10 Ways to Improve Manufacturing Efficiency
The aim of running a business or service is to make the most profit by spending fewer resources to achieve the same yield if not more. Therefore, knowing how to improve manufacturing efficiency can do a lot of good for your company.
With greater process efficiency, the operational cost can be reduced, employee time maximized, and more products created with the use of the same amount of resources without any loss in quality.
Another added benefit is increased productivity which gives you an edge in the competition with your rivals.
These are only some of the benefits of improving the productivity and efficiency in your manufacturing.
What is Manufacturing Efficiency?
Manufacturing efficiency is the level of performance in your company.
It is the creation of a product at its lowest average total cost without wastage of resources.
The production efficiency, in this case, can be tied to the
- Use of efficient equipment
- Processes in place
- Skilled employees leading to the final creation of the product
Take, for instance, the application of compressors in the oil and gas industry for the pressurization of natural gas.
In this case, a piece of powerful equipment will be required in the compression process and the operators of such machines will need to be equipped with the right knowledge to bring about efficiency.
How to Improve Operational Efficiency in Manufacturing
In order to improve operational efficiency in a production plant, food production, or just about any type of business, there are several improvement techniques that can be used.
Some of these techniques include:
- Avoid Material Wastage
- Train Your Employees
- Standardize Work
- Proactively Manage Equipment Failures
- Identify Bottlenecks
- Quantify Everything
- Stay Organized
- Encourage Employee Organization
- Strengthen Your Supply Base
- Implement Cellular Manufacturing
1. Avoid Material Wastage:
Wastage may be inevitable but it can still be reduced to the highest level.
The transformation of resources such as materials, man-hours, and time will lead to the overall product.
As such, curbing the wastage of each of these can bring about manufacturing efficiency.
Let’s take materials, for instance, it is the biggest form of waste which can mar your aim to achieve production efficiency.
However, that won’t be the case if you try some ways to reduce wastage which are:
a. Focus on Design:
Prioritizing the design of your product is important in curbing wastage.
The plan here is to use lesser material to achieve the same yield without a significant loss in product quality.
Therefore, design parts with the use of methodologies such as value engineering and design in order to improve yield.
b. Recycling Scraps:
Recycling of unused materials has become a trend in industries today and the aim is not just to reduce pollutants in the environment but to allow materials to be reused to create new materials.
You can also opt to sell scraps to another factory if these parts are totally unusable to you.
c. Optimize Processes:
The different types of equipment used in production will lose quality over time and as such, some may be in dire need of replacement while others will not.
- For example, some tool tips can be re-sharpened rather than replacing them entirely.
- Another scenario is the use of more sheet metal before it is finally discarded as scrap.
In either case, you would’ve successfully taken advantage of the opportunity to improve efficiency through the reuse of scrap material.
2. Train Your Employees:
Another manufacturing process improvement idea is to have a team of employees that have the right and current information to meet the ever-changing trends in technology.
This can only be made possible by allowing your employees to undergo theoretical and practical training that will enable them to manage the manufacturing process from start to finish.
Here, educating all workers to be able to use the latest equipment ensures that no room is left to the assumption that each worker has some level of experience.
Everyone therefore, moves forward fully aware that they may be of help to each other in the long run.
Employees, when equipped with advanced specialist skills, can stand in the gap for each other, and even provide relief during repetitive tasks.
3. Standardize Work:
Taking a precise approach in manufacturing can help to reduce downtime and increase product quality.
For this reason, you need to narrow down your employees’ approach to these processes in order not to leave room for individuality.
By setting a standard for handling even the basic tasks, manufacturing efficiency can be created.
Thus, create a checklist and place them in certain workspaces.
You can then ensure that your employees strictly follow these steps to the final completion of their tasks.
4. Proactively Manage Equipment Failures:
Even before your tools breakdown or show signs of replacement, you can carry out preventive maintenance to wade off a significant devaluing in tool quality.
It will prevent other processes from being stopped as a result of an unexpected breakdown of one or more machines.
Accordingly, maintenance should be carried out by first ascertaining when past failures or wear/tear of a particular tool had occurred.
Tackling potential problems even before they occur will save you the cost of having to replace them. In addition, the downtime from its sudden malfunctioning can hinder the production process.
5. Identify the Largest Bottlenecks:
A good production improvement plan is to identify the largest bottlenecks in your manufacturing process that can hinder another task from taking place.
These bottlenecks are the failure of a particular machine leading to the inability of another machine or process to complete its tasks.
For instance, if processes are not in sync, and it takes more time to cut a shirt than to stitch it, then an employee working in the stitching sector will be stalled due to the delay in having the cut shirts sent to them.
Bottlenecks can also be caused by humans, where an admin who is needed to sign documents suddenly falls ill and as such, documents for the day are not approved.
Now, take the step to identify these bottlenecks and eliminate them entirely to ensure that downtime is mitigated.
6. Quantify Everything:
Assigning a value or dollar value to each nook of your manufacturing process can easily draw your attention to areas that are in dire need of changes.
While materials purchased will naturally be quantifiable, there are aspects that also add an extra cost on production. These include:
- Equipment wear and tear
- Planned obsolescence
These and many more need to have a point value to quantify production.
7. Stay Organized:
Lack of organization can lead to the loss of money and manpower. If these are eliminated, then either of these can be prevented.
Like quantification, production can be sped up by organizing the placement of:
- Instructions on the factory floor
If they are neatly and well arranged in the workspace for a smoother workflow, then you and your employees can locate them with ease.
It may also be beneficial to remove waste within the vicinity to provide more focus on necessary equipment and tools.
8. Encourage Employee Collaboration:
While there may be managers overlooking a workstation, the workers on a particular machine who have more experience with it on a daily basis may be in a better position to describe how to optimize them.
If you’ve already set up a board of directors, then it would still do a lot of good to seek the opinion of employees on how best to increase manufacturing efficiency.
Therefore, creating a communication channel to encourage workers to make comments, suggestions and even lay complaints can be just as rewarding.
You can also create a good working environment that will help employees to collaborate and achieve the set goals of your company. They can feel comfortable and confident as members of a particular team.
9. Strengthen Your Supply Base:
Manufacturers who provide you with materials, parts, or tools and prioritize customer first is who you should settle for.
They are not determined by having pricier items, but the quality of products they serve to your company.
Keep in mind that the value of the products used as input will greatly determine your output and enable you to maximize efficiency.
Therefore, give more of your business to such suppliers in order to maintain the quality of your products.
10. Implement Cellular Manufacturing:
In cellular manufacturing, the trick is to improve efficiency by categorizing similar processes.
Here, workspaces can be divided into cells, and each cell can be considered as a standardized set of tasks.
While the machines in each cell can carry out several tasks, they specialize in a single task which helps to reduce downtime.
The 10 major ways on how to improve manufacturing efficiency as outlined above can help you to reduce production cost and enhance the level of communication with your employees and suppliers.
When each of these has been put in place, wastage can be reduced while also ensuring that you have a headstart in the competition with other companies in the same production line.
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