Improving your manufacturing process is always a good idea and should be seen as a continuous process on its own. By constantly reviewing existing processes and finding areas of improvement, a lot can be gained, including lower manufacturing costs, higher output, better and more streamlined use of materials, and shorter manufacturing lead time.
However, improving your manufacturing process is often easier said than done. The parts of the process that can be improved are not always obvious and finding areas of improvement is a challenge on its own.
The three simple ways we are going to discuss in this article will help you overcome the challenges and improve manufacturing processes immediately.
Turn Data into Visibility
The key to identifying areas of improvement is complete visibility. When you have total visibility and an understanding of the existing processes, it is a lot easier to find ways to improve those processes. For example, you can reduce the number of raw materials stored when you know exactly how and when they are used in the manufacturing process, reducing the cost of storing those raw materials significantly.
Data is a lot easier to collect in today’s manufacturing lines. Almost all tools used to manufacture products can be connected to a data logger. The ones that do not support loggers can still be monitored using sensors and IoT devices. Data from different parts of the process can then be processed to create a visual representation of the process itself.
Leverage Technology to Refine Your Process
Technology is your friend when it comes to improving manufacturing processes. For example, tooling for injection molding and other manufacturing processes can now be 3D printed or produced rapidly and at a much lower price. The technology allows for tooling to be refined over several versions without the process taking months or costing millions.
You can click here to learn more about rapid tooling and how it can accelerate manufacturing. Rapid tooling is not the only technology available too. Everything from 3D design and simulation to rapid prototyping and monkey testing are widely available, all for lower prices than their conventional counterparts (i.e., doing manual FGDs).
Improve the Team
The one component of manufacturing that often gets neglected is the human component. The effectiveness of your manufacturing processes depends highly on the people running and maintaining those processes. Fortunately, this also means you can gain a lot of advantages by improving the team running your manufacturing operations.
Trainings, valid evaluations, and regeneration are the components you want to add to the mix. All three are very important, because they help not only refine the processes you already have, but also safeguard future processes and any advancements you introduce. If the entire manufacturing line works as a solid team, there will be more things to improve in the actual processes.
As an added tip, you should also organize not only the manufacturing line, but also the people involved for maximum efficiency. Combined with the other three tips we have discussed in this article, taking your manufacturing processes to the next level will not be a challenge at all.