Whether you’re a startup that’s intrepidly going into the big world of manufacturing, or if you’re the fourth in a long line of manufacturers, there will always be ways that you can more effectively manage your manufacturing operations. Keeping your operations effective, efficient and organized will help to produce a highly productive company culture, something that will shine through your end-products. Implementing the following tips will help you to neaten things up and run more effective operations.
No matter how many individual operations and processes you have in your manufacturing base, it can be very effective to monitor common metrics across all operations. You might have several different KPIs for each process, but if you can find common KPIs, you will be able to easily assess performance by glancing at a dashboard of metrics. When you compare processes directly, you become more able to make necessary changes across the board.
Have a Maintenance Management System
Your maintenance will likely take up a sizeable chunk of your cash, so you should do everything you can to streamline maintenance processes and reduce unplanned downtime. Fifty-five percent of manufacturers still use spreadsheets to track maintenance, but computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) are proving to be far more effective at reducing downtime – see this site outlining how CMMS are used and how to pick a good one.
You should try to calculate overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and monitor this frequently by assessing machine-level data. It’s a great metric that will help you to develop a clearer view of your operation, as well as calculate your asset utilization value. When it’s time to assess budgets to assets, OEE data can be very useful at helping you to make educated and purse-friendly decisions.
Use as Many Sensors as You Can at First
While you’re undertaking your pilot operation, you should use a PLC controller and sensor on older machines might not come equipped with sensors, as you will want as much visibility as possible. The data that you manage to get from your sensors will allow you to make informed decisions about factory floor design, as well as product design tweaks for efficiency’s sake.
If You’re Making Changes – Put Senior Management in Charge
Change management is notoriously difficult and this is no different on the manufacturing floor. If you are making significant changes to your operations, you should make sure a senior executive – preferably C-Level – is seen as being highly involved. Not only will this help to give confidence to those employees having to change, but the expertise of senior management will help to ease confusion.
Work Towards JIT Processing
Just-in-time manufacturing means everything is ready with seconds to spare. When you can consistently create that sort of timeliness, the efficiency of your operation will be dramatically improved. When you’re trying to work towards JIT processing, maintenance and prevention of issues is even more important as you have less of a safety net; some say it’s a high-risk strategy, but it will help to maximize profitability.