Perhaps the most important metric in your organization is not profitability or sales, but productivity. A productive workforce is making the best possible use of your resources. Low productivity proves that there are inefficiencies and waste in your organization. Instead of trying to scale up your current infrastructure, invest in productivity improvements instead. Here are 5 ways to increase productivity at your manufacturing facility.
Analyze Your Current Workflows
The first thing you need to do is map out your current processes. This is everything from order fulfillment to manufacturing processes to shipping. Know how everything you currently do is being done.
This has several benefits. First, you have the benchmark from which you can measure the benefits of any productivity enhancements like automating bottlenecks. Second, you may be able to see immediate savings by eliminating unnecessary steps. A value stream map in addition to a workflow map will show you steps that aren’t value-added that could be eliminated.
Update Processes Where Appropriate
Once you have documented and mapped the existing workflow, look for areas that need to be updated or changed. Automating manual work may be a solution, but you may find that adopting more efficient manual processes gives you more flexibility while increasing productivity. Don’t make a change without having a financial or safety reason for doing so.
Don’t forget to look at the intermediate steps in the process flow. For example, many companies focus on the manufacturing equipment but overlook the time wasted transporting items from step A to step B. However, this is where having a solid conveyor belt system could work. If you live in a manufacturing hub like the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we suggest you consult with specialists in conveyors in Texas. They’ll be able to teach you how you could speed up your operations by letting conveyors move raw material or finished parts.
Invest in Employee Education and Training
If you adopt new software solutions to help with scheduling or equipment monitoring, invest in employee training so they know how to use these new tools. If you buy smarter equipment, ensure that your employees know how to use it correctly.
Consider training all operators on how to do regular maintenance and troubleshooting. Maintain records regarding employee training, and schedule refresher courses as necessary. Furthermore, you need to make certain that new hires and long-time employees who change jobs receive the necessary training. Allow employees to learn new skills or earn credentials that allow them to advance in the workplace.
Invest in Preventative Maintenance
A surprising number of firms consider maintenance an expense to be minimized. They pay for it in the form of broken equipment and unplanned downtime. The solution is to invest in preventative maintenance. Make maintenance a priority and add it to the schedule. Don’t skimp on air filters, replacement oil, and other supplies. Recognize that this extends the life of your production equipment as well as minimizes the risk of costly unplanned downtime. If you have manufacturing control systems monitoring your production equipment, your data may help you plan the least disruptive time for maintenance or warn you of needed repairs before there is a total breakdown.
Quite a bit of money is wasted because the workplace isn’t organized. The five minutes someone spends looking for the right tool may not seem like much, but it adds up when multiplied by the number of people in your organization doing the same thing every day.
Organize your workplace and have a central location for receiving tools and manufacturing supplies. Set up a Kanban system so that employees on the shop floor never run out of essentials and don’t need to walk to the storeroom to get more. Also, make sure to remove unneeded or unused tools and material from the area so that it isn’t in the way.
You can’t afford to ignore productivity anymore. Increasing productivity levels increases your company’s total revenue and allows you to expand production at relatively little additional cost.