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Effective manufacturing begins with proactive planning and evaluation of all systems. Best-in-class manufacturers understand that implementing certain practices and processes increase productivity and effectiveness to give them the edge over their competitors. If you’re interested in a more successful manufacturing operation, here is how to achieve it.
Before we can implement these best practices for manufacturing success, let’s first examine what manufacturing success looks like in order to better understand how to achieve it.
Following proven strategies and best practices will systematically push a manufacturer towards these success outcomes. And what exactly are best practices? In a nutshell, best practices for manufacturing are methods or techniques that can be consistently implemented across different operations with the same caliber of improvement over and over again. Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) can utilize these methods to consistently outperform other ways of doing things, producing better results and boosting profitability through greater efficiency and performance.
Establish and define a universal set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that can apply to all operations. Identify the most pressing and relevant KPIs at the current stage. As operations streamline and improve, implement a strategy to add new KPIs as new data and processes are brought online.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Achieve effective manufacturing by implementing a system of preventative maintenance for all equipment to avoid expensive downtime and more complex breakdowns. Consult equipment manufacturers to establishing a comprehensive plan for keeping everything running smoothly.
With labor shortages plaguing US manufacturers, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to effectively deliver a timely product. Successful manufacturers understand the need to create a robust and inspiring workplace culture. Foster communication channels that flow upward rather than trickle down. Your people are your greatest asset. Motivate them and listen to their feedback.
In line with motivating your workers is the best practice of cross-training them. Effective manufacturing operations are flexible and resilient. They can roll with the proverbial punches. How? Through a staff cross trained in multiple roles and able to troubleshoot, substitute, or help relieve logjams.
Lean manufacturing principles promote system-wide efficiency. This powerful practice harmonizes the entire value chain, eliminating waste and non-value-added activity. It originates in Japanese manufacturing and is extremely beneficial for repetitive, mass-production operations.
Virtually every manufacturing operation has quality control practices. But in order to promote consistency in production and reduce mistakes, these practices should be systematized. This system should have provisions for reacting to changes like materials shortages.
Among the most important of best practices is traceability, the ability to know the location and journey of each product through the entire chain. This is made possible by pre-established procedures, looking internally and externally, predicated on the principles of:
Having visibility on a product through the entire chain enables effective manufacturing by reducing logistics costs, dispatch and reception times, manual controls in port, and increasing information availability, performance control, competitive positioning, and many other advantages.
The role of automation in improving efficiency goes without saying. Yet, many companies are hesitant to embrace its many benefits. Production costs go down, human error is minimized, and processes are streamlined when companies implement the power of robotics and process automation.
Highly successful manufacturers know a key way to compete on a global scale is through strategic outsourcing. Outsourcing comes in different forms. Some companies opt to open wholly-owned subsidiaries in foreign countries where labor is more affordable. Others partner with shelter providers to take advantage of their foreign factories without having to open one of their own. Another popular option, especially for smaller companies is contract manufacturing. Contracting with a manufacturer for certain parts or the whole product can be highly efficient, faster, and infinitely scalable.
Plant organization is a simple but effective practice to improve productivity and efficiency. Wasted space, itself, is a liability. When workers are not tripping over debris on the shop floor or spending time looking for tools and materials, the production line is more efficient and productive.
Every best-in-class manufacturer follows these ten steps to greater manufacturing effectiveness. Implementing even just a handful can revolutionize your process, stretching out your productivity and efficiency all the way from acquiring and managing materials to consistently delivering quality products to market.