The Effect of Heat on Production and Quality

Ron Rompen

Trusted Information Resource
Now that summer is here, I am seeing (once again) an upswing in quality rejects, as well as a slight downward trend in overall production values. This is not the first time I've noticed it, but this is the first time that I've actually paid enough attention to it to want to DO something about it.

So, to cut to the chase - to sell any kind of 'new' idea to our management team, I need some solid information to back me up on my hypothesis (elevated temperatures on the plant floor correlate with poor quality/lower production). So far I have not been able to find any studies which have been undertaken along these lines, but I am sure they exist, I just am not wording my search query correctly.

Can anyone here point me in the right direction? Even if its to a paper/study which disproves my theory - then I can stop wasting time on it, and start working on the next one :)



Fully vaccinated are you?
I assume you haven't tracked temperature and humidity the past few years.
Sorry - I can't help. I don't remember ever having seen such a study. Hopefully someone else has.

I did work with a company that was moving a plant to Mexico some years back. It was an older place and had furnaces. It was summer and very hot inside and out. They had to track temperature and humidity due to a regulation with regard to working conditions. There were days when I was there when they had to give the employees hydration (they chose... popsicles of all things). I think there was a longer break time, too if I remember correctly. I remember HR was responsible for monitoring and tracking the production area and taking action when temperatures reached a certain level.

Ron Rompen

Trusted Information Resource
Yes, we do track temperature and humidity (OHSA requirement), but the data is not very well maintained or accessible. I was hoping to find a study (preferably by someone with alphabet soup after his name) which links increased workplace temperature to reduced quality/productivity.
I have seen a similar study for cold temperatures, but I can't recall where I found it, or how.


Trusted Information Resource
Couldn't you just study it yourself? Compare you numbers today with numbers from December/January. See if there is a change.

But cutting to the chase -- what can you really do about it? AC and fans I suppose?

Ron Rompen

Trusted Information Resource
Thanks Soma.

And yes Golfman, I can start to do the study now - however (knowing our senior team) I will need to have some 'scholarly' articles to back up my hypothesis.

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
What is made there?

I once did a ROI study based on two major types of defects in late-stage CNC machining of a critical characteristic, a tight tolerance press fit surface. We were able to chart the defect rates throughout the day and season, and correlate them with temperature and humidity fluctuations that the machinist was not able to keep up with and make his adjustments.

Based on the cost of lost sales for those parts, I added up the costs of walling off the CNC area (small room) and putting a window air conditioner in there, and running it for a year. I determined that if we could save just 10% of those parts, the upgrades would pay themselves off in six months.

Once you chart parts losses on a linear time scale, you can count up their costs and compare them to infrastructure upgrades using a quality cost calculator such as the one I attached in the QA Inspection Gate - QA caught defect in the buy-off stage? thread.

A paper on the productivity subject is available here for purchase and an article can be found here.


Quite Involved in Discussions
Knowing what you do would help. Summer is not only heat and humidity related to quality or lack of but other factors that may apply include: usually there is summer help that may not be experienced, usually summer is associated to longer hours and more work going thru, turnover is sometimes higher in the summer, summer may be your profit season so more stress to get it out the door, vacations are taken and people are out. These things can also have an impact on safety.


Quite Involved in Discussions
The Economic Impacts of Temperature on
Industrial Productivity: Evidence from Indian
May want to check this out. A lot of articles in relation to office environment as well as the psychological aspects of temperature and humidity


Quite Involved in Discussions
Re: Function in french called "numbre de posage(s)" - CMK Question

This article might help.

Cost benefit analysis of the night-time ventilative cooling in office building (Conference) | SciTech Connect

The title refers to an office environment, but the second paragraph on page 2 has information on a call center and a garment factory.

It might be worth contacting this outfit

Manufacturing Employees Safety: Risk Placement Services : Risk Placement Services, Inc.

to find out where they got this:

"In addition to increasing the likelihood of injury or illness on the job, a hot work environment can contribute to a slower work pace. Studies show that worker productivity will decrease by more than one percent for every two degrees that temperatures rise over 77°F. At temperatures of 92°F or higher, there is a 16.6% decrease in productivity."
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