Tips to Improve Manufacturing Efficiency

Yarbrough-Warehouse

Every manufacturer dreams of ways to increase productivity, reduce costs, and maximize profits. Every one of those goals can be achieved by increasing efficiency at your manufacturing plant.

Although there is a common idea that increasing efficiency means cutting costs as much as possible, that isn’t always the case. Cutting corners often contributes to a reduction in product quality. However, there are several things any company can do to improve efficiency out in the plant without sacrificing the quality of your products. Check out these methods you can implement to improve efficiency at your manufacturing plant.

1. Evaluation

The first step in any progress is to evaluate and determine what is working or what isn’t. Obviously, you will have a hard time identifying areas that need improvement if you don’t first examine your current workflow. There are three main areas that can typically determine what changes are needed in your workflow:

Labor

  • Do your employees have the skills to perform the tasks they need to do efficiently and effectively?
  • Have they been achieving your determined objectives?
  • What is the time cost to complete certain jobs?
  • Are there any potential ways to speed up completion time?

Processes

Once you’ve analyzed your labor needs, it’s good to investigate if your processes are the most efficient. This process involves finding out whether the stages in your production typically go as planned. More importantly, looking at your processes can help you discover where the pain points and bottlenecks are that prevent you from being as efficient as possible. 

Equipment and Technology

The third area you need to evaluate is your equipment and technology. Does all your equipment work properly? Is your technology the most optimal for your current business needs? How easily can you make changes to production? Is there anything you can do to increase efficiency through technology? (Pallet Dispensers are a great investment for this.)

Let’s explore a little more in-depth on ways to use your evaluation to improve efficiency in your industry. 

2. Labor

In manufacturing as well as other industries, employee training is an essential and ongoing process. Obviously, training employees on new equipment and technology is the best way to ensure you are enhancing your value in them. Employee training is also an excellent retention tactic, because every employee wants to have the opportunity to develop their abilities and reach their full potential. 

That’s why it is important that you don’t limit training and education to only the equipment and technology. Your manufacturing business process will run more smoothly if everyone can understand the company’s policies and the right way to communicate with each other.

3. Processes

Streamlining your processes and ensuring that you are effectively organized can gain you an incredible amount of efficiency. Organization is the key to an efficient workspace. Pay attention to your manufacturing plant; the layout, the spaces for workers and heavy equipment to get in and out, and how each area is used.

A few things you need to check:

  • Are all the tools easy to find?
  • Are staff able to easily pick up all the raw materials or finished goods?
  • Is the packing and shipping area close to where the finished goods are placed?
  • Are the forklifts able to easily move around your manufacturing plant?

Another area to look at when evaluating processes is how much material waste you have. One of the biggest issues and most expensive areas in manufacturing plants is material waste. Here are some ways to reduce it:

  • Use less material while packing your products
  • Recycle, or if you can’t do it yourself, then resell the scraps to a recycling center
  • Utilize all available materials for creating new products

 

Supply Chain Management is another zone that is often forgotten when looking at ways to improve efficiency, but it can make an incredible difference. There is no easier way to improve efficiency than automating your business processes. Supply chain management is one of the most important segments in the manufacturing business. However, if the process is still run manually, then optimized efficiency will be difficult to achieve. With sophisticated supply chain management software, you can automate various processes; from tracking inventory across multiple manufacturing plants, setting up inventory levels, ordering raw materials to suppliers, to shipping orders to customers. 

  1. Equipment

You can have the very best employees, but if your equipment is outdated or doesn’t work properly, it will be a challenge to improve efficiency in your workplace. Therefore, it is a crucial component to invest in modern equipment that allows your processes to run better. Advanced equipment also helps you reduce costs for repairing damage and increasing the productivity of your employees. There are also options for equipment that specifically address efficiency hang-ups, like pallet dispensers.

Obviously having efficient, modern equipment is a huge way to improve efficiency, but it is also important to keep it maintained. Some equipment may still be used for a longer period of time if treated properly. New equipment also needs to be maintained so that it can be used to the fullest.  And as you already know, maintaining equipment is far cheaper than replacing it. So, never wait to care for a piece of equipment until it is damaged. A better idea is to regularly conduct preventive maintenance according to the type of the equipment. 

Yarbrough Industries is here to help you with that maintenance on hydraulic equipment and more. Contact Us today to see how we can help your company operate more efficiently.

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