When you manufacture products, a poor process can eat into your profits. Every extra second that it takes for your product to move from start to finish adds to your production costs. By improving your process, you will make your customers happy with faster delivery. You will also make your company stronger and more competitive. Improving your manufacturing process requires some intentional choices.
While some steps of your building process require an expert’s skill, there are many tasks that can be done by machine. Often, the first step in automating is transportation. A great deal of time can be lost in moving parts from one assembly station to another. When parts travel through an automated conveyor system, your human employees have more time to focus on their primary tasks. As you examine your process, you may see simple tasks that can also be handled by a machine. Automation does not necessarily mean removing workers. Instead, you can reorganize your employees to make the process even faster.
Lean manufacturing is a style of production based on constant improvement. In this system, managers are always looking for wasted time or effort. The manager regularly examines the process and searches for barriers that slow things down or other ways to streamline the task. The physical layout of the manufacturing may cause unnecessary pauses. Keeping enough parts at assembly stations may be an issue. In an ideal lean manufacturing system, the process will produce just enough inventory to meet the current demand. In fact, many people say that lean manufacturing can change your business for the better.
Your employees often have insight into ways to improve your process. After all, they are the ones who experience it day after day. They can tell you what causes slowdowns at their stations. They can also tell you when there are parts of the process that are unclear or frustrating. If the manufacturing process is repetitive, your process will suffer as your workers deal with boredom and fatigue. Some companies find it helpful to allow employees to switch stations periodically. This not only can improve morale, but it also gives you flexibility. If an employee has to be away from the station, you will have several other people who can step in at a moment’s notice.
Your manufacturing process is key to your company’s success. By paying attention to small details, you can consistently make things better. An improved process will keep your company moving forward.