One of the most vital concepts is productivity, no matter what kind of manufacturing business you are running. In simple terms, the more you can produce in a minute, hour, day, or week, the more you can sell, and the more money you will make. Of course, prioritizing speed above quality is a risky strategy, so when trying to increase productivity, it is best to focus on operational changes rather than applying pressure to staff or cutting corners. Making a small change might improve productivity in the short term but cause problems down the line that result in an overall loss of efficiency. Here are five steps to improved productivity in a manufacturing business.
- Assess your operation as it is today
Until you have a thorough understanding of how your operation is working now, you cannot make the right changes, so your first step is to take a good look at your business. This includes assessing your processes and where there might be bottlenecks or pinch points, checking the equipment for any inefficiencies, and deciding if your staff has the right skills, management, and KPIs in place.
- Identify areas for updates or adaptation
When you have carried out your assessments, you need to identify which areas of the operation would benefit from an update or overhaul. You may decide that new machinery would be quicker or produce a higher quality of product or that new software could speed up manual processes like inventory or scheduling. Digitalization technology like TruQC, for example, collects and analyses data to reveal insights that enable you to make smarter decisions. Before investing in any new asset, consider the potential return on the investment and weigh it against the upfront cost.
- Stay on top of regular maintenance
Many manufacturing businesses underestimate the importance of regular maintenance on their machinery. Without the proper care, machinery will run slower, produce substandard products, be more expensive to power, and will break down more often. This is why maintenance should be scheduled and never skipped. A short period of planned downtime is preferable to a complete breakdown when you are working to a deadline.
- Refresh staff training
Educating and training your staff is key to keeping them safe and getting the best results from your operation. This should include regular training on the safe and efficient use of machinery and wearing personal protective equipment, but you should also consider offering other training that widens their skillset and enable them to develop. For example, communication in the workplace and management courses could help them as individuals and your business.
- Get organized
It should go without saying, but the more organized your workspace is, the more efficient and safer your operation will be. By removing unnecessary clutter, organizing tools and materials in a logical layout, storing documents and equipment properly, and arranging the production floor, you will enable your staff to work with more efficiency. In addition, by reducing the time it takes to move a product from one machine to another, you may be able to significantly speed up the production process.