Regardless of the size of your business today, it's important to continue to make improvements that effectively increase the productivity level of your business while lowering costs.
Not only will this help boost