Be Honest, Could Your Manufacturing Business Be Doing Better?
Manufacturing companies can sometimes get into bad habits. Once they “go lean,” they often believe that the work is done. They can rest on their laurels, kick back, and let the profits flow.
Unfortunately, that’s not the way the industry works. Technologies are changing all the time – and that means that firms always need to keep up with what’s happening across the sector.
Some manufacturers leave it more than ten years before upgrading their equipment – and that’s a problem. Old processes are rarely as efficient as their contemporary counterparts.
So, could your manufacturing be doing better? Let’s see.
Did You Evaluate Your Production Line?
In any manufacturing operation, the first place you should look for improvement opportunities is the production line. It is the core of the business and the source of virtually all profitability.
Managers often overlook multiple details. For instance, could you increase output by using a blast booth instead of a cabinet? Are your loading dock bumpers suitably specced for your business’s needs? Are there opportunities to add extra automation and refocus workers on other areas?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it is a sure sign that you need to make some capital investments. While there are costs today, the long-run payoffs can be substantial.
Can You Reduce Waste?
Many manufacturing operations involve cutting smaller pieces of material from larger ones, leading to waste. The problem is particularly severe in the realm of cut metal. Manufacturers can sometimes wind up wasting more than 50 percent of the material they use as inputs.
Take a look at your current waste situation and ask whether there is anything you can do to improve it. Evaluate your current practices and talk to suppliers about whether they offer any options to fix things. Once you reduce waste, you also reduce costs, not only because you are using materials more efficiently, but also because you eliminate many disposal costs too.
Are There Training Opportunities You Are Missing?
You should also ask yourself whether you are providing staff with training opportunities. After all, it is your workers who effectively hold your business together.
Training can take many forms. The most basic is health and safety. This allows you to avoid some of the traditional worker compensation costs. However, you should also try to upgrade worker skills as well, bringing them into line with the rest of the industry, if necessary.
Are You Quantifying The Workplace?
Lastly, you’ll want to attach metrics to general workforce performance parameters to ensure that you’re continuing to maintain high standards. Without statistics, you may think that you’re doing a good job, however, you may not be. Small changes in productivity or safety can be difficult to track over the long term unless you have reliable metrics to back them up.
Furthermore, if you are planning on making changes to the workplace, you’ll need to use data to track whether improvements are effective. In some cases, for instance, you may find that over-automating your lines actually leads to an increase in costs.
Categories: Outside Contributors