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Jeff Sanford


Process Management First, Tools Second

Ergonomics skills must pave the way for ergonomics tools

Published: Wednesday, October 12, 2016 - 13:05

Since  we at Humantech developed an entire software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering to help our clients streamline the ergonomics process, a recent article in the Harvard Business Review gave me the opportunity to reflect on how our clients successfully implement ergonomics from a process management perspective. No matter your line of business or what productivity tools you use, it’s important to understand that the methodology must come first.

In the article, “Until You Have Productivity Skills, Productivity Tools Are Useless,” author Maura Thomas explains it this way:
A workflow management process keeps the focus on the big picture while offering a structure in which to organize and manage the details. So when people ask me for advice about choosing software to improve productivity for themselves or their organizations, I ask them this question: ‘How will the software fit into the existing workflow management process?’ And often, we quickly uncover the real problem—there is no workflow management process.

She goes on to say:
“Productivity, similarly, is also a combination of skill and tools, for both organizations and individuals. Regardless of the software, apps, and gadgets that a company invests in for its employees, those tools aren’t going to make the employees more productive unless they are also taught a solid methodology with which to use those tools.”

This reiterates the need to focus on preparation for the deployment of any productivity tool. During a webinar last week, my colleagues, Winnie Ip and Walt Rostykus, shared Humantech’s approach to deploying an ergonomics process. Deployment is step four of our five-step process we call The Engagement Model. Deployment consists of the following four elements, which are also detailed in this e-book, Four Steps to Deploying Your Ergonomics Process by Walt Rostykus and Winnie Ip:
1. Prepare people for success
2. Provide the right tools and resources
3. Apply the job improvement process
4. Track your progress

These four simple steps prepare your organization and create the environment in which to cultivate those productivity skills that are necessary for success. Only when a strong workflow management process is followed will you truly see the benefits of the ergonomics tools you have invested in.


About The Author

Jeff Sanford’s picture

Jeff Sanford

Jeff Sanford, director and ergonomics engineer for Humantech, is responsible for developing and managing customized, global ergonomics programs in a variety of industries including steel, food and beverage, aerospace, pharmaceutical, and automotive. Sanford helps clients reduce injuries and increase efficiency through Humantech’s software tools.