As manufacturers continue their reopening efforts, there will undoubtedly be struggles and problems. The following guidelines may help as you learn to overcome these obstacles and improve the performance of workplace activities.

  • Work activities are likely to move at a slower pace; accept that and learn from observation. Realize and accept there will be a period of experimentation, use this to your advantage and improve the processes as you go.
  • Maintain your continuous improvement practices and efforts. There may be a great deal of low hanging fruit to address as processes are restarted with new protocols.

Establish regular gemba walks by leadership to identify waste and discuss practical improvements with shop floor personnel.

  • Material may not be able to flow as continuously as before due to separation of employees, but every effort should be made to ensure it does flow. Resist the temptation to resort back to large lots and long setups. Remember the waste of material transportation is a lesser evil than the waste of overproduction and waiting.

Overproduction is a primary waste that contributes to all of the remaining 7 wastes.

  • There will be unavailability of employees due to health and other concerns. Child care issues are a major concern and will result in absenteeism. Your organization needs to identify who the primary and alternate operators are, and what other potential alternatives exist. Develop checklists for those who will be running equipment which has not been their primary responsibility. Cross training may be needed.
  • Track your progress and improvements. Don’t lose the learning from the improvements.
  • Establish clear and consistent communications. Use multiple methods to ensure everyone gets the information:
    • Central message board that is updated regularly.
    • Incorporate information sharing as part of gemba walks mentioned earlier.
    • Provide a chance for leaders to discuss the situation with staff.
    • Over-communicating is better than under-communicating.

Insyte Consulting is determined to assist our clients in reopening in the most efficient manner, please call us to help you or email

David Hanitz: 716-982-6406
Ryan Case: 716-864-4329

Read more of Insyte’s #ReopenWNY blog series:

Reopen WNY: Supporting WNY Manufacturers Through COVID-19 and the New Normal – Insyte is adapting services to support manufacturers in a landscape that has and will continue to change daily – including current priorities and contingency plans for another outbreak

Reopen WNY: Covid-19 Visual Controls – As your employees start coming back and settling into their existing or new jobs, the time is right to think about enhancing your visual controls.

Reopen WNY: The New Office Environment – With an estimated 60+% of employed Americans working from home during the pandemic, the latest wave of change surrounds getting these people safely back to the office.

Reopen WNY: Touchless Visitor Sign In – If you are considering a visitor management system, this blog highlights those that offer touchless options & are compliant with NYS COVID-19 guidelines.

Reopen WNY: Workplace Activity – As manufacturers work to reopen their facilities and begin production, New York state has issued the Reopen NY Master Guidance for Manufacturing Activities.





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