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Tips for Improving Your Manufacturing Process

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A company's manufacturing process has many components that must be brought together to function effectively. Businesses are constantly searching for ways to improve their manufacturing process to make them more effective. From ordering raw materials to final quality inspection, there are many things a company can do to simplify manufacturing.

Use Technology
Upgrades to a manufacturer's technology can reap many benefits. Computer systems and software should be efficient and effective in placing and tracking raw materials orders. Programs are available to allow sophisticated inventory tracking during the manufacturing process. Smart machines can be used to ensure proper calibration on equipment. Smart machines can also measure efficiency and output. Computer programs can also be used to analyze the process flow to determine if anything is holding up the assembly of goods. Software is also available to track and analyze finished goods to determine how well a facility is meeting its quality control goals.

Set Sourcing Expectations
Companies should set standards for receipt of their raw materials, labor, factory conditions and energy inputs. Mattel is a leader in using ethical sourcing for its factory inputs. Making sure raw materials are obtained from reputable partners can eliminate problems during the manufacturing process. These problems include defects caused by inferior or damaged materials. Impaired raw materials can result in significant waste. Maximum damage is incurred if problems with components do not become evident until the production process has been completed. Factory, machine and employee time has also been wasted and cannot be recovered. The importance of having quality inputs cannot be understated.

Engage Employees
A factory can only be successful in assembling products in an efficient and effective manner with a well-trained workforce. Investments that companies make in employee training will result in great returns. Having workers who have an intimate understanding of the machines is invaluable to keeping a manufacturing facility running. Not only will these employees make sure the equipment is run properly, but they will also be able to troubleshoot problems and make repairs if there are problems. Workers who understand the process flow and the standards of the company are also important. Employees can help facilitate the manufacturing process if they have been successfully trained to understand it. These workers are also helpful in looking for efficiencies or ways to clear backlogs at different stages of the process.

Make Safety a Priority
A factory accident can instantly make a manufacturing process more difficult. To avoid accidents, a company should seek to operate its facility in the safest possible manner. Machines should be regularly maintained and upgraded to ensure they are functioning in their designated capacity. Companies need to properly train their employees on using the machines, the workflow of the factory and proper use of safety features. Regular training should also be given on general safety features, including instruction on what to do if something goes wrong. Businesses should have a safety protocol for workers to follow and should conduct regular safety inspections of the factory floor. The safety inspections should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of procedures, identify continuing risks, develop updated procedures and encourage compliance.

Encourage Collaboration
The manufacturing floor typically contains segmented parts of the assembly process. Each component has its own equipment and teams that fulfill that part of the manufacturing process. Collaboration should be encouraged among teams so that the assembly can achieve seamless transitions between stages of production. Management can focus on communications between different teams to make sure there is a positive flow of information to complete the tasks.

A company may want to provide incentives to individual teams and teams as a whole. These incentives can be related to collaboration efforts the teams can succeed in. Factories operate most efficiently when all units are working together.

Manufacturing is a complex process with many potential problems that can occur. The methods listed above are ways that a company can make manufacturing easier.

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