In coming up with solutions to complex problems, sometimes the simplest and most elegant method may be the most effective. This was the essence of Project B.O.B, a Gold Award winner of the Safety Innovation Team Project, which will be recognised during the Keppel Safety Convention 2016 on 28 October.
Project B.O.B was conceived and implemented by the Safety & Operations Excellence team and Operations team at Indo- Trans Keppel Logistics Vietnam (ITKL Vietnam), a subsidiary of Keppel Logistics. Francis Le Vu Hung, Head of Safety, Operations Excellence & Projects and Antony Nguyen Quang An, Warehouse Manager, who headed the respective teams, jointly set out to solve a common problem facing most logistics and warehousing companies – leaning or out of square end frames on racking.
Conventionally, the steel racking shelves, on which pallets of goods are stored, are designed to flex under load, up to an allowable lean limit. Inspections are regularly carried out on the racking to ensure that leaning is within limits. Failure to do so can be disastrous, with the potential for loss of life and damaged goods from racking collapse.
The traditional inspection process involves both upright checks by the naked eye and a measurement tool which requires the inspector to secure the measurement tool on the racking and measure a distance between the top and bottom of a plumb line. It can be a very time consuming process, since ITKL Vietnam’s VSIP 1 Warehouse has more than 50 racks to inspect. This inspection process also has to be balanced with the busy operations schedule of the warehouse, which operates round the clock and sees a throughput of more than 1,000 pallets passing through its doors daily.
Spurred to develop an efficient checking method that could supplement regular rigorous checks, the team stripped down the racking measurement tool to its bare essentials: a weight (plumb bob) on a string. With its components simplified, the improvised measurement tool could be permanently installed onto every single racking beam. Coupled with some quick trigonometry calculations, the team devised an accompanying safety indicator to enable inspection staff to identify potential hazards at a glance.
At the same time, the team also took the opportunity to install reflective stickers on the racking to enhance visibility for Material Handling Equipment (MHE) operators retrieving or putting away pallets.
The benefits f rom the simple improvements were exponential. Following its implementation, which took a mere 30 minutes for the whole warehouse, the ITKL Vietnam team found that more than 30 man hours were saved per week on upright checks with staff morale boosted from the greater ease of checking.
Thanks to the reflective stickers, MHE operators are more efficient in their duties, saving more than 50 man hours each month.
The Project B.O.B team at ITKL Vietnam refined a complex and time-consuming measuring process to arrive at a simple checking solution that would complement regular rigorous checks at Keppel Logistics' facilities in Vietnam