The golden metric of manufacturing is productivity. A company’s output and efficiency in a given time span can greatly impact its bottom line. Without a consistent increase in productivity, it can very easily lose its competitive edge on many fronts. Constantly keeping tabs on new technology that can help increase manufacturing productivity is essential. That includes updates to enterprise resource planning software such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV. There are also high-level strategies businesses can incorporate throughout their operations. However, those require massive investments in time and resource to ensure everyone has the training and know-how to follow through.
If businesses lack the resources to complete these tasks, there are some more basic changes that can help them increase productivity regardless. Here are some examples:
Establishing a worker performance standard
One of the key factors in manufacturing productivity is how well workers perform at their tasks. A single able and talented worker may have a greater output than a few people who have lesser skills. Moreover, having too many workers without the necessary training can inhibit productivity because people simply get in the way. Consider how Paul Downs, a small business owner in Philadelphia, wrote in the New York Times that one of the most ideal outcomes of the Great Recession was the necessary layoff of many of his workers. By cutting the fat, he left only his most productive staff, and production consequently improved dramatically.
Moreover, the effect of reducing staff allows for a standard of worker performance to develop. Over time, the company can expand training resources so as to strengthen that metric to create even better skilled and more productive workers.
Understanding time as it relates to productivity
Work flow is a particularly strong aspect of productivity, and the essential metric in this concept is time. Creating a valuable work flow comes from understanding how much time makes up the production of a single product. Something that often gets forgotten in these discussions, however, is total productive maintenance, or the amount of time it takes to create goods when accounting for the equipment used to make them.
If a company were to look at their production run time, they should be able to mark time lost to planning out production and scheduling the run. However, TPM adds three other losses to the equation, based on the state of the equipment used, according to manufacturing outfit Vorne. The first regards availability, in that machines stop production because of either their failure, the lack of necessary materials and shutting down machines for tool and die exchanges. The second is performance, when production slows down due to machine weakness or employee missteps like jams and misfeeds. Last is quality, where the finished products get sent back for a re-work or scrapped. Finding major gaps in any of these three losses can help identify basic areas of improvement in productivity.
Applying simple lean techniques
While concepts such as lean manufacturing, Six Sigma and theory of constraint are all-encompassing philosophies, manufacturers don’t need to incorporate their entirety to get results, as noted by Reliable Plant. Consider the basic concept of single-minute exchange of dies. The idea is simple: When dies must be changed over for the next run, workers should complete it in less than 10 minutes, or in single-digit minutes. As die and tool changing take up a large amount of time to complete, focusing on that alone can help bolster productivity. This is because the resulting ripple effect frees up capital and costs while reducing waste. Finding simple ideas that make practical sense to workers like this can easily improve manufacturing productivity and ensure a business stays competitive.
To learn more about how you can improve manufacturing productivity through Microsoft Dynamics NAV, check out the DMS Physical Inventory Count Module data sheet today.