Manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to increase their productivity and maximize their profits. There are many different ways to cut costs and improve efficiency without affecting the quality of products.
This involves first evaluating the current workflow to get a clear perspective on what changes are most worth making. Here are five ways to improve production efficiency.
1. Evaluate the workflow
Examining your current workflow will present you with opportunities for improvement. This means looking at your labor, processes, equipment and technology. Your employees need to have the right skills to perform the tasks they work on and achieve their objectives without wasting time.
You need to discover whether there are any bottlenecks in your production processes. For instance, simply cutting down on the time wasted when an employer has to walk across the manufacturing space for a tool can help to make production processes more competitive. A review of your equipment and technology will determine whether it is meeting your current business needs properly.
Peter Peterka is an expert in Lean Six Sigma and his company, SixSigma.com, runs training courses for product and process development. Six Sigma deployment strategies are taught to help companies to improve their manufacturing and business processes.
2. Invest in employee training
In manufacturing, employee training is mandatory in terms of safety. However, employees also need to know how to use new equipment and technology to get the most out of it. Offering training also helps with employee retention, as most employees appreciate the opportunity to improve their skills.
You do not have to limit training to how to use equipment and technology. Manufacturing business processes tend to run more smoothly if employees thoroughly understand company policies and have good communication skills.
Starting with realistic goals that are easy to accomplish can help you to make progress and demonstrate to employees what is possible when it comes to efficiency.
3. Reduce material waste
Material waste is one of the most expensive wastes in production plants. Dealing with material wastage includes collecting, reusing, recycling, or composting. For example, companies are trying to use less material in the packaging of products. Simple steps such as reusing boxes, recycling plastic or composting rubbish can not only help to reduce carbon emissions but save money too.
Many companies are now reusing as many materials as they can, including boxes and crates. Others are trying to find biodegradable packaging options for their products.
4. Conduct preventative maintenance
Maintaining expensive equipment properly is far less expensive than replacing it. Do not wait until equipment breaks down and causes production delays. There is nothing worse than employees sitting around waiting for equipment to be repaired before they can continue with their work.
Consider using asset management software, which will help you to keep records of the condition of your equipment and automate your maintenance schedule. If the equipment is properly maintained, it has a longer lifespan too.
5. Update your equipment
When you conduct a review of your equipment, you may find that it is not working properly or is outdated. If this is the case, improving your efficiency may be difficult, no matter how much time and effort employees put in. Modern equipment can make your production processes much faster and more efficient.
It may be expensive to invest in such equipment but it will be worthwhile if it significantly increases productivity and saves on repair costs. You are likely to find that the revenue you can save and generate will be able to fund your next new piece of modern equipment.