Written by Steve Hudgik
It's easy to look at a business and feel it is operating at maximum manufacturing efficiency. But if you do a systematic, complete, data-driven examination of your manufacturing process you'll find that manufacturing efficiency can be improved.
An efficient manufacturer is one who:
Achieving a high level of manufacturing efficiency means eliminating waste. The problem is that in many cases waste is not something we can see. We think of waste as a trash bin filling up with discarded material. But, when looking at manufacturing efficiency, waste also means any non-value adding work. This may include work, procedures and systems that management imposes on workers. Since the requirement came from management we tend to not look at it when evaluating ways to improve manufacturing efficiency. But optimizing manufacturing efficiency requires a holistic look at the complete manufacturing process.
Because management can be a source of waste, it is critical that management be fully involved in any changes that are required. Full "buy in" and participation of management in improving manufacturing efficiency also helps to overcome the natural resistance to change people have.
Overcoming resistance to change is an important aspect of improving manufacturing efficiency. Using lean techniques that involve workers, such as kaizen - which utilizes ongoing continuous improvement based on suggestions from employees - help make the necessary changes easier because the change originated with the workers.
The "theory of constraints" is a manufacturing efficiency analysis approach based on "a chain is no stronger than its weakest link." It looks for constraints in the manufacturing process. A constraint could be a machine, logistics, a location, a workstation, or anything else through which the work passes and which limits production. By maximizing the throughput at the point of constraint, the overall manufacturing efficiency is increased. Maximizing throughput means eliminating waste such as wasted motion, waiting time, and any other non-value adding activity. To accomplish this, look at everything that impacts the point of constraint, including departments such as IT, purchasing, and even departments such as finance and marketing.
Other ways to eliminate waste include:
OEE looks at individual machine operation and maintenance to optimize the use of each machine. Factors such as the following are evaluated:
Making changes to improve manufacturing efficiency and maintaining those changes requires effective communication. An important communication tool is a DuraLabel custom label printer.
With a DuraLabel printer you have the ability to make custom labels and signs that communicate needed information. You can post machine start up instruction, maintenance information, and emergency procedures right at the point where they are needed. Your labels and signs can be as large as needed, and include symbols and diagrams. You have complete flexibility which allows you to maximize visual communication efficiency. Call 1-888-326-9244 today and ask about special DuraLabel kits that will meet your labeling and sign making needs.