Four strategies to increase the productivity of labor and equipment in the manufacturing sector



Image credit: SYSPRO.

Manufacturing in the 21st century is becoming more competitive than ever with ever tighter margins. Companies in this industry must now take a close look at their efficiency and productivity and re-evaluate the use of known technologies and consider newer, relatively untested technologies to introduce competitive advantage into their organizations.

Manufacturers need to completely reinvent the way to meet customer demands and expectations by transforming core business operations. Significant changes are happening in the traditional workshop, making it faster, more automated and more connected. Some manufacturers have realized that building the digital backbone necessary for their business will achieve new levels of productivity that will drive growth and profitability, but how do they do it?

Four ways to improve plant productivity

Creating a digitally connected smart factory gives manufacturers the ability to simultaneously monitor and analyze multiple factory variables, including the performance of machines, people, and processes. This allows them to find previously undetected issues and identify strategies for making improvements. Here are four easy ways to improve plant productivity.

1. Measure and analyze labor and machine costs by shift, product or operator

In a manufacturing or distribution business, costs can easily get out of hand: money and time can be wasted on redundant processes, too much manual work, and piles of paperwork. Spending days or even weeks trying to sift through spreadsheets won’t be a good use of time to be able to compete in a rapidly changing global marketplace.

2. Identify unnecessary downtime and help reduce bottlenecks

Downtime can have a very deep and lasting impact on bottom lines and can even bankrupt manufacturers. Often downtime is due to bottlenecks, so identifying them is the first step. Many bottlenecks have similar root causes, such as staff underperformance, issues with a machine, supply chain issues, poor raw material planning, or poor ergonomics or configuration. of the machine in the factory. When a bottleneck slows everything down, it can cause delays and increase production costs.

3. Measure product quality and highlight machine or labor issues

It is important to apply world-class manufacturing standards within the factory when measuring the efficiency and performance of equipment and labor. This ultimately provides better quality products that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. What is required is a detailed analysis of the individual performance of equipment and people with supporting data, including audit trails and a record of problems encountered.

4. Measure operational efficiency and highlight areas requiring special attention

Over the years, manufacturers have continued to strive for operational efficiency, even though a significant improvement would require a fundamental change in their business model. Some manufacturers have implemented programs such as Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and have focused on improving overall equipment efficiency (OEE) with the same goal of streamlining the manufacturing process and increase production.

While TPM is an equipment maintenance model that strives to use everyone to maintain the plant, it also aims to achieve flawless production without breakdowns, slowdowns or any other machine related issues that affect the flow. OEE is a metric that measures the degree of use of the machine (uptime), the speed of the machine (speed) and the quality of production. The OEE supports TPM-based initiatives by measuring progress towards “perfect production”.

The role of a mother

Using a manufacturing operations management (MOM) solution will help manufacturers continuously improve their productivity and processes while aiming for the highest standards. Most importantly, a MOM solution provides a holistic view of manufacturing operations.

MOM helps organizations generate accurate production schedules that take into account capacity constraints such as people, machines, tooling as well as materials and can help identify production lines that need to be reprogrammed to meet the demand. evolution of customer demand, balancing available capacity. The result is improved delivery to customers on time and in full.

In anticipation of such a change, manufacturers should also start fostering a culture that views data as an asset for better decision making. With a central database provided by an ERP system integrated with a MOM system, manufacturers can begin to accelerate their migration to a smart factory.

As a result, they will be able to collect production data in real time, which allows manufacturers to optimize their production activities from product creation to final production. Manufacturers who want to gain visibility and control over the execution and quality of their shop floor should consider implementing MOM to leverage the capabilities provided by their ERP.

The process of digitizing a manufacturing operation will allow manufacturers to develop entirely new product categories, creating new alternatives for customers, while staying one step ahead of existing and new competitors. Those who deploy a MOM can ensure that they are making the best use of their available capacity to deliver to customers faster and in the most cost effective manner while reducing production costs.

By Rob Stummer, CEO Asia-Pacific at SYSPRO.


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