How to Improve Productivity at a Manufacturing Facility

How to Improve Productivity at a Manufacturing Facility

Productivity is the name of the game in the manufacturing industry. Increased productivity can help you establish and maintain a crucial edge over your competition. It helps keep costs down. And it leads to greater profitability. If you’re looking to increase productivity at your manufacturing facility, here are six tried-and-true ways to get you moving in the right direction.

1. Review Your Floor Plan

Streamlining the flow of people and materials as they move through the stages of manufacturing should be a seamless operation. Setup tools and production materials are regularly needed in each process to be easily accessible to workers. When you develop a floor layout that is safe and uncluttered and where the work flows efficiently, it will ultimately be more productive.

2. Invest in Employee Training

It’s great if you have one solid employee who can efficiently operate various pieces of equipment, but what happens if he falls ill or leaves the company? Regularly and routinely cross-training workers should be standard practice in every manufacturing facility as should investing in training programs that keep employees up to date with new technologies and best practices.

3. Incorporate Automated Industrial Equipment into the Manufacturing Process

Automation is constantly growing and changing, and manufacturers that ignore the progress made in this field are setting their businesses up for failure. These days, top-of-the-line companies offer an array of high-quality automation robotics that can provide a wide variety of skills including assembly, sorting, picking, packing, and palletizing to name just a few. These machines can perform these tasks at speeds that far exceed human capabilities. Such robots can also inspect, measure, and provide other quality control services that decrease human error.

4. Adopt a Just-in-Time (JIT) Inventory System

A JIT inventory system is one where raw materials are scheduled to arrive at the manufacturing facility directly in line with production schedules. The goal is to keep to a minimum the amount and length of time such materials are sitting on the shelf unused. It leads to better quality control as defective materials are more quickly identified, and it reduces the space needed for inventory and storage. Lower inventory levels also free up capital for other important needs. Establishing a JIT inventory system involves the development of a close personal relationship between buyers and suppliers.

5. Maintain Your Equipment

Second only to your workforce is your equipment. Keeping your equipment clean and adhering to a preventative maintenance schedule is vital for smooth, productive operations. When you regularly maintain your equipment, it helps ensure a safer environment for your crew and it reduces the likelihood of needing larger, more time-consuming, and more expensive repairs. Following a strict schedule will also protect the longevity of your equipment.

6. Adopt Lean Manufacturing Principles

Many manufacturing facilities use this systemic approach to improve productivity. Lean manufacturing involves pinpointing and eliminating downtime and other non-value activities in the manufacturing process. It can involve identifying and eliminating such things as excess inventory, excess processing of materials, overproduction, and excess transferring of materials from one manufacturing facility to another.