Streamlining the manufacturing procedure without sacrificing the quality of your product is essential when you want to increase your facility’s output. After all, it’s well-known that efficient procedures lead to higher quality products that help producers develop a loyal customer base. Here are some ways to improve productivity in your manufacturing unit:
1. Improve Training
Hands-on training gives workers the chance to learn best practices that can improve the efficiency of their operations. Invest in your employees by training them in multiple processes; this way, they can fill in for one another, tackle an increase in seasonal demand, and troubleshoot issues.
During training, try to get feedback from your workers. Because they have first-hand experience on the factory floor, they will likely know something about improving productivity. Listen to their suggestions and integrate the best ones into your next training program.
Note: Having a conversation with your workers is also great for their morale. The factory staff feels valued when someone gives weight to their opinion.
2. Optimize Management
The factory floor isn’t the only level where processes need to be optimized—you’ll want to streamline processes at the management level too. Follow the principles of lean manufacturing; access the value of each step, organize your workflow, and foster a culture of empowerment for everyone.
While many of these principles can be implemented without changing current practices, you’ll want to review your SOPs (standard operating procedures) to find out what works and what doesn’t. Overhaul the parts that don’t work or don’t function as efficiently.
3. Commit to a Schedule
There are multiple steps involved in the manufacturing process, including meeting deadlines for order shipments and managing stock inventory. Without planning and scheduling, a manufacturer will likely face order issues and disruptions that can frustrate and turn away suppliers and customers.
To maximize efficiency, you’ll need to develop a precise schedule and follow it. You can do this with the help of production scheduling software such as Katana. Identify the best time to carry out procedures using information from the floor and your workflow processes.
4. Eliminate Waste
Waste happens in many areas of manufacturing, and it’s not always obvious. For instance, wasted human physical energy isn’t usually visible to the naked eye. Additionally, you can experience waste in the form of worker mismanagement and unnecessary labor costs, which can negatively impact manufacturing efficiency.
Use standard operating procedures to measure efficiency across your facility and identify areas to improve. It’s also a good idea to consult an objective third party to assess your organization’s use of resources without bias. Eliminate workflows and processes tied to wastefulness.
5. Leverage Data
Before you invest in new machinery or buy a piece of software, analyze the current state of your operation. Many manufacturers don’t realize that their floor may not be running at its peak, to begin with. Identify which areas of your facility are underperforming and document the relevant metrics. Doing this will help you optimize your workflows so that they operate efficiently for years to come.
Keep an eye on your production numbers, especially after reorganizing the factory floor, to measure process improvements. Monitor and record the results of adopting a new piece of technology to see what impact it has on your operation. Collecting and using data is imperative to set your operation up for long-term success.
6. Reorganize Floor Design
The design of your facility can have a major impact on your manufacturing productivity. If there are large pieces of equipment or tortuous paths weaving blindly through shelving, your workers could have difficulty doing their jobs effectively.
Consider reorganizing your facility to reduce the number of steps your employees take. It’s also a good idea to invest in things that optimize their route across the floor so they don’t need to walk from one end of the facility to another (something that frequently happens in warehouses). For instance, you could set up conveyor belts exclusively for bringing materials to the workers instead of having them move across the floor to get what they need.
7. Switch from Manual to CNC Machining
If you’re still running manual machining operations, it’s time to upgrade to CNC machining. Plasma CNC machines can produce more pieces in less time, improving productivity while reducing waste. The five-axis CNC machines can create more complex pieces than available alternatives, building new revenue streams.
Additionally, plasma CNC machines can help you maximize your available labor. With talented workers being short in supply, it’s critical to use your existing workforce smartly. Because CNC machining requires fewer operations than other manufacturing methods, it can free up workers to focus on other tasks. In other words, CNC production helps you accomplish more in less time with the same resources.