How to Improve Productivity in Manufacturing

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Productivity in Manufacturing

A main goal for manufacturing companies has always been to increase productivity among employees. As the industry continues to change, the focus of productivity is shifting from the individual employee, to all other aspects of business.

Productivity is not the responsibility of just one singular level. However, when competition is no longer just between humans, but rather, human vs. machine, the productivity of individual workers becomes increasingly significant.

There are several factors in the workplace environment that can be modified to stimulate manufacturing productivity. Here are 5 ways to improve productivity at your company:

Implement lean manufacturing practices.

“Lean manufacturing” refers to a collective set of ideas that focus on working smarter, not harder, to improve manufacturing productivity. It often relies on “chunking” methodologies, to break down information to its essentials, where it can be processed more efficiently.

At its core, the main focus is “decreasing waste, increasing value to the customer and a process of continuous improvement,” says Jeff Dalto, senior customer service specialist at Convergence Training.

There are many benefits to implementing lean manufacturing into a supply chain, including time and cost efficiency. These benefits ultimately lead to the achievement of the businesses tasks and objectives.

Update and invest in new technology.

Automation is taking over the future of the industry. One of the many benefits of automation is that smart machines both reduce human error and maximize efficiency. Companies that take the financial risk to continually invest in these new technologies in the coming years will be rewarded by improved production.

Not only can production speed and quality be improved, but controlled as well. Production can be scheduled in harmony with the quotas and output of a particular plant. It is pointed out that production processes will have to be reevaluated with the addition of new products and services.

A case study on the US steel industry parallels this point, in how productivity growth within the last century is almost uniquely driven by process innovation.

Commit to a safe work environment.

A work environment that makes labor safety one of its vitals is a productive work environment. This dispels the myth that productivity and safety exist at the mercy of one another: 1 in 3 surveyed workers last year said they felt like productivity was valued over safety at their current job.

Hazardous environments create additional worries for workers, and clutter impedes upon all employees’ ability to focus on the task at hand. Seemingly “minor” trip and fall injuries affect productivity levels, and can usually be avoided by eliminating unnecessary tools and supplies from the workplace.

According to the Labor Department, though number of OSHA inspections has gone up recently, the Trump administration is not currently looking to take on more OSHA inspectors. Therefore, individual workers should be prompted to educate themselves on OSHA standards and demand change in areas that fall below regulation.

Be aware of company culture.

Human workers will find themselves to be more self-motivated if they believe to be working towards a goal, which is why boosting company morale is important. Industry trends, such as the skills gap and effects of automation, sometimes get the best of manufacturing employees, which could affect their productibility.

Executives should encourage the “education” of their employees, a term that can be defined loosely. Workers who are taking measures to study trends and increase their value to the industry as a whole should be rewarded. A willingness to promote internally will greatly benefit company culture. For example, employees may decide to go back to school or earn a new certification, and should have new opportunities presented to them because of this.

Manufacturing companies should look both internally and externally to create a positive company culture. Resolutions can also be made by managers to set employee benchmarks, make advancements over competitors, and host team building activities.

Keep up with machine data collection.

Manufacturers should utilize data science as a means to measure the quality and efficiency of their machinery. Continually examining this data overtime optimizes manufacturing productivity, with the understanding that digital solutions benefit production levels.

Machine data provide reports to ensure the security and longevity of a machine overtime. The amount of reliance a business is able to put upon its machinery helps to maximize efficiency.

This practice is becoming an overwhelming trend within the industry, as 86 percent of end users are collecting at least some kind of machine data to be used for preventative maintenance and to maximize uptime.

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