Implementing TQM at L. L. Bean. Rooney, Morency, and Herrick (1993) have reported on the use of macroergonomics as an approach and methodology for introducing total quality management (TQM) at the L. L. Bean corporation, known internationally for the high quality of their clothing products. Using methods similar to those described above for Imada's intervention, but with TQM as the primary objective, over a 70% reduction in lost-time accidents and injuries was achieved within a two-year period in both the production and distribution divisions of the company. Other benefits, such as greater employee satisfaction and improvements in additional quality measures, also were achieved. Given the present emphasis in many organizations on implementing ISO 9000, these results take on even greater significance.
The above are but a sample of the variety of ergonomic interventions that we, as a profession, are capable of doing to improve not only the human condition but the bottom line as well. From my 35 years of observation and experience, only rarely are truly good ergonomics interventions not beneficial in terms of the criteria that are used by managers in evaluating the allocation of their resources.
As many of the above ergonomic interventions also illustrate, ergonomics offers a wonderful common ground for labor and management collaboration, for invariably both can benefit managers, in terms of reduced costs and improved productivity, employees in terms of improved safety, health, comfort, usability of tools and equipment, including software, and improved quality of work life. Of course, both groups benefit from the increased competitiveness and related increased likelihood of long-term organizational survival that
Contact: Lois Smith
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society