Need to Improve Your Manufacturing Process? Here's How.

Rahul Roy
November 1, 2022
min read
September 19, 2023
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Efficiency is important whether it is a manufacturing or service-oriented business. Increase your production and profits by improving manufacturing efficiency.
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Manufacturing has always played an important part in a country's economic growth and development. De-industrialization in the past 20-25 years has diminished the role of manufacturing in the economy. Manufacturing is a continuous fight between increasing output and driving down costs while maintaining good product quality for consumers. Your objective is to increase your manufacturing efficiency.

Those that do not improve risk falling behind in today's hyper-competitive industrial climate. How can a company go on a path to improve the manufacturing processes by implementing best practices and cutting-edge technology?

In this article, you learn more about:

  • Manufacturing efficiency
  • Process improvement.
  • Solutions to consider to eliminate inefficiencies and improve manufacturing operations.

Benefits of manufacturing process optimization

Wastage reduction

Good production management enables your management to plan effective usage of raw resources and, as a result, decrease wastage.

Improve product quality

A company may reduce damage to and waste of raw resources by practicing good manufacturing management. This leads to high-quality products. Product consistency and overall quality are also improved when manufacturing efficiency is increased.

Increase profits

Production operations management is concerned with ensuring that all of your manufacturing processes function smoothly and efficiently. When done correctly and regularly, increasing manufacturing efficiency may help your company's earnings grow.

Customer satisfaction

Higher-quality goods strengthen customer satisfaction, which grows as your company improves order processing and fulfillment accuracy. These processes also lead to solutions for working with clients that benefit both sides.

Compliance with regulation

Good manufacturing management that is effective guarantees that your firm complies with all regulatory laws and prevents fines as well as other penalties.

Common manufacturing problems

Lack of sustainable manufacturing processes

An unsustainable industry generates waste at every stage of the manufacturing process. Sustainable manufacturing practices improve the environment while simultaneously improving manufacturing efficiency and resulting in considerable cost savings over time. Learn more about manufacturing strategies like kaizen or 5S to become invested in sustainability. These techniques can assist you in reducing waste and creating a speedier, more productive production line.

Employee performance

Inefficient manufacturing lines can be caused by poor product quality. Using low-quality raw materials will not only result in additional waste but may also result in items that do not fulfill product requirements and must be scrapped.

Worse, low-quality finished items might cause client unhappiness, destroying your company's brand. 

For the best final result, optimize product design via prototyping and employ high-quality materials. This reduces the possibility of material waste and consumer loss. The initial outlay is well worth the reductions in product waste and client retention.

Production gaps

When machines can have work, latent schedule gaps in your company's manufacturing process might cause inefficiencies. Although planned downtime provides advantages such as lowering hourly use and maintenance, downtime, in general, may be wasteful for you. Make the appropriate modifications if you have production schedule gaps that can otherwise be used to save on severe downtime expenses and increase production efficiency.

How do you know you need manufacturing improvements?

Manufacturing firms have some common issues, and there are always areas to develop and issues to resolve. To discover a potential solution, every minor issue must be identified. Some of these issues include quality, inventory, process variance, waste, and so on. Several methods are available for detecting these issues, and it is important to devise a strategy for manufacturing improvements.

Process mapping

Manufacturing processes may be complicated to visualize. This may limit our ability to notice problems or wasteful labor. This is why process mapping is such a useful technique for identifying issues and optimizing processes. This tool provides a visual representation of all the actions in a process in the order they are completed. Decisions, stages, inputs, and outcomes are all represented by distinct symbols. Process mapping provides visual assistance for many business processes. It also aids in the identification of the Where, Why, What, Who, and How parts of the process and problem, as well as guiding towards potential solutions.

Cause and effect diagram

The cause and effect diagram is sometimes referred to as a fishbone diagram or the Ishikawa diagram. It is often used for organizing your thoughts on potential reasons for the problem. It has a horizontal line with the major issue printed at the end of it. Methods, equipment, human resources, materials, measurement, and environment are the most commonly utilized categories.

