Productivity is important in any business but it’s particularly critical in the manufacturing industry. When you increase your productivity levels, you can manufacture goods at a faster rate without using more resources or increasing your expenditure. This elevated level of efficiency and higher output rate essentially means you can generate more turnover and higher profits, thus improving your overall performance.
Operating at maximum productivity levels is a sure-fire way to outperform your competitors and secure a bigger share of the market. However, finding innovative ways to enhance efficiency isn’t always easy. To get a head-start, take a look at these top tips for improving productivity in your manufacturing company now:
Evaluate your layout
How you use your workspace has a major impact on productivity. Your floorplan will affect how streamlined your workflows are and whether there are any unnecessary delays in production. Assessing your current layout should be a theoretical and practical task. While designs and plans provide you with the theoretical knowledge you need, assessing the workspace when it’s in use will give you a greater insight into how the layout impacts workflows in practice.
Once you have the data you need, you’ll be able to analyze it and find new ways to streamline processes. By modifying the layout of your factory, workshop, or production areas, you can make workflows more efficient and, therefore, improve productivity levels.
Use the right equipment
Manufacturing companies that refuse to upgrade their equipment are often the businesses that are doomed to failure. Providing you choose the right equipment, it could be the best investment you ever make, especially if it allows you to operate at a faster speed. What’s more, purchasing new equipment for your manufacturing business can be advantageous in terms of your tax liability.
Remember – it isn’t just your critical infrastructure that needs to be upgraded at regular intervals. Choosing the right cast tool and jig plate, edge-banding machines, lifts or compressors can be just as important. By using the most effective and reliable equipment, you’ll minimize downtime, improve workplace safety, and increase efficiency.
Maintain your equipment
As well as upgrading your equipment at regular intervals, it’s essential to maintain it properly. With a regular maintenance schedule, you can increase the lifespan of your assets and get the most out of them. In addition to this, cleaning and maintenance will ensure the equipment works optimally, which could prevent quality control issues and minimize waste.
Many newer pieces of equipment have in-built self-cleaning mechanisms, which makes it far easier and cheaper to ensure your infrastructure is properly maintained. Furthermore, advanced technology means many pieces of manufacturing equipment will now remind personnel when maintenance is due or when repairs are required.
Whether you’re following a manual routine or have implemented an automated maintenance regime, be sure to adhere to it strictly. By doing so, you’ll improve productivity and ensure your company is meeting this aspect of its health and safety obligations.
Increase employee satisfaction
The majority, or even the entirety of your manufacturing processes may be undertaken by machines, but your staff are still a critical asset. Employee performance has a major impact on commercial success, so increasing human productivity is something every manufacturing company should address.
Many studies have shown that happy employees operate more efficiently, which means you can improve productivity levels simply by enhancing employee satisfaction. Treating your employees well doesn’t have to be complicated but it does require considered thought and reflection.
Introducing feedback policies, giving staff extra support, offering workplace incentives, and delegating responsibility are all effective ways of improving employee satisfaction. Similarly, hosting extracurricular events and activities can be a great way to build strong teams and nurture a positive workplace culture. When you do so, you’ll notice a brighter atmosphere in the workplace and better levels of productivity.
Switch to lean manufacturing
If you aren’t already using lean manufacturing principles to underpin your operations, it’s certainly worth considering. Lean manufacturing involves minimizing waste, operating with a low inventory, and using efficient systems to maximize productivity. Although this approach may sound deceptively simple, it’s also highly effective.
By focusing on these three core elements of lean manufacturing, you’ll find a variety of ways to modify your operations. With a reduced inventory, you’ll require less storage space, for example, and could operate in smaller premises. When you produce less waste, you’ll be using fewer resources and, therefore, reducing your costs. Similarly, more efficient workflows will enable you to produce end-products at a faster rate with no loss of quality.
Train staff regularly
Many companies assume that staff training is only really relevant when a new employee joins the firm, but this isn’t the case. Employees require on-going training and support if they’re going to reach their potential. Instead of offering minimal training opportunities to meet your legal obligations, look for ways to deliver meaningful learning experiences to all staff members.
As well as increasing their knowledge and enabling them to perform to a higher standard, providing staff with in-house or external training opportunities highlights your commitment to them. This reinforces how much you value your staff and is another way to foster employee loyalty and enhance employee satisfaction.
All industries are using automation to streamline their processes and increase productivity. In manufacturing, however, automation is already revolutionizing the way that companies operate. With equipment that is capable of monitoring and maintaining itself, for example, you can operate with fewer staff and lower costs. What’s more, advanced automation avoids the risk of human error and the subsequent delays and costs this incurs.
Although it’s essential to automate production lines wherever possible, don’t forget about the impact automation can have on other areas of your business too. Automating your marketing activity enables you to deliver personalized content to clients or potential customers enhances results and reduces expenditure. Similarly, automating front-desk processes reduces your reliance on staff members and enables them to focus on areas that require a human touch.
Automation is, perhaps, one of the most important things for businesses to embrace in the digital age. When deployed well, industrial automation in the manufacturing industry can drastically reduce costs, increase efficiency, enhance quality, and substantially increase profitability.
Dispose of obsolete assets
When your assets are no longer usable, don’t allow them to take up valuable space. Instead, sell them or dispose of them. Even machinery that is no longer operable can be worth a significant amount when it’s sold for repair, parts or scrap, so be sure to recoup what you can. However, even disposing of old equipment without monetary gain can help you to enhance your operations and improve productivity.
The extra space you now have available can be put to good use when old machinery is no longer present, for example. This could enable you to modify your workflows and give you the space you need to introduce more streamlined processes in order to boost efficiency.
Have clear targets
All businesses want to maximize productivity because higher profitability naturally follows. However, ‘increasing productivity’ is a relatively vague goal. Without clear objectives, you won’t have well-established targets that you can work towards. Furthermore, you’ll be unable to distribute these goals amongst different departments or assign specific responsibilities to particular teams.
As well as setting clear targets, be sure to implement effective monitoring and measuring processes. A higher output rate doesn’t automatically mean you’re operating more productively, so don’t simply rely on this figure to determine your efficiency levels. Instead, you’ll want to capture a variety of data and ensure it’s analyzed property so that you can determine what impact your modifications are having on productivity levels.
Use the best suppliers
If you don’t have a regular influx of raw materials, you won’t be able to operate efficiently. Waiting for materials to arrive means your staff and machinery are subject to downtime, which costs the company money and reduces your outputs. On the other hand, having too much stock on-site means you’re paying to store excess materials until they can be used.
Managing your inventory well is essential, particularly if you’re following lean manufacturing principles. Although operating with a low inventory can be advantageous, you’ll need to ensure you’re working with the best suppliers if you want to be able to maximize your productivity.
Instead of sticking with the same suppliers you’ve always used, consider alternatives, and determine whether they can offer a more reliable service, better prices or more generous invoice terms. If so, you may want to consider switching suppliers in order to enhance your firm’s performance.
Increasing Productivity in the Manufacturing Industry
The manufacturing sector has always been at the forefront when it comes to using tech to boost performance. From the Internet of Things and automation to augmented reality and VR, there are numerous ways you can use tech to increase efficiency. However, staff remain a valuable part of your infrastructure. While technology will certainly play a vital role in increasing efficiency, companies that take an overarching view and aim to enhance productivity across production and staff actions are likely to achieve the best results.