Efficiency is important to every organization because it affects the bottom line. In manufacturing, efficiency tends to have a greater impact because the environment is process-driven, which means optimal productivity is critical to reduce labor costs and achieve desired profits. One way to improve efficiency in manufacturing is to maximize the use of available resources. This means making full use of human resources, materials and equipment. A lot of companies leverage Six Sigma principles to ensure processes are lean and that only required resources are procured. Design for manufacturability (DFM) principles often produce remarkable results when it comes to eliminating waste. In DFM, parts are created with minimal materials in order to reduce waste and optimize the return on investment. To further optimize efficiency, factory returns and scraps are recycled.
Proven Methods for Increasing Efficiency in Manufacturing
Opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce costs are often found in the shipping process. Some companies are able to assess the materials used in shipping and make adjustments in order to slash expenses. For example, limiting the amount of bubble wrap based on what’s truly needed as opposed to simply guessing. This requires a more strategic approach and process testing. Another way to increase efficiency is through the use of a direct drive rotary compressor.
Perhaps one of the best ways to increase efficiency and yield the biggest results is through employee training. Specifically, on-the-job training where employees are able to see the process performed with optimal effectiveness. This also provides an opportunity to demonstrate problem solving methods. Having a chance to experience a process firsthand while being trained by a veteran improves the employee’s ability to comprehend best practices. Cross-training team members on the entire manufacturing process helps everyone understand what’s required, value their individual role in the process and contribute to success.
One method of identifying where improvements can be made is to place a monetary value on each phase of the manufacturing process. This allows you to assess the cost of labor, materials and equipment involved and determine where improvements can be made. While assessing the value of each phase, you can identify any items that are unnecessary. For example, if there are tools or products that are not being used, there is likely an opportunity to cease purchase of those items.
A common way in which companies boost efficiency in manufacturing is through the standardization of every task, no matter how large or small. Although some workers prefer autonomy, when it comes to manufacturing and productivity, following a strict process should be a priority. Having an explicit process that’s followed by everyone can significantly increase efficiency. A step-by-step process accompanied by a checklist is often a useful tool.
Lean manufacturing principles dictate that every process is separated by cells and each cell has it’s own task. In some spaces this is referred to as chunking because it allows the same person to perform the same tasks, which increases the efficiency in which each task is performed. This method is also believed to improve consistency.