Designated Forklift Home Locations
Material handlers often comment that they have to spend several minutes at the beginning of their shift searching for a forklift. When they find a forklift, it isn’t in any particular location and is sometimes in use.

A team decided to take this on as their PDCA project and looked at spaghetti diagrams of the forklifts to identify the most frequented locations and paths taken. They identified times when most searching was taking place.

It was determined that there had never been any standard regarding where to leave or return a forklift after use or while going on break. In most cases, the forklift would either be returned to the location where it was found or it would be left where it was last used. This created a lot of additional waste in searching for a forklift, not only for the material handlers, but also for operators.

The team decided that they needed to have designated home locations and began analyzing their spaghetti diagram data to help determine the best locations. The next challenge was finding a suitable method of identifying what forklift goes in what location, given that color blindness needs to be considered when looking at implementing visual management tools.

The team decided to use numbers for their locations and on the forklifts. This was a quick and simple visual aid that has helped to eliminate searching for forklifts.

Forklifts have numbered signs that correspond to their home location and also are identified with a posted number.

Parking Lot Safety
Safety concerns regarding pedestrian safety at Metform’s facilities spurred a group of Lean Basics to take action through their PDCA project.  A team began looking at the flow of both vehicle and pedestrian traffic into and out of facilities. With the increase in production, the number of semi-trucks picking up and delivering material has increased.

As the team began to analyze the data they collected, they quickly identified that there was not enough visual management to alert drivers of the location/presence of pedestrians, as well as opposing traffic flow in key areas. The team worked to install a designated pedestrian walk way across the main drive, changed the flow of traffic through the middle and south parking lots, installed stop signs in key areas (including at the pedestrian crosswalk), installed no parking signs along the main drive and posted speed limit signs.

This level of visual management can benefit any facility where pedestrians are required to cross the main drive of a facility and interact with vehicle traffic.

Designated pedestrian walkway across main drive with stop signs on both sides, no parking signs along main drive, and posted speed limit sign while on property.