Stay Lean And Keep Your Production Line Clean

When it comes to manufacturing and production, there’s one constant enemy to be battled and its name is loss. Lost materials, lost time, lost productivity can come in many forms. From a lack of operational efficiency to absent workers, machinery that’s suffering from wear and tear to faulty goods, there are many ways that your line can suffer from loss. To combat it, you need to learn more about the lean principles.

Define loss
The first step to tackling loss in the production line is to actually measure it and see where it’s coming from. Simple KPI’s manufacturing template offers some help in how to identify and measure different sources of loss. Each KPI also has multiple factors to be investigated when you see that certain parts of the production process aren’t living up to your goals. From the rate of failure in different parts of the production line to downtime caused by workflow bottlenecks, you can pinpoint many of the different areas of loss.
Fix, fix, and fix
Machinery failures account for the majority of predictable loss encountered on the production line. All machines suffer from wear and tear. But once you know that, it’s your opportunity to ensure it doesn’t take control of your entire production process. Creating a proactive maintenance schedule is your best bet for staying ahead of any breakages or inefficiencies. This includes not only training operators to notice problems and fix them earlier but making sure you have a supply of spare parts on hand for the fixes most likely to be needed.
Open up your workflow
There comes a point in many production lines where the rate of work slows down greatly. All products in the making have to wait for one process in particular before production continues unimpeded. These bottlenecks account for tons of inefficiency, but there are different ways to open up that workflow. Purchasing more machinery to double the efficiency of that part can help, but so can outsourcing to teams like WES engineering solutions. By having partner firms take on duties that share the lead of your own production line, you can open up that bottleneck, so more products are making it through all the quicker.
Make everyone an expert of everything
Manufacturing isn’t fully automated just yet, so we still rely on plenty of expertise from our labour force. As such, if you’re missing one or two individuals key to a step in the production line, lacking them can leave you vulnerable to downtime. Improving training across the board is the only way to fix that vulnerability. Cross-training your employees means that they share competencies, and you have more people who are able to fill the gap left by one individual if they’re absent or if they leave your team.
Lean manufacturing has changed the world of the production line since they were first introduced. The points above look at only a few of the lessons to be learned from it, so it’s worth doing your own research into it as well. It will save you more money and time than you might imagine.

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