All organisations are constantly working to achieve maximum productivity and efficiency, and it is particularly important for manufacturing. Making processes leaner and optimising the work area are two key goals, and there is a lot of advice out there. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of tips to increase productivity in manufacturing.
Things You Can Do to Increase Productivity
Boosting productivity is all about making lots of smaller changes and looking at opportunities to make bigger changes that will make a big difference.
Take Stock of Where You’re At
You need to measure your current level of productivity before you can take action. Look for bottlenecks and pain points by evaluating processes, technologies and staff roles. Also consider methods of communication and what resources you have at your disposal to bring about improvements.
Make Employee Training a Priority
Your team is at the heart of everything you do. Productivity is the result of optimal coordination of people with processes. Employee training will allow you to make the most of this, so it should be a cornerstone of your productivity planning. You can also boost employee efficiency with:
- Personalised schedules for individuals
- Swift training on all new equipment
- Industry training resources for employees to engage with independently
Invest In the Right Tools
Fancy equipment doesn’t always improve productivity. You need to dig deep and identify specific tools that your organisation is lacking. Look for technology that can fill knowledge gaps and optimise manufacturing processes in every area of your organisation. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is often a powerful resource for manufacturing businesses, with tools like:
- Shop floor data capture to automate the collection and organisation of data.
- Real-time analytics into the performance and efficiency of production.
- Integrated accounting tools to automate complex financial processes.
- Supply and demand planning to manage supply chain efficiently.
- Material Resource Planning (MRP) to manage the production process.
A good example of this is Sicon Manufacturing for Sage 200 which features a wide range of additional modules for Sage 200 designed to streamline and automate the processes involved in manufacturing.
Improve Product Knowledge
You might be surprised how beneficial it can be to develop a deeper understanding of what you are actually producing. This type of learning can happen on the job, and can often lead to new ideas focused on improvement coming from members of your team. Just because a product has been produced one way using the same materials for some time doesn’t mean there aren’t better ways to produce it.
Organise Materials and Parts for Efficient Retrieval
Lack of organisation can cause a lot of wasted time and money. If materials are not stored in a way that complements workflows, it can take staff a long time to retrieve those parts. Your storage facility should be well organised with good picking bins to improve the speed at which parts arrive on the manufacturing line. It will also reduce picking errors and help avoid stock shortages.
Using Sage 200 as an example again, Sicon have created bespoke modules that handle this problem with their Barcoding & Warehousing module. The module allows manufacturers to track the complete lifecycle of their components right through to the finished product with full barcoded traceability at serial and batch level.
Maintain Machinery Effectively
Neglect of machines can lead to costly downtime. Maintenance schedules may be inconvenient, but they are essential for ongoing productivity. Make sure everyone knows how to spot problems early on to nip them in the bud. Keep ironclad maintenance schedules and your machinery will keep operating like clockwork.
Use Suitable Handling Equipment
In addition to organised picking and retrieval of materials, you need to have appropriate tools for moving those things around your facility. Handling totes, forklifts and other resources should be available where appropriate.
Track Data at Every Opportunity
Efficient, productive workflows are at your fingertips, but you need to coordinate the data that relates to it. This is another area where ERP is useful. It centralises all the data you capture throughout your facilities, making it far easier to work with. Then, with professional dashboards and real-time reporting, you can identify strengths and weaknesses and start to strategise for improvement. Other things it helps with include:
- Internal team management
- Inventory optimisation
- Quality control
Communicate Effectively with Suppliers
Good communication with key suppliers, vendors and partners in the supply chain is crucial for productivity. It is helpful to have a real-time flow of supply chain data for more insight into operations. As you monitor processes, you can communicate with suppliers and vendors to coordinate and collaborate effectively.
Make Good Use of Space
The way you organise your space in your facilities has a big impact on the speed at which employees move around. Try to situate commonly-used equipment and machinery close together to help store parts where they are needed most and make staff movements efficient. This may require you to rethink your factory floor layout but could make workflows smoother.
Implement Automation Where Possible
Automation is your ally when it comes to efficiency and productivity. It helps reduce manual processes so that they get done quicker and personnel can focus on more important tasks. Whatever technology/software you have, try to take advantage of the automation features it offers. ERP systems like Sage 200 Manufacturing have many automation tools specific to manufacturing.
Try to Reduce Waste
Damaged components and materials cost you money. Unfinished or defective products cost money. And when a customer has to return an item, it hurts your reputation. You can reduce these kinds of issues by ensuring you have storage and handling resources that protect items. Mistakes happen, but recurring problems probably have a root cause that you can eliminate.
Have Realistic Expectations
Don’t set the bar so high that your goals are not achievable. Manage expectations and ensure no corners are cut to try and achieve targets. This can lead to low morale and you will see productivity drop.
Set goals based on current productivity and look for tools that can help boost productivity. Employee feedback can be invaluable as well. With realistic goals that drive profit, you can find the right balance for success.
Peaks in demand can affect productivity. Boosting your general productivity levels can make you more effective when there are demand spikes, but it is important to plan ahead for these periods.
Production backlogs can harm staff motivation. Track data and use technology that can help make predictions for peaks and troughs in demand. Efficient processes, powerful software and well-trained staff can help you stay on top of this.
The manufacturing industry faces a host of unique challenges, and navigating these to increase efficiencies and productivity is crucial. Without the right tools and processes in places, production can suffer and with it profitability. By implementing the tips above and ensuring you have the right software to service your requirements, you should be able to avoid the common pitfalls in production.
Why choose Eventura to help deliver your Sage 200 project?
With two decades of Sage deployments under our belt, we are experts in delivering robust Sage 200 solutions that are meticulously designed to suit your specific business needs. We take a full 360-degree view of your business, and help you identify all of your requirements.
We have particular expertise in helping industries such as manufacturing, construction and warehousing and distribution, where we have helped create bespoke solutions that tackle industry specific needs.
Our team of expert business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff will guide you through your Sage 200 project from conception, through to deployment and ongoing support.
If you would like to speak with one of our Sage 200 experts, you can request a free call back here.