The manufacturing sector is lucrative and profitable, yet entrepreneurs are apprehensive about its complexity. Typically, you may find yourself dealing with multiple processes, labour issues, high maintenance costs, and wastage.
Unfortunately, these factors can affect the operational efficiency and productivity of an industrial unit. But the good thing is that a little effort to boost manufacturing efficiency can help improve throughput, lower costs, and reduce environmental impact.
These factors can make your business more profitable and reputable, even as a startup. But most manufacturers fail to decode the efficiency formula, which is simpler than you imagine.
I’ll share some surefire strategies new manufacturers can rely on to make their plants more efficient.
1. Be proactive about equipment failure
Equipment failure is one of the primary efficiency killers for manufacturing units, but most business owners are complacent about them.
Preventive maintenance is important. The best way to stay a step ahead of such issues and protect your operations from downtime and disruptions.
It entails some effort and expense as you must identify and follow the schedule of wear to address them sooner than later.
Using some maintenance tips before it is necessary can also lower the cost of massive repairs and prolong the lifespan of your machines and equipment.
2. Identify areas of improvement
Identifying areas of potential improvement is the best place to start when it comes to making your plant and operations more efficient. Most units can find more than one such area if they dig deep.
You are more likely to identify them as a beginner because inexperience often leads to flaws and errors in the production process. Check the existing processes to see where they tend to break down.
For example, a part of your assembly may have a bottleneck, or a worker may not be doing the job well enough. You can go a step ahead by determining the conditions for maximum efficiency.
Knowing the gaps lets you focus on the problems instead of wasting time over the entire production chain.
3. Invest in employee training
Employee productivity is the mainstay of manufacturing efficiency because the industry heavily relies on labor.
You cannot undermine the value of hands-on, real-world training for your employees because it makes them more efficient and reduces the chances of human error.
Invest in your workforce by training them on multiple processes, regardless of your startup budget. A productive team can cover the cost of training sooner than later because they achieve more with less and even troubleshoot issues without help.
4. Stay ahead of wastage
Material waste is one of the most daunting challenges for industrial plants. It can cost a fortune to a startup and render the overall process highly inefficient.
But a few measures are enough to stay ahead of wastage and set things right. Start by focusing on engineering and design because a small tweak is often enough to optimize material use and improve yield.
Besides reworking design, optimizing processes can help you utilize all available material, even the discarded ones. Recycling scraps and reselling factory returns can turn waste into revenue and profit.
5. Dig deep into the data
A data-driven manufacturing enterprise is likely to be more efficient and productive. Commit to digging deep into data and acting on insights right from the outset.
It enables you to stay ahead of production lags and know the areas of the best performance. For example, you can leverage tool data management software to understand the data flow of cutting tools and increase your machining productivity.
Besides increasing machine utilization, it also helps with cutting back on waste. Data analysis limits guesswork from operations and drives improvements based on real-time findings.
6. Quantify everything
Quantifying every aspect of the manufacturing process is another viable measure to boost your startup’s efficiency.
Assign a dollar value to everything that happens within your plant. Calculating material costs is the easiest part of quantifying production.
But you must also check details, such as equipment wear and tear, work hours, and planned obsolescence. The good thing about assigning numbers to these factors is that you can actually see the areas that require immediate attention.
After all, you must start by cutting inefficiencies in areas where they cost the most.
7. Standardize work
The manufacturing industry thrives on standards because every product that passes through the production line should be the same.
It is possible only if every process down the assembly line should follow the same standard to maximize efficiency. You can implement standardization by making a checklist and ensuring everyone in your team adheres to it.
The measure can help maximize efficiency, improve overall product quality, ensure compliance, and reduce downtime.
8. Organize your workplace
This one is a no-brainer because organizing your workplace is perhaps the simplest way to boost the efficiency of people and processes.
A good look at your factory floor is enough to determine the areas that require work. Even small measures can make a difference.
For example, your workers may slow down when they cannot find hand tools easily. Piles of raw materials, finished goods, and waste products can also affect workforce productivity in the long run.
Moreover, clutter can lead to accident risks in the workplace, so you must deal with it sooner than later.
9. Fortify your supply base
Fortifying your supply base is another effective step to make your manufacturing startup more efficient.
Although it may be too early to identify your best suppliers, you can watch them consistently to pinpoint the ones providing better materials at the best prices.
Focus on building long-term relationships with these suppliers so that you can get the best deals over the years. It is better to stick with a few suppliers who replicate your values and mindset instead of having a large network.
There are no shortcuts to manufacturing efficiency, but following these simple measures can help you achieve your startup goals.
Building efficient processes early set you up for high production quality and output. These factors translate into reduced production costs, profits and growth in the long run.
Adopt these best practices to produce more with less and prevent wastage in the long haul.