Manufacturing managers are responsible for ensuring that factories run efficiently. This can be a really hard job. Luckily, there are a multitude of tips to improve your manufacturing management game. These 5 tips will help you find new ways to make your factory run more productively.
Sometimes the easiest way to put your manufacturing game in high gear is to talk with production workers. They understand their jobs and the part they play in the manufacturing line. Talk with them, not down to them. This makes it easier to implement any changes since they feel like you’ve listened to their concerns. You may even find a way to improve efficiency just from talking with employees.
5S is a workplace organization method for ensuring that unneeded tools or equipment are out of the work area. It helps manufacturers keep each tool where it needs to be. You can use the 5S to maintain high standards of cleanliness at work stations. The Sustain part of the 5S is focused on improvements to how it is implemented. In short, 5S facilitates an orderly and clean work area that will increase productivity.
Find the Bottleneck
The Theory of Constraints holds that there is just one constraint (bottleneck) holding your business back. Examine the factory layout and look for processes that seem to be a bottleneck. If you find one, explore it closely to see if it is a true bottleneck or indicative of another one elsewhere. A good way to spot bottlenecks is to use production stages in a manufacturing solution. This will help you locate spots where scheduled tasks are taking longer than expected and you can correct the problem before it turns into a major delay.
Maximize Factory Throughput
It is essential for you to focus on maximizing throughput for your factory. This is something that is considered along with operational expenses and inventory costs. To really understand this, you need to learn about the processes and how they all work together to create throughput. According to the experts at Molding Business Services, there is a clear difference between a mere project engineer and a true process engineer when it comes to factory process knowledge. If you don’t know the processes well, learn them. Manufacturing inventory software comes in handy here, helping you to calculate the actual costs of all your parts and products. Finding the operational and inventory costs that maximize throughput and by extension, profitability is what separates the great manufacturing manager from the average.
(Re)Learn Linear Programming
Today’s manufacturing environments are data driven. You don’t have to be a data analyst, but you are expected to know methods like linear programming that you learned at university. You don’t need to remember how to perform the Big M method of the Simplex algorithm on paper (who does?), but you certainly need to understand how to find an objective function, constraints on that function, and how to solve it in Excel. If you can’t recall how to solve a linear programming problem in Excel, then now is the time to find a tutorial and brush up on it.
Overall, you may not be able to implement all 5 of these tips in your current job, but finding the ones that you can use will put your manufacturing management game on a higher level. When you are trying to improve, just make sure you keep the right focus and that’s helping your company be more successful.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.