Efficiency in business is everything. It is how you perform well as a company, how you maximize cost savings, and of course who you maintain a strong foundation. An efficient company is also far safer, especially in the manufacturing industries. Whether you own a small family workshop, or operate a huge industrial floor in a manufacturing company does not matter. They both need to be clean, organized, and thought through so that workflow is efficient and employees are supported every step of the way.
Productivity is one of the key factors to success. It is even more important that hard work, because working hard does not mean the job is being done well. In a workshop or manufacturing warehouse working hard can lead to over-exertion, which in turn could mean your employees make mistakes that are costly to your business or to their own health and safety.
To make your workshop safer and more efficient for all, follow this guide:
Audit Your Workshop of Manufacturing Floor
The first step to organizing your manufacturing business is to audit it. This step is critical, because it will help you devise a strategy from the start that tackles the biggest problems you face on your manufacturing floor.
The first place to ask is always your employees. They are on the floor every day and will know exactly where their workplace is lacking. Do remember that sometimes to improve the efficiency of an employee you have to invest in their wellbeing. This could mean improving their break room, scheduling more breaks, paying for benefits like a gym membership, and so on. The healthier and happier they are, the better work they will do for you. Employees who are happy are also far less likely to leave. If they don’t leave, you won’t have to spend thousands on training new employees as a result of high employee turnover.
Take note of the cleanliness of the space. It should be dust-free, rust-free, and generally clean. If not, the products you make could suffer, as could the health of your employees.
How organized is everything? Do your employees find it easy to find tools? If you told them to get something for you, how long does it take them to do it? If there is disorganization or clutter you will need to clear it out and restructure.
Inspect Tools and Machines
Either hire a professional or, if you are a qualified, inspect all your tools and machines. Making small repairs if much more cost effective than dealing with a break or a replacement. You will also benefit from making the machines in question run more smoothly.
The “Five S” Process
Initially a Japanese concept, the Five S process has since been adopted in the manufacturing business over here in the west.
Sort through what you have and get rid of what you don’t need. You can make money during this process if the items you are getting rid of are recyclable or of interest to another company. This way you bring in a bit of extra cash and help keep materials out of the landfills.
Set in Order
Once you have sorted through your workshop it is time to put everything that is staying back. Give everything a home, and label these locations if you need to.
Deep clean the space. Repaint it. Repair it. It should look clean and organized at all times.
Create workflows to standardize steps and make your whole company safer and more efficient. Make a few employees responsible for ensuring these standards are met again and again, but be willing to listen to suggestions on how to improve this new workflow.
Maintain discipline so that all the hard work you put into the previous steps is maintained day after day. If you go through all the effort to clean, organize, and standardize your workplace then it would be huge shame for it to gather dust and become messy in just a few short months.
Improve the Efficiency of Your Workshop
There are many innovative ways to rethink the manufacturing line. Though these strategies will need to be developed within your company, there are a few similarities that are sure to benefit manufacturing businesses of all types:
Invest in Better Tools and Machines
Budget choices might cost less up front, but they will end up costing you more over time. Perhaps you need to keep replacing them, or perhaps they take longer to use. Either way, to improve the efficiency of your manufacturing business you will want to invest in better tools and machines. For grinding wheels, for example, you can benefit massively from investing in Nano-diamond super-abrasives. This will make the grinding wheel exceptionally strong, durable, and long-lasting. Your employees will be able to get their work done faster and to a better standard than ever before.
Provide a Straightforward Organization System
Work with your employees so that your tools and materials are organized sensibly. You should also consider investing in better organizational tools. A shadow board for example can be a great tool to help tools stay organized with ease, whereas labels on the shelves and drawers can make it easy even for newcomers to maintain order within your workshop.
Work with Employees to Create Better Workflows
Every business can improve, even automated businesses that rely on machinery. Don’t assume that you have all the answers, either. The people who have the most relevant opinions and ideas to improve their working environment are your employees themselves. Who else is more qualified?
Not only will asking and working together to make your work floor more productive help the overall efficiency of your business, it will also boost employee loyalty. Employees like to know that their questions, concerns, and ideas are taken seriously and listened to. By not only listening but implementing changes based on their ideas, you can improve their quality of life and quality of work. If done properly, you should also improve the life of your tools and equipment.