Industries of all kinds rely heavily on the efficiency of their manufacturing for both the quality of their products, and keeping the costs of those products reasonable for their consumers—because we all know, the less efficient (and therefore more expensive) your manufacturing process, the more expensive your products have to be. These higher prices can quickly lead to fewer sales. Unmotivated or under appreciated employees, broken machines, or dysfunctional processes can all lead to big efficiency problems. Get ahead of them with these improvements that you can start making today.
#1: Know Your Product
Most likely, you know your product pretty well—but do your employees know it as well as you do? Every single one of them should know the product inside and out! You need well-trained individuals throughout your company, not just at the top. This means investing in your employees with proper, hands-on training. Handing someone a pamphlet can only teach them so much. Ensure that they all understand the mechanics and processes of everything they’re working on.
#2: Limit Waste
Mistakes will happen, and they’re okay, but don’t just leave it at that. Every unfinished project loses money, and while it isn’t always in your control, finding the solution is. Finding an explanation for every mistake or stalled project means that you’ll be even more prepared for the next situation. Instead of accepting these things, figure them out so you’re always staying ahead.
#3: Troubleshoot Your Machines
One of the most inefficient things you can do is simply use your machines until they break. When your employees are properly and thoroughly trained, you can trust them to use the machines, know how they work, and (just as importantly) know when they aren’t working. This way, you’ll be aware of early signs of wear and tear that you can then get in front of. Being preemptive is the most efficient way to avoid serious downtime and costly repairs or replacements. It’s a lot easier to keep something running than it is to get something running again after it’s stopped working.
#4: Reduce Downtime
One of your biggest overarching goals should be to reduce downtime of all kinds. If your employees don’t have anything to do, find something—and we don’t mean busy work. Cross-training your employees is one of the most beneficial investments you can make. Not only does it make your employees more valuable, but it makes you more valuable as an employer. Keep up with cleaning and maintenance, and have an immediate plan in place to fix things when they’re down, because every minute of downtime loses money.
#5: Maximize Your Space
This one seems very simple, but makes a world of difference. Even something as small as how long it takes your employees to walk somewhere in your facility can really add up. Put commonly used equipment and machines close together, and strictly enforce putting things up correctly and in the right place. Pay attention to what your employees are using and at what stage of the process. The better you know the ins and outs of how your employees work, the more accessible you can make whatever they need to get the job done, and done well.
If efficiency isn’t the top priority for everyone (aside from safety, of course) you won’t get very far. Make sure you and your managers are all on the same page. The best way to do this is to listen to them! It’s not uncommon for managers from different departments to have different ideas about how to make things more efficient. Talk to them, listen to them, and make sure they know you’re taking their opinions into account—because they do have a different perspective than you do. If everyone still disagrees at the end, that’s okay. Speak clearly about what you believe the problem is, how you plan to fix it, and what their roles in fixing it are.
Each one of these improvements might seem small, but they can add up to maximum efficiency in your facility. For more tips and industry news, contact ProcessBarron today.