3 Ways to Improve the Efficiency of Your Production Line
The speed and efficiency of your production line depends on a number of factors. The design of the facility, the layout of the line, the skills of your workers, the processes you follow and the capability of the machines are all factors. Here are three ways to improve the efficiency of your production line. We’ll focus on practical solutions nearly any business can implement.
Automate Those Last Few Steps
While you may have a production line, the odds are that you still have steps that are heavily dependent on manual labor. Embrace automation here. For example, your employees may still be packing cases by hand. You can easily automate that step by investing in a case sealer. An INSITE case sealer, for instance, will allow you to pack cases far more quickly while matching the accuracy and repeatability of your best team members. Look for case sealers that can handle a wide range of case sizes and the number of cases they have to handle per minute. Units that are safe, dependable and require minimal maintenance are the ideal.
Investigate other automation options as well, since there are thousands of different manufacturing machines that are designed to do what humans used to. Start investing more in machinery than human resources to maximize productivity.
Monitor and Refine Your Team
You’ll probably be monitoring your production equipment for deviations from the performance baseline. If something is wrong or performance deteriorates, you send in a mechanic to fix it or as a tech to recalibrate it.
However, fewer businesses apply the same concepts to their human resources. The best way to get better performance out of a team is to monitor the productivity of your employees and their quality of work. You could reward the most productive people with bonuses for exceeding quotas, more hours or greater responsibility. Those who are less productive could be retrained to do something else or given lessons on how to do things better.
Redesign the Production Line
Sometimes the problem is the production line itself. Maybe you could break up the line to feed products to two downstream lines, ending a bottleneck in the process. Or you could work with production line specialists to determine a more efficient production line layout. You may find that altering settings on one piece of equipment or upgrading a single machine may be enough to boost productivity. Another possibility is that you’ll be told to alter your business processes to better fit the production line’s needs. Switching to a different tape or glue could improve the quality of seals, while changing the tools your team uses could reduce defects and the wasted time correcting mistakes.
If you’re thinking of introducing new machinery, consider testing the new layout on one line and monitor the results before you revamp the whole department. Don’t forget to train your employees on new business processes and operating the new machine, or else quality and productivity may suffer.
Increasing your daily output increases the volume and value of saleable assets. At the same time, doing it by improving productivity is cheaper than expanding the facility. In short, improving line productivity almost always helps your bottom line.