To be the best company for our clients and our employees, we know we have to work on continuously improving Swiss-Tech, and this year that meant implementing a new fluid handling system.
Issues with old system
Our old fluid storage system consisted of large 55 gal. drums that did not have a permanent storage location – they were stored outside during warmer months and then had to be relocated indoors during the winter. The old drum storage system also limited our ability to visually manage the process and lacked a localized spill containment system. Another major issue with the old system was that all the drums had to be moved by hand, which could potentially cause injuries to our employees, spills and wasted product.
Other concerns with old system:
- Multiple drums of same fluid being used on-site
- Product not always clearly labeled
- Oil on floor of storage area – potential slip hazard
- Inventory and ordering system may not be accurate
- Lacks Control
With the unorganized system of storage drums being used throughout the facility, there were potentially unknown or unidentified fluids being used throughout the facility. Not only were the drums not being tracked effectively, which challenged our ability to control inventory. The lack of control and organization, Swiss Tech decided it was better for our products and employees to implement a new more safe and effective method for fluid handling.
New fluid handling system
The innovative fluid handling management system we implemented in July has several storage and safety benefits. Not only does the system allow for clean and efficient product transfer to make sure no product is wasted and everything is within full regulatory compliance, but it also has a total spill containment system, can be stored right next to the appropriate work area, is modular and expandable, and frees up valuable floor space. With the new system, our employees don’t have to clean, tip, switch or replace any of those large 55 gal. drums.
One of our biggest focuses with implementing the new system was ease of use for our employees.
“The employees really like the new system,” Swiss-Tech SQE / Continuous Improvement Frank Frederick stated. “The new system makes it easy to identify product, and it’s fast and easy to dispense from. This Method provides improved management and control of all fluids being used”
Our material handler/chip spinner operator uses the system the most and helps Swiss Tech perform some preventative maintenance on the machines, and orders product when needed. The entire line of products associated with the system is now in his area. (Point of Use Storage)
“He really likes it because it makes his job more efficient,” Frederick said. “The system is very visual so he can more effectively inventory and order product when needed.”
Our employees like that the system is self-contained, so oils aren’t spilling on the floor and causing a slip hazard. They also like that the system is a gravity fed system, so no more hand pumping of product that could cause potential ergonomic issues and saves valuable time.
Additional improvements associated with new system
With the implementation process, we came across additional areas of improvement we are currently working on. Over the next several months, we will be clearly labeling all machines with required oils and lubes – possibly implementing a color-coded system to avoid any confusion. We will be developing a better method to make sure all of our employees understand the usage of oils and lubes in our day-to-day process. We will also be removing all discontinued oils and lubes, and clearly labeling all secondary containers being used. All of these additional improvements will help make our processes simpler, safer and more accurate.
As we continue to work through these improvements, we’re already looking at additional ways to upgrade to make Swiss-Tech an even better place for our employees to work and an even better company for our clients.