In manufacturing, there are few things that matter more than productivity and efficiency. The production line is like a tool. Over time, as it gets used, it dulls. To keep on the top of your game, this means you need to sharpen it. So, how do you sharpen your operations?
Keep it measured
The points below are going to go into changes that you can make to improve the quality and quantity of what your line is turning out. But how do you know whether any change you make really has a positive impact on how the business runs? You need to know what questions you’re asking and what answers you’re looking for. You need to set key performance indicators that act as your corner stones for measuring the effectiveness of changes. These indicators might include the simple statistics of production count, both good and bad. Reject ratios, task times, and downtime can all help you get a better grasp for how the business is doing.
Keep it automated
If efficiency is what you’re aiming towards, then you need to be concerned with machines, with process management and workflow charting, and the efforts of your employees. But employees make mistakes, as it is only human to do. That’s why manufacturing has seen such a huge impact from automation and continues to do so. Automated tools need no less human supervision, requiring skilled operators. However, they can take a lot of the potential for error from the repetitive tasks that might otherwise have to be done by humans.
Keep it connected
Your digital devices have a lot to offer, even in how they help you and manufacturers learn about the effectiveness of said devices. The ability of devices to communicate with one another and with some sort of master server can help you capture data that allows you to better get the raw data that can help keep your understanding of the floor connected. Using communication protocols like Modbus allows you to connect almost every sensing and control device at your disposal. Rather than running from place to place to get the data you need, it can all be in one place ready for you.
Keep it working
As for the heavy-working machines, there’s one thing that matters more than anything. Are they working? Downtime is the biggest problem manufacturers will face, so you need to take an active approach to it. That approach might be best taken by aiming for total productive maintenance. This method lays out an organized approach to tackling issues like breakdowns, reductions in speed, defects, and more by focusing on standardizing practices of preventative, predictive, and corrective maintenance. It spreads the effort of maintenance by putting much of the day-to-day maintenance in the hands of the operators, reducing the costs and time involved in using machine experts.
The production line must always be in a constant state of monitoring and evolution if you want to stay competitive. Automation, better communication between tools, a focus on keeping an eye for recurring problems and potential issues. These are the processes that are going to help your business stay sharp.