Make Your Manufacturing Processes More Efficient With These Tips
Manufacturing facilities of all types can benefit from a focus on process improvement. Developing more refined processes leads to enhanced operational efficiency, improved safety, cost savings, increased productivity, and several other quantifiable benefits. Process improvement is a fundamental focus that yields far-reaching results.
Improving and refining processes isn’t as simple as it sounds, but there are simple ways to effect positive change. Below, we’ll explore a few tips for broad efficiency improvements — and build better processes along the way.
Train, upskill, and improve your team
Proper training is one of the most important factors in workplace success. For a factory environment, success means ensuring the right training on machine operations, safety procedures, maintenance schedules, and other important tasks. Hosting weekly or monthly training sessions helps keep employees updated on new equipment and industry standards. It’s also good to host routine refresher training sessions and offer educational opportunities to workers wishing to upskill. Above all, make education part of your company culture.
Identify and address bottlenecks
Bottlenecks are one of the most common causes of inefficiency in a factory environment. Is there anything slowing down the efficiency of your production line? For example, an inefficient piece of machinery could slow down production and create product defects, leading to shutdowns or production diversions. Employee communication and administrative issues can also create inefficiencies. Identify and address all bottlenecks to improve operations.
Keep equipment well maintained
Malfunctioning equipment reduces efficiency. Even a newer piece of equipment can experience frequent problems if not properly maintained. Taking a proactive approach to maintenance means benefiting from preventive solutions. By solving problems before they have a chance to occur, manufacturers will enjoy more efficient operations and outcomes. Train technicians in proper preventive maintenance techniques and ensure they follow a well-defined, proactive maintenance schedule.
Identify and eliminate waste
Lean manufacturing teaches us to identify waste (i.e., muda). There are eight distinct types of waste that can appear in a factory setting, including wastes of time, energy, materials, and space. To improve efficiency and reduce costs, identify and remove as much waste as possible. Often, this means undertaking a lean survey to pinpoint the catalysts contributing to waste. Probe common processes and practices for waste, and avoid falling into complacency traps with essential tasks because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Monitor and maintain MRO inventory
Spare parts for “just in case” situations can take up a lot of space and are often a waste of money. That said, not having the right part when you need it could result in unplanned downtime. Keep accurate records of when machines typically need new parts to accurately predict when it’s time to reorder. In addition, rely on inventory-tracking software programs to make inventory management seamless. A well-maintained and well-managed stockroom can quickly translate to increased efficiency in MRO operations, which translate, in turn, to increased productivity.
Keep workspaces clean and organized
Simple habits like cleanliness and organization pave major inroads to efficiency across every facet of your operation. From improved safety to more efficient action and operation, a clean and organized factory is one well equipped for high-level functioning. These habits also create a culture of accountability and transparency, resulting in operations improvements.
Put the emphasis on efficiency
Increasing efficiency reduces costs, improves employee satisfaction and motivation, minimizes downtime, and ensures product quality. A variety of situations contribute to company inefficiency, including bottlenecks, waste, and disorganization. By properly identifying and correcting these problems, and establishing new, healthier habits, your factory will run at peak efficiency — with greater productivity and profits to show for the effort.