Tips to improve the manufacturing process

1. Reduce wastage

Wastage can be in the form of raw materials, energy, labor hours, or workspace. You can reduce raw material wastage by simply utilizing less material from the start. Value engineering and design for manufacturability (DFM) approaches can significantly enhance yield. Even if you are unable to utilize the recycled material yourself, you may sell it to a manufacturer that can effectively convert your waste into profit.

2. Analyzing workflow

You can only identify areas for manufacturing process improvement ideas when you understand your workflow and its entirety. There are three angles to analyze workflow:

  • Personnel: Having the recruits with the required skill set at the right place and time is key for optimizing personnel workflow. Specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related are SMART objectives to improve production.
  • Tools and technologies: Using suitable technologies and regular maintenance of tools and machinery can alter your manufacturing process in an efficient manner.
  • Process: Analyzing inefficiencies in the workflow process will help you move in the direction of workflow process optimization.

3. Training

There is always a new technique, piece of equipment, or position to fill. Learning, like progress, should be ongoing. You should make your employee onboarding and re-skilling practices beneficial. 

Train your staff on multiple processes so they can troubleshoot, act as replacements, and provide assistance during repetitive tasks. Furthermore, if everyone on the manufacturing floor understands the full process from beginning to end, they will have a greater knowledge of their duties within it.

4. Connect supply chain connections through networking

With dozens of facilities and suppliers all around the world, you may find it difficult to keep track of them all. You can ensure that operators and quality assurance (QA) inspectors may evaluate the information contained in a single database by employing even the most basic networking protocols.

Simple cloud-based solutions may be the most adaptable for businesses. Because of their natural platform independence, they are frequently available to any sort of device. For example, any data stored in a Google Spreadsheet document can be accessed by employees using any device with a contemporary browser.

5. Supplies

While analyzing your manufacturing process, pay special attention to your suppliers. If you discover that some people routinely provide you with better supplies, raw materials, or tools, you should compensate them by giving them more of your business. This is another situation where measuring is useful: the sticker price is usually not an accurate representation of the actual cost of input.

You may discover that customer-service attitudes differ significantly among suppliers. Working with suppliers who put the client first is suggested for maximum efficiency. They'll respond considerably faster if something goes wrong, and they'll be far more ready to solve an issue on their end while minimizing your losses.

6. SOPs

Manufacturing SOPs must be followed for various reasons. First and foremost, it aids in the protection of your staff. SOPs can assist prevent accidents by providing specific instructions on how to complete jobs safely. But there are several other SOP benefits that you want to take advantage of.

SOPs improve work consistency. This is especially significant in industry, where jobs are frequently repetitive. SOPs may assist in guaranteeing that activities are completed consistently, which can help to reduce errors while maintaining or even raising product quality.

📌 Recommended resource: SOPs vs. Work Instructions — What's the Difference?

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7. Automation

The use of automation in the industrial business is essential for manufacturers. Businesses may utilize software to get through obstacles, save bills of materials and even make AI-assisted choices.

And, if you outsource your production (or a portion of it), contract manufacturing software may be quite beneficial in terms of controlling inventories and operations both at your suppliers' and your sites.

Manufacturing automation will help you to increase your workflow and minimize manufacturing lead time. If you're small-scale manufacturing with irregular sale orders, you don't need to invest in manufacturing automation technologies. However, as your company grows and you handle more and more orders, determining whether or not to modernize your procedures would be out of the question.

Ready to improve your manufacturing process?

Maintaining attention to manufacturing analysis can assist your organization in continuing to expand by saving money and resources. To enhance your business, inspect your factory for the causes of production waste and inefficiency described above.

Several companies prioritize improving manufacturing efficiencies since it is the final piece of the puzzle for them. Though there will always be bottlenecks and equipment failures, some of these difficulties may be handled by using the right strategies. Choose the correct strategy for your business and get your production processes up and running.

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