In the world of manufacturing, productivity results in money. And, in a fierce marketplace, having that competitive edge could be a make or break asset.
When delving into this topic, we first need to answer the question: How do we tangibly measure productivity in manufacturing? Put, manufacturing productivity is the amount a company can produce based on the amount of input they put in. Input rate includes factors such as labour hours, capital resources, and natural resources, while outputs are typically measured by the number of goods that get produced.
1. Utilising Monitors
With this overarching question in mind, below are six key examples of ways to improve productivity in manufacturing:
The majority of equipment used in manufacturing isn't used to its full capacity, which inevitably affects productivity levels. Practical usage metrics like overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) or total effective equipment performance (TEEP) allows manufacturers to get a grasp on the numbers and improve their utilisation rates. The statistics around the utilisation of equipment are astounding. The difference between typical manufacturing (an OEE score of 60%) and best-in-class manufacturing (an OEE score of 85%) represents a shocking 41.6% increase in capacity.
Manufacturing works better when everyone is working together as a team. But, we're very aware that increasingly complex production methods and global supply chains make communication a challenge. However, if possible, better communication and visibility throughout the production process can significantly lower the risk of productivity-damaging disruptions.
As wrong as it sounds, producing more doesn't always mean you are more productive. If your productivity isn't also of high quality and good enough to sell to customers, then it can reduce your productivity overall. Employees and machines that are very capable make fewer mistakes, resulting in less waste and higher productivity levels.
4. Inspect the workflow
Inspecting your entire workflow from start to finish is an integral part of understanding where productivity levels can be improved. The review should be an ongoing process that's consistently monitored so improvements can always be made.
5. Devote time for maintenance
Maintaining your company's physical assets will help to maximise their lifespan, reduce downtime, and improve quality and efficiency. A well thought through, a pre-planned programme of asset management will ensure you have a measurable process in place for productivity.
6. Employee Training
A team that feels confident in their skills will always be a productive one. Having a strong and up to date knowledge base will also allow the team to make fewer mistakes and deliver high-quality work. A committed attitude to training also helps retain employees, reducing the cost, and production impact of churn.
Industry 4.0 and technologies powered by the Industrial Internet of Things are helping manufacturers to overcome endless productivity challenges. The implementation of augmented reality is also reducing the time and cost of training as well as improving information retention, generating highly skilled employees at a faster rate. The connectivity brought about by the IIoT (20 billion devices are expected to be connected by 2020) offers an incredible insight into the production process.
To improve your manufacturing productivity, keep in mind that it's more than a simple numbers game and investing in your employees will reap invaluable rewards in the long run. This will take consistent effort and review to get it right. Use these six steps as a guide to get a head start in improving your workforce productivity.