Ergonomics is about the whole person – and the whole company. At least, this is true for Kinnarps. At the same time as the company develops, produces and sells interior designs to customers, we ourselves are a large workplace, with the same high ergonomic demands as any other, or even higher.
“ Yes, I think we probably do have higher ambitions than most other companies when it comes to ergonomics – it would be a bit odd if we didn’t,” says Production Director Anders Hermansson.
”For one thing, we know how important ergonomics is in enabling people to feel good and be able to perform. For another, we already have the necessary know-how in the company, so it is a little easier and more self-evident that we should have our own good ergonomic solutions there.”
ERGONOMICS FROM THE START
This high level of ambition does not only apply to our own office environments, of course, but permeates the whole process – from production to delivery. Since so many Kinnarps products are technically advanced, assembly is one of the great challenges.
At the Kinnarps factory in Jönköping, a new assembly line for chair underframes has just been put into service. We went there to talk to ergonomist Anders Lundahl, who has worked with ergonomics at Kinnarps for a long time.
”Our systematic work with ergonomics permeates everything we do, and the new line is a good example of this. Ergonomic thinking began at the design stage, and then we had a test workplace where we did an evaluation before we built the actual finished line,” says Lundahl when we come into the factory. One of the big challenges with this particular assembly is that there are many delicate and precise operations that have to be done inside the underframe and in various corners.
The line therefore ensures that the chair underframe automatically ends up at the right angle for assembly, instead of the employee having to work in unnatural and gruelling body postures.
”We also have height-adjustable flooring, so that the working height is right no matter how tall you are, and employees can choose whether to sit or stand at their work station.”
CONTINUING TO DEVELOP
Anders Lundahl goes on talking about the line as we walk round and look. He shows the adjustable flooring, and points out that the light neither shadows nor dazzles and that the tools are easily accessible and customised for the work. It is clear that every little detail has been thought through.
”And you’ll also notice that I can talk at normal conversational volume, because the sound level is so low,” he says. Safety is of course an obvious aspect, and is dealt with partly through the use of double commands requiring both the operator’s hands, which prevents crushing. It is equally obvious that material supply does not require any heavy manual lifting. Anders Lundahl has every reason to be satisfied.
”Yes, I’m satisfied in the sense that the production environment has turned out really well, but there are other things that can be improved even further, both here and elsewhere in the organisation. We’re continuing to develop our ergonomic solutions and practise what we preach.”
Explanation; Anders Lundahl: Anders Lundahl is a trained ergonomist and physiotherapist who works at Kinnarps. As well as the ergonomic development work on the products, Anders checks all the workplaces and ensures that all employees receive training and advice on how to work ergonomically.