When standard operating procedures (SOP) are in place, efficient production is achieved and maintained. It makes employees safe and customers happy. More importantly, it keeps the supply chain strong, contributing to economies.
These goals, however, are not always accomplished even with proper SOP.
The International Society of Automation estimates that manufacturing companies experience a 20% loss yearly because of disruptions in the production line. When manufacturing lines are disrupted, companies always look at how much it’s going to cost them. Disruptions can lead to defects, which are not free. They have a significant effect on any company’s profits.
As a manager, one of your responsibilities is to oversee less disruption and defects on the production floor. It’s important to consistently aim to adhere to high-quality standards while reaching maximum throughput. There are, however, factors that affect production efficiency.
This article can help you improve your production line without sacrificing quality. By transforming work and removing a few obstacles, you can achieve that both. Here’s how.
Evaluate the Current Production Workflow
The production line’s current workflow state can help you understand what aspects need to be improved. Processes that have been long used doesn’t necessarily mean it’s efficient. Down the line, it could be a bottleneck to another process that would’ve been working properly if not for the overlooked one.
You need to review three key aspects of your production line: technology and equipment, processes, and the production workers.
Automated manufacturing lines are composed of machinery and equipment. They must be working properly. They could fall in disrepair over time if not maintained well.
Workers using the production equipment should have the right training and skills as well. They should be confident at work, knowing all the occupational hazards entailed with their job.
The management, meanwhile, should be knowledgeable about safety measures required for a safe working environment. They must be able to identify key problems that can be improved. This can further help you develop a better strategy for formulating changes to the production line.
You also have to evaluate your production’s throughput. Your production line should be achieving its target throughput. In manufacturing terms, it is the average number of products a production line can manufacture and deliver to a client over a given period.
Switch to Efficient Technology and Equipment
Investing in technology and equipment is a sound decision. It requires considerable expenditure, but it is a strategic move. It could get you ahead of the competition. Plus, it improves operational efficiency and production costs.
The decision to shift to a smart pneumatic system, for example, can benefit your company. According to Fluid Power World, a magazine focused on pneumatics, many companies turn to this technology to improve their energy consumption. Such an improvement, like applying pneumatic control valves to your
equipment can save your company on energy costs.
In the same way, having the right technology for administrative work is important. New solutions can reduce error and speeds up processes. It provides quality output.
Having the right technology and equipment not only saves you money. It enables your employees to work efficiently. It also creates and builds trust with your customers.
Improve Processes and Remove Bottlenecks
After evaluation of work processes, you can immediately identify where your company is going wrong. The best way to correct such mistakes is to standardize processes.
While SOPs keep your production line moving, you can modify it to make work more efficient. With a new and improved technology and equipment, applying several adjustments to your SOP allows the production line to adapt to the changes.
On the other hand, if there is a bottleneck that is causing work to be disrupted, remove it. Alternatively, you can change it and use a more efficient method.
Production workers should also be trained on how to use updated equipment. Educating your administrative staff about how the production line works can also improve the manufacturing process. They work at the back end of your company, providing support. They can contribute to a streamlined process by efficiently doing paper and administrative work for the company.
Organize the Production Floor
Waste reduction allows employees to work faster. With less clutter, they can move around better. If the production floor is organized, everything they need is within reach.
To organize the production floor, make sure that all tools and materials are kept in separate areas. Workstations should be tidy. Unnecessary objects should be removed or kept away for future use.
It’s also important to organize employees. They must be divided into teams, and each should have a leader. They are easier to supervise this way.
To be truly effective, you must adopt these improvements regularly. There should be a scheduled evaluation of your production line. If processes are continuously improved, inefficiencies are minimized, if not eliminated. It helps establish production standards. In turn, your company becomes more productive and profitable.