If your business is in the business of manufacturing and selling goods, then most of your successes and failures are going to boil down to how cost-effectively you can manage your production line. As heavily reliant on both people and machinery as it is, it’s only natural that faults are going to happen. However, when they’re allowed to keep piling unnoticed, it can make a real impact on your profits. Here’s how to get back in control and take the pain out of the process.
Know where your loss is coming from
Every production line is going to suffer some kind of loss and, from day to day, it might seem like its impact is minimal enough to escape your notice. However, without the right systems to track the different sources of loss and how frequent they truly are, you won’t know how much they’re costing. Things like machine performance trackers can help you get a much better idea of what the health of your line is really like, showing you problems that you might need to take a closer look at.
Invest in effective training
Your machines are only part of the equation however, you need to take a closer look at the human element, too. One of the best ways to cut costs in production lines is to make sure your team is undergoing consistent, relevant training. For instance, by teaching them to maintain the machines that they operate, then it’s going to drastically decrease the rate of failure on said machine. By cross-training them on different equipment, then you can also diminish the impact of temporarily losing one employee or another.
Know your most frequent suppliers
Parts on your machines will wear and tear and eventually cause problems. It’s only a matter of time, regardless of how you maintain them. As such, you should know which parts are likely to wear down first, such as nylon tubes in stressful food production environments, and have a supplier in frequent contact. You can even measure how much of a said part you need to replace every quarter and order enough in advance to cover you, so that you can get to the repairs as soon as possible when a breakage does happen.
Schedule your maintenance ahead of time
Naturally, you would prefer that problems don’t occur at all, rather than wait until they pop up to fix them. A preventative maintenance schedule is essential. It may interrupt the workday, but it’s going to be much less of an interruption than if you allow every malfunction to bring the production line to a grinding halt. You should aim to schedule maintenance for when it’s less likely to have a serious productivity impact, such as at the start of the day, where possible.
An efficient, effective production line requires frequent monitoring. Becoming aware of your sources of loss, ensuring you’re frequently taking care of your equipment, and knowing who to contact when you need external help can help you minimise downtime as much as possible.