In any type of manufacturing facility, efficiency is the name of the game regarding productivity and profits. Whether your facility is large or small, finding ways to increase efficiency will pay off in many ways. Since there is always room for improvement in even the best of facilities, here are six ways your manufacturing company can be more efficient.
Don’t Waste Materials
In many manufacturing facilities, wasting materials is one of the biggest problems. Not only do facilities need to pay for the products being wasted but they also have to pay for them to be disposed of. Some manufacturing facilities have been able to harness waste products to be used for a different product or to be recycled. However, some part of the waste is due to the quality of the products being used. For example, to become more efficient in this area, examine your shipping department to see if you can better utilize shipping materials to reduce costs. Some companies have found that they can properly package and ship products with enough protection when using customized packaging to fit the products while others have found the use of large air bubble plastic works better for their products than the traditional bubble wrap. Also, when it comes to recycling as much as possible, instead of paying for the products to be sent to a recycling company, you may be able to send them to other facilities.. Very often, you can sell materials to other factories, turning what would have been trash into profits.
Improve Company Training Programs
To keep things running smoothly at your facility, improve your company training program for your production employees. By training them in various processes and how to use different types of equipment, they can troubleshoot potential problems and fill in as needed, helping to reduce unnecessary downtimes while also making a more lean team. If some employees have a record of higher productivity, it may be worth shadowing them to learn what sets them apart from the other employees. This insight can provide you with a means to help other employees become more productive as well. In addition to cross-training for a more lean team, you can also improve the overall quality and satisfaction of your employees, resulting in lower turnover rates and more money saved since you don’t have to find, hire and train someone new. The most common reason that training improves the satisfaction of employees has been noted due to learning new skills and the need for people to always be growing. Learning skills like working machinery, leadership skills, and management skills to help them with future positions can also help with job satisfaction.
Proactive Equipment Maintenance
If there is one thing that will halt efficiency in a manufacturing facility very quickly, it is malfunctioning equipment. As machinery gets older, the functionality of that machine goes down. Things like worn blades or sticky belts can make a big difference in the efficiency of a manufacturing plant. One of the easiest ways to avoid such problems is to initiate an equipment maintenance program that is followed regularly. This can be done by the employees working on the machinery or it can be done by a specialist familiar with the equipment. For example, if your plant depends on steam production to run, then you need your steam generator to function at peak levels. If it doesn’t, then you risk halting the entire production line. Whether it’s a steam generator or another vital piece of equipment, performing routine maintenance on a regular basis will lessen the chances of an unexpected breakdown.
Use the Best Suppliers
Getting the right products at the right time is crucial for a smooth running and efficient manufacturing facility. Though you may be able to save some upfront costs on certain suppliers, you may end up paying more in the long run. For this reason, it’s important to both vet and stick with the suppliers that are the very best. Should you notice some suppliers are always giving your facility better materials, excellent customer service, and lower prices, improve your facility’s efficiency by giving these suppliers the bulk of your business. Keep in mind that sometimes the prices for the best suppliers may have a higher upfront cost. However, if you go through a less dependable supplier with cheaper prices, you may lose money in the end of the supplies aren’t delivered on time. You’ll not only save money overall but also have the supplies you need when you need them most.
Communicate with Your Employees
When you communicate with your employees and ask their advice about how to solve certain problems, you will find efficiency will improve tremendously in many areas. Since production employees are the ones who almost always notice problems when they first begin, they are also the people who can come up with creative and cost-efficient ways to solve problems.
Standardize the Simplest Tasks
In a manufacturing facility, even the simplest tasks should be standardized. To do so, create a checklist and make sure one is placed in each employee’s workspace. If all employees follow the checklist, you should start noticing far fewer downtimes on the production line and improvements in your product quality.
Though you may not see changes in your facility’s efficiency overnight when these changes are implemented, your patience will soon pay off. Before you know it, you will have well-trained employees, equipment that rarely breaks down, and higher-quality products that are resulting in higher profits for your company.