for improvement.

Non-essential foot traffic on the plant floor causes interactions with forklifts—Focus was placed on reducing interactions. Using a fishbone diagram, root causes were identified. The team established a pedestrian pathway, and created a written and trained standard. After meeting with stakeholders, planning out potential floor plans, and researching materials, a group was gathered to create a presentation for management and supervisors to get feedback and support to improve the situation.

Solution identified and implementation began—The new pedestrian path was defined. Coils, WIP piles, and other goods were moved. Guard rails were installed along the path, and bars were hung above the WIP to ensure that nothing was stacked above the protective rails. Stop signs and mirrors were placed at each intersection. The foot traffic only path also needed to be accessible for forklift drivers. Shoulders were created so pedestrians could safely enter and wait for a forklift to pass.

Written standard—Following implementation, the team created an English and Spanish written standard, updated the floor plan, and scheduled supervisor training. Supervisors then trained their direct reports. Each Mundelein employee signed off that they understood the new pathway.

Mundelein Team Exceeded Their Goal
The team’s goal was to reduce non-essential interactions by 50%. By implementing the pedestrian pathway, the team helped eradicate potentially dangerous interactions. 

Aisle-3          Aisle-4

After the path was cleared, guard rails, mirrors and stop signs were installed to keep pedestrians safe.