Optimizing for Excellence: 7 Tweaks to Apply to Your Heavy Fabrication Operation

Anyone who is charged with running a fabrication business knows that their job is both intricate and essential. Not only must they realize they are responsible for making sure jobs move smoothly in and out of their shop, but they must accomplish that by maximizing the efficiency of their operation. Throw into all this the backdrop of profitability, and you have the makings of more than a handful.

It's been proven that when certain proven principles are incorporated into a fabricating business, efficiency will increase to the detriment of waste. To accomplish this, however, a manager must be willing to try new ideas and ways of doing things. What these are and how they are implemented apply to small companies as well as heavy fabrication companies. But regardless of their size, these principles apply to make a company more efficient and successful.

Practice Lean Management

If there is one immutable fact about business, it's waste eats into profits. This includes the waste of all sorts, whether it be material or in terms of time. Naturally, it follows when there is less waste, a company will be more productive and profitable.

Understand Your Workflow

It's hard to determine where to develop efficiency in operation unless you have a good handle on what is going through your business. First, decide what jobs need to be done and in what order to meet deadlines. After a manager has accomplished this, they need to prioritize what needs to be done. Stream mapping is a great idea to achieve this purpose.

Find Errors and Fix Them

Everybody makes mistakes. That's human nature. Unfortunately, mistakes can be costly. A manager who wants to create a more efficient operation needs to identify errors that happen often and correct them so they have a minimal effect on the business. When in doubt, err on the side of greater efficiency.

Get Organized and Stay That Way

Take a good look at your shop floor. Now, take a good look at yourself. Do you like what you see? If you do, you are a rarity. In many cases, when a manager does this, he can see there are often things that impede efficiency.

Buy and Maintain the Best Tools and Machinery

Things break and wear out. That's natural. But when tools and machines break frequently, that's wasteful. Managers must try to buy the best tools and machinery they can afford and keep it maintained, so there is as little downtime as possible.

Communicate Your Goals

Employees who just show up to work without knowing what company goals are aren't motivated. By contrast, employees who know what management's objectives are motivated to work towards them. Give your employees something to work towards and to drive them. They will be happier and more productive.

Find and Use Data

You can buy the best equipment and hire the best workers, but until you can translate all of that into hard data, making a profit will remain an illusion. For example, how many widgets did you produce today? How many widgets did you produce yesterday? And why was there an increase or a decrease in these numbers? These are the kinds of data that will grow a business. It's continuously gathering and evaluating data will make a company better.

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