4 Ways Signage Keeps Manufacturing Rolling Smoothly

by Drue Townsend

Major manufacturing plants are so immense and complex they’re almost like their own cities. An auto manufacturing plant, for example, may have roadways, clinics, restaurants, gyms and office complexes all under one roof. While manufacturing contracts continue to be outsourced overseas there are still many factories in our country that are proud to operate efficiently and cost-effectively in America. A significant factor in this efficiency is manufacturing signage. Here are the 4 ways signage keeps manufacturing rolling smoothly:

1. Safety

Manufacturing safety signage is likely the most critical and common type of signage found in factories. A company’s safety procedures are an important part of maintaining OSHA standards and building a reputation in the community as a great place to work. Depending on the type of manufacturing, safety signage can encourage workers to use caution around welding, open pits, robotic machinery, overhead conveyers, fast-moving fork lifts and chemicals. Effective safety signage keeps plants running smoothly by:

  • Keeping workers healthy and uninjured
  • Ensuring visitors don’t injure themselves or stop production by touching equipment they shouldn’t
  • Avoiding collisions between different transport modes. For example, a delivery truck stacked with boxes colliding with an overhead conveyer.
  • Easily identifying first aid or eye wash stations

2. Wayfinding

Some assembly plants can run entire city blocks and take up miles of real estate. Immense factories need their own internal wayfinding systems to keep workers, materials, suppliers and supervisors all moving efficiently around the complex. Some use painted lines on the factory floor to point out routes while others have interactive map kiosks placed strategically around the factory.

Many automotive manufacturing plants have real street signage inside the complex because workers will drive cars that need additional work from the end of the line to repair bays and back to the distribution centers. These factory “streets” have Stop, One Way and Pedestrian Crossing signs just like real roadways.

3. Communication

Whether an assembly station needs more stock or a supervisor needs to resolve an issue before the line can start again, communication across a manufacturing facility is imperative. Manufacturing signage can facilitate communication in many ways. Factories with internal telephone systems often have highly-visible phone signs posted on poles so workers can see the nearest station from long distances. Other factories have adopted digital signage to provide real-time messaging to employees across the facility.

4. Employee Motivation

No matter how many robots and automated systems exist in a factory, every business needs people to integrate systems and keep things rolling smoothly. And many studies have found the happier and more motivated those people are, the better the results. Signage can help keep worker morale up and motivate employees to stay healthy.

The classic “X Days Since an Accident” factory signage has been parodied many times, but it remains a staple to remind workers that everyone is responsible for each other’s safety and the reputation of the company is in their hands. Signage can also highlight outstanding workers and promote company incentives. The giant Buick City Assembly Plant in Flint, Michigan had a safe walking path within the plant to encourage workers to get some exercise and stretch their legs on breaks. Workers just had to follow the “Buick City 1 Mile Loop” signage to get a quick workout in during their shift.

Manufacturing signage plays a key role in keeping operations rolling through safety notices, wayfinding, communication and worker motivation. If you’d like to discuss signage options or manufacturing safety tips, wayfinding solutions and effective communication, talk to the experts at your local FASTSIGNS® today!