How To Keep Your Manufacturing Processes Streamlined

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With billions of people around the world, manufacturers play a big role in the demand and supply chain of essential goods, from foods and drinks, to electronic devices and sophisticated computer hardware systems. Manufacturing companies are always busy, involving a complex production cycle, raw material outsourcing, equipment maintenance, and quality control. Any minor delay in any of these processes may cause costly consequences. For this reason, it is important to have a streamlined workflow to gain the best results.

This article will discuss the essential steps to keep your manufacturing processes streamlined.

Optimize Workflow

In manufacturing, a workflow pertains to a repeatable process that aims to manufacture a consistent, high-quality product. Optimizing your workflow eliminates waste and cut inventory management costs. Workflows are essential because they make up quality assurance, which involves comprehensive system reporting and built-in diagnostics to help minimize maintenance requirements.

Here’s how to optimize workflow in manufacturing companies:

Optimize Material Handling System: Optimize your warehouse conveyor system to maximize time, inventory, labor, and the use of space. Choose a conveyor supplier that designs, integrates, and installs a conveyor system to optimize performance, reliability, and durability. Material handling system optimization helps meet your transportation and storage needs of any manufacturing environment.
Cross-Train Your Employees: Be adaptable by cross-training your employees to help them attain key business metrics. In this way, you can adapt to unexpected events and changing production schedules quickly. Cross-trained employees have higher employability and increase efficiency in the workplace.
Monitor Key Metrics: Be a smart manufacturer by monitoring your key metrics, which drive your business. These key metrics include safety, quality, overall equipment effectiveness, manufacturing cycle time, capacity utilization, yield, supplier quality, and customer returns.  

Improve Communications Using Technology

Regular synchronized communication helps production, engineering, and sales teams to find effective ways to improve products. It means that new products will get to the market faster. Forecasting and reporting are critical. You must carry out these activities in real-time.  

Since manufacturing companies make up a make-to-order environment, proper communication is critical. Seamless communication can be enhanced by using technology. For instance, using mobile communication apps installed on tablets or smartphones can help streamline the manufacturing industry’s communication process.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) programs can help manufacturing facilities streamline production to improve profit margin. Good communication begins once orders are received. The parts department orders raw materials. If there are changes, the engineering department is notified. The production team should be included in the communication flow to promote commitment and prepare equipment. Appropriate planning streamlines your entire production process.

Check the following benefits of improving communications using technology in manufacturing companies:

Departments achieve the clients’ expected delivery date
Allows you to regularly update customers with any delivery date changes
Reduces processing time across departments to promote a good business reputation through sale-to-delivery timeliness.
Improves process flow to reduce order-to-shipment times

Enforce Stringent Quality Control

Quality control is a practical way to make manufacturing employees aware of what is expected from them and the final product the company must produce. While you probably have quality control guidelines set in place, hiring a third-party quality control professional takes this process to a higher level.  

Quality control should start with checking the raw materials ordered. The receiving department checks shipments to ensure that they contain the right materials in the number of items ordered. It is important to perform material quality inspections before moving the materials through to the manufacturing process.

Any critical aspect of the manufacturing process during production must be inspected. Ensure that every stage meets the required standards. Stop the process if a problem arises midway before wasting a significant number of materials and time.

The benefits of enforcing stringent quality control include the following:

Develops employees’ sense of quality consciousness
Reduces production costs
Maximizes resource utilization
Reduces liability risks  
Saves you money on inspections
Increases sales

Leverage Big Data

Big data pertains to a high volume of information that allows manufacturers to analyze enterprise data and improve operations. Leverage your big data by using analytics and business intelligence (BI) technology. It will enable manufacturers to analyze overall company productivity and profitability.

Here are the relevant statistics about using analytics and BI in manufacturing:

89% of manufacturers using analytics and BI consider themselves successful, overtaking other businesses in comparable industries
62% of all interviewed businesses say self-service BI is essential to their business
47% of manufacturers prefer analytics and BI technology instead of ERP
The top three analytics and BI objectives include improving operational efficiencies to reduce costs, growing revenue, and improving decision-making.

Reduce Waste

Wastes are produced in manufacturing companies due to processes, labor, and materials, affecting profits significantly. As mentioned, raw materials can be preserved by having clear communication guidelines across all departments.

So, how do you streamline waste reduction in your company? Here’s how:

Use Production Data: Analyze the total cost of orders produced using production data. You can begin with a large product and check each step to know the source of losses.
Ensure Order Is Forwarded To The Right Department: The order phase is the start of the production cycle. If orders are not sent to the right department, then you’re one step behind. Make sure that all orders are forwarded to the correct department by developing clear order management protocols.
Have The Right Materials: Receiving the wrong materials can affect your inventory and production. Duplicating or using incorrect materials will produce more wastes and financial losses. Establish a good relationship with suppliers and choose ones who stand by the quality of their products.
Regular Equipment Maintenance And Employee Training: Waste can occur in the form of equipment and labor costs, malfunctioning equipment, and production delays. Also, poorly trained workers take longer to manufacture a product, leading to expensive losses. It is vital to hire experienced and trained employees and conduct regular equipment maintenance checks to avoid losses.

Conclusion

There are many ways to streamline your manufacturing processes. The essential steps include optimizing your workflow, improving business communications, enforcing strict quality control, leveraging data, and reducing waste. By applying the tips shared above, you will attain your manufacturing company’s goals as expected.

 

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