I am currenlty consulting for a firm in South Africa (the only 100% Ergonomics Consultancy) and it worries me how reluctant people are to oinvest in Ergonomics. I have several approaches that I like to use when explaining the benefits of Ergonomics, however I would really appreciate guidance in terms of putting together a proposal clearly indicating the benefits on a monetary scale. If there is any research available on the South Africa market or other industrially developing countries I would be so grateful if you could point me in the right direction!
We manufacture ergonomic equipment for manufacturing and have certainly seen some of the same reluctance you describe. We try to address it with a very heavy focus on return on investment (ROI). In this economic climate, purchases (especially capital purchases, which cover many industrial ergonomic products) need to offer both a short payback and a high ROI. Believe it or not, with budgets so tight right now, customers expect to recoup their investment within the year — something not generally true in better economic times.
One aspect of our approach is to offer an ROI calculator that walks customers through the financial benefits of ergonomic purchases, based on reduction of injuries as well as reduction of takt time and improvements in quality control. We find this can be an essential tool to allow our customers to sell a solution within their organization.
HI Eric – thank you for the ROI Calculator reference – it is my belief that anyone involved in the field of ergonomics be made aware of the ROI first and foremost as this is the ONLY thing 80% of companies will pay attention to. Shareholders dictate how much money is spent outside of operations – and shareholders are blind to what ensures profits occur. WIth this view of business in mind it is tantamount upon Professional Ergonomists to present the case to employers before anything else.
Ergonomists should use case studies which are published & start to use research methodology when they embark upon their own work with clients. Sharing the information amongst Peers is also critical as when the whole profession succeeds we all succeed as well.
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