If you have a manufacturing business, you can immensely benefit from developing your process and achieving operational excellence. The level of efficiency that can be obtained from such improvements can not only help you reduce costs but also enhance productivity and improve product quality.
Eventually, increased sales and profits will follow suit with a highly-polished company image. While the recommended manufacturing practices will pay off with the desired results – as a manufacturing business owner, you should know that it will take a fair amount of time along with cooperation and collaboration to get there!
Here is the list of eight tips to improve your manufacturing process:
1. Keep the Workplace Organized
Did you know that wasting your workspace is just as expensive as wasting material? If you want to establish a productive workspace, you must understand that organization is vital. All tools and materials should have a designated home and be easily accessible for every worker.
The manufacturing floor should be free of debris so that no worker stumbles over material scraps. Loads of money are lost when people spend their time searching for the tools and materials they need and moving tools out of their way.
2. Keep Your Workforce Engaged
Naturally, there are always spots in the manufacturing process that can be improved, and your workers have many answers to the issues with the manufacturing processes. It makes perfect sense that those who carry out the manufacturing tasks – your workforce, are in the perfect position to tell you how to improve efficiency.
Your team, such as the executives who are at the top of the chain, are probably busy working on the bigger picture, but there are plenty of smaller opportunities to improve things in the manufacturing process by approaching your workers to solicit their input.
By engaging your team like this, you won’t only help your manufacturing business run more smoothly, but it also contains the added benefit of giving a voice to those who are seriously involved in the manufacturing process by allowing their suggested solutions to flow upward.
3. Provide Your Employees the Right Training
There are all kinds of training to choose from. Hands-on training is undoubtedly useful, but there are times when learning the latest machinery, such as the robotic palletizer, and learning the latest manufacturing software is crucial and should never be ignored.
Also, when formal classroom training is necessary – one of the best things you can do for your workers is to cross-train your people whenever possible. The more workers you can rely on for different tasks – the fewer periods of downtime you will experience.
The primary reason for this is that cross-trained workers can substitute for missing co-workers and help out when the workflow hits a log jam.
4. Communicate Clearly
The more you keep your team engaged by opening a communication channel, you will immensely benefit from its effectiveness as compared to the traditional method of taking feedback – usually starting from the top and trickling down to the general workforce.
If your workers don’t know what you are expecting of them, you cannot blame them if they are not meeting your expectations. Without clearly-defined goals and priorities, there is a great chance that your employees spend substantial time on their workdays pursuing the wrong goals.
5. Trust Your Employees with Changes
Another tip to boost your manufacturing process is to encourage your employees to make some of the smaller changes to the process without consulting the engineering department. For each slight adjustment, the improvements to each process will come faster, and you will be fostering a strong sense of trust between the managers and the workforce.
An increase in trust doesn’t only improves morale but also boosts productivity and the ability to work more effectively as a team.
6. Incorporate a Preventive Maintenance Program
To boost the manufacturing process, you can think about becoming proactive with a comprehensive maintenance program. For this objective, you can set up a schedule for each piece of equipment and replace worn parts of the machinery even before they fail,
You can ensure less downtime by initiating a preventive maintenance program and preventing more extensive and costly breakdowns. You might want to talk to your equipment manufacturers or sellers to establish the optimum schedule for each machine.
7. Choose Your Suppliers Wisely
On a side note – while you are busy improving your manufacturing process, don’t forget to look at your suppliers. Only choose suppliers who are providing you with the best materials and tools for your business’s manufacturing operation.
Another important thing to consider while choosing the best supplier includes whether your supplier actually takes the time to provide you with the best tooling options required for a specific project. For instance, you might want to ensure that your steel supplier works with you to find the right grade at potentially the best price.
Once you find suppliers who are consistent in helping you to cover your basis, don’t hold back and give them more of your business. Also, while you search for new suppliers, take note of the general attitude of the inside sales personnel.
Remember – those who indicate a willingness to put you first are more likely to be quicker to respond if you face a problem and need their help.
8. Curb the Material Wastes
Understandably, controlling waste is not limited to materials – they can be one of the most expensive kinds of waste. It is crucial to understand that certain types of manufacturing are labor-extensive, which is why they require more intensive controlling labor hours.
Nonetheless, many manufacturing operations require significant amounts of material, and using it efficiently can translate into thousands of dollars of savings annually. Some amount of the wasted material can be traced back to the design of the part designed for manufacturing.
You might have heard about DFM before – in its essence, DFM is an engineering practice in which products are manufactured to make their production easier and enable efficient use of recycled material or the reuse of scraps of metal and sharpening tools.