If you’ve been looking for ways to maximize your throughput in your manufacturing process, there are several things you could start doing right now, that stand to enhance your efficiency and optimize your productivity without needing to decide if your company is ready to add another machine, shift or employees to your existing process.
At Reynolds Machinery, we are always here to help you find the right fit to add to your equipment, but we also want to help you succeed by being smart about your business. Sometimes, it’s just not the right time. And if it’s not the right time, there are other things you can be doing to help increase your business and ready your processes for when it IS the right time.
These seven steps will help you increase efficiency, identify opportunities in your process, and maximize the throughput of your existing machinery.
1. Inspect your workflow
Examine your processes. Look into the minute details and granular aspects of your production. Is your layout conducive to maximum productivity? What about your employees? Are they repeating tasks over and over that could be eliminated or needing to take unnecessary steps and time to complete necessary tasks. What could be made simpler? Oftentimes, you’ll find by simply examining your workflow, you might be able to make small changes that increase productivity.
2. Identify bottlenecks
Where is work getting stuck? Who on your team is experiencing downtime while they wait on some other part of the process to catch up? What can be done to loosen the bottleneck or make use of wasted time waiting by completing other tasks that could move things along more quickly?
3. Be proactive to avoid equipment downtime
Keeping your machinery in tip-top shape isn’t just about cleanliness or presenting well for tours of the facility, preventative maintenance and a defined cleaning schedule, with outlined procedures and expectations can prolong the life of the machine AND increase its efficiency, reducing downtime that can throw curveballs at your business. Need to get on a better schedule for preventive maintenance? Give us a call, and we’ll talk you through what your best next steps should be.
4. Reduce factors leading to rework
What work is being produced that doesn’t make it out the door. What is happening throughout your process that allows such work to get as far down the line as it does. Are there things you could do earlier on in the process, through project management or quality control to identify when something has gone awry, before it wastes time on the line that could be put to better use than finishing up a part that ultimately will be rejected?
5. Improve training
Making sure your employees are trained on how to get the most out of the machinery you have is key to your operations. Reynolds’ factory-trained technicians provide hands-on training so your operators can bring your machinery online faster.
Training begins in a classroom environment using electronic simulators for job set-ups and simulated production. Then the training moves on to hands-on operations and in just a few days, your operator is trained and ready for production.
Training is also available at your location. Call Reynolds for training, schedules and on-site pricing and availability.
6. Manage labor efficiently
Talk to your employees about what would make their jobs easier. What tasks are they repeating unnecessarily? When are they needing to move away from their stations to grab components they need often? Are there things that can be done to help them out and eliminate valuable time spent on processes that make their jobs difficult anyway? Sometimes, increasing efficiency can be as simple as asking people what they really need, listening to what they have to say, and then implementing small changes that shave BIG seconds off from production time.
Human capital plays a critical role in the manufacturing process. Employees are attuned to the intricacies, complexities and unknown variables affecting a machine, or the process, in some ways automation may never be able to emulate. However, after taking a deeper look at your existing processes and identifying what can’t be done through automation, you may be able to reverse engineer the repeatable, identifiable tasks that absolutely could be. Identifying and then finding ways to incorporate automation into your process, can reduce human error, accelerate production speeds and smooth out complexities that, well, don’t necessarily NEED to be complex.
If you think you’re ready to consider automation, schedule a time to come out to our showroom and take a look at our onsite cobot (collaborative robot). We’ll talk you through how integrating a cobot into your operations can benefit your operation.