Maximizing productivity is one of the main aims of any manufacturing organization. Ensuring that resources are being utilized most efficiently is a constant effort, and neglecting this aspect can potentially break your business.
Productivity has a substantial impact on an organization’s costs and profits, thereby affecting its ability to maintain a competitive advantage in an extremely competitive world. Ensuring your business is performing at its most productive level is something you need to keep monitoring regularly. It involves minor and significant decision-making, with the latter sometimes requiring a complete overhaul of the way things are currently done.
There are several ways you can maximize the productivity of your manufacturing organization. Here are several ways to do so.
Review Your Current Workflow
You can only suggest improvements to your workflow when you know, in detail, how things are operating right now. There are three significant aspects you should focus on:
Processes – Were your processes recently mapped? Have you identified bottlenecks and pain points? Do you use value stream mapping to evaluate process improvement projects?
People – Have the right people been hired, and are they in the best roles, according to their skillsets? Have you assigned a project supervisor to overlook everything and ensure goals are met? Are objectives realistic and defined clearly?
Equipment and technology – Is your equipment in optimal condition? Does your current technology meet your needs? Is it easy to make any changes in production?
Before you end up making drastic changes, it’s crucial to understand how production is working right now. Unless there’s a valid reason for you to change anything, such as due to safety or financial reasons, you should reconsider changing any aspect.
Update Processes and Equipment
Once you’ve evaluated the current workflow, you can identify what, if any, part would work better with changes. Processes that have been in place for a while now can benefit significantly from any workaround as production methods are tweaked, and old equipment is replaced with new machines.
The incorporation of new technologies can substantially benefit your manufacturing organization. Automation, for instance, is an excellent tool when you want to increase productivity and maximize the efficiency of your factors of production. Additionally, new software can help multiple aspects, such as inventory, scheduling, and workflow processes. Investing in new equipment can help improve the quality of your products and reduce the time needed to produce them.
For example, if any part of your manufacturing process involves drilling and cutting material, such as metal or wood, then your business can benefit from a CNC milling machine, which can help reduce costs in mass production. This machine can also be used in multiple, complicated areas and provide various kinds of finishes.
Before investing in any new equipment, you need to focus on whether your business can afford it and what impact it’ll have on your profitability. If a piece of equipment yields high returns and can save costs in other areas, a high initial price is worth it.
Plan Scheduled Maintenance
Neglecting regular maintenance is one of the main reasons manufacturing slows down. Costs of maintaining equipment are much lower than the price of replacing worn-down or broken equipment.
To carry out scheduled maintenance, operators need to be trained, so they know how to maintain equipment in the most optimal condition and troubleshoot it in case any issue arises. You should also schedule preventive maintenance that involves lubrication, cleaning, oil changes, etc. to reduce the likelihood of the equipment failing.
Additionally, ensure you’re scheduling maintenance at the best time for your processes and don’t delay it under any circumstances. This delay could potentially cause huge issues if a piece of equipment fails at the worst possible time.
Employee training is a never-ending process that will continue as long as your organization is operational. Training is mandatory in certain types of manufacturing industries to ensure employees know how to operate equipment safely. Additionally, bringing in new equipment also requires training, so training sessions should be scheduled to ensure operators know how to operate machines.
Employee training is also an excellent employee retention strategy since empowered employees with refined skills that can help them grow and expand can contribute more to an organization by being more efficient. Additionally, 93 percent of workers would stay at an organization for a more extended period if the organization invested in their careers.
Focusing on training regarding HR policies, such as communication and workplace harassment, can also help your organization by ensuring workers are on the same page about what’s expected and what’s not expected of them.
Organize the Workspace
Your workplace design has a significant impact on productivity. As the place where your business’s core functions are carried out, the design should aim to reduce clutter and save time. Eliminate the need for unnecessary movement to achieve optimal task efficiency and create the best layout possible for any material and tools for the process.
Additionally, if there are any materials or tools at the workspace that are not needed or used, you should remove them to free up space and reduce clutter. Space should be organized, too, to ensure it’s easy to find relevant documents or materials when needed. To design an efficient layout, you should consider getting an expert on board who can help you maximize productivity through workspace design.
Maintain Optimal Inventory
Figure out the optimal level of inventory and aim to maintain at regular intervals. Too little inventory can disrupt workflow as you wait to produce more, while too much inventory requires space to store it.
You can maintain optimal inventory by using software to keep track of it and activating notifications that let you know when there’s a shortage. Provide vendors access to this, so they know what supplies are needed when. Additionally, you should also keep track of late deliveries and rejection rates so you can fix any issues with the vendor or find a new one if the need arises.
Whenever you’re making changes to maximize productivity, you should aim to do them as long-term solutions rather than just short-term fixes. By continually focusing on maximizing the productivity of your organization, your manufacturing organization can remain competitive and perform efficiently.
What other ways can you improve the productivity of your manufacturing organization? Let us know in the comments below!