Regardless of a company’s size and production capabilities, enhancing productivity remains a vital component in the pursuit of increased profits and stable growth in an increasingly competitive manufacturing industry.
With increased expectations on production capabilities from customers and the availability of skilled labour at a premium, manufacturers look to maximise manufacturing output by doing more with less.
There are a number of changes that manufacturers can make to people, processes and equipment to increase efficiency in machining operations, five key initiatives are outlined below.
1. Review existing workflow
The first step before implementing any considerable changes is to review the current workflow pattern. Careful analysis of current workflow will provide an accurate overview of what is working, and perhaps more importantly, what is not.
Reviewing workflow takes into consideration factors such as staffing, processes and technology, both as individual elements and how they fit together to form the production process. Value mapping can prove effective in its ability to narrow in on specific areas for monitoring and improvement.
2. Set Realistic Goals
It is important to be realistic when considering current production targets, perceived performance issues may not be down to underperforming employees, inefficient processes or poor utilisation of technology if targets are simply set too high.
Setting unachievable deadlines can have a negative impact on employees, causing dissatisfaction and low morale. Other factors include potential compromises to employee safety and diminishing quality of finish parts in an effort to increase production
To maximise efficiency of labour, it is important to set clear, realistic and achievable production goals that staff are agreed on and motivated to work towards.
3. Invest in your employees
The way we manufacture has changed dramatically over the last decade or so, in order to maximise innovations that have the ability to revolutionise production, staffing must adapt to accommodate these changes.
New technologies often create new employee duties for production tasks, meaning workers need continued support and training to keep up with ever-changing skill requirements, often seeing a shift towards a more specialised and advanced role.
Continued investment in employees also creates lasting job satisfaction and can be seen as a great tactic for staff retention. The recruitment and training of new employees to replace staff that have left is a time-consuming process, often creating a productivity decrease.
4. Encourage Collaboration
Teamwork and collaboration are key to manufacturing, when everyone works together with a shared goal in mind, the shopfloor is at its most productive.
Adversely, poor collaboration can have a number of negative impacts to the organisation including workplace conflicts and higher risk of scrapped parts due to a breakdown of communication in the production chain.
It is important for manufacturers to create a collaborative culture which encourages continuous communication, streamlines workflow and improves overall productivity and efficiency.
5. Embrace Industry 4.0
Whilst addressing internal factors increase productivity, embracing industry 4.0 and automated technologies can be as an immersive commitment to revolutionising your manufacturing process.
With huge potential from the newest cutting-edge technologies available, investment for industry 4.0 and automation can be sizeable. The payoff however for the initial investment is a speedy and continuous return on investment through increased productivity, precision and removed risk of scrap components.
Rigibore’s industry 4.0 solution Zenith allows manufacturers to control bore sizes through a closed-loop control system. The intelligent system has the capability to automatically compensate the tool's cutting edge to adjust with micron accuracy as the tool wears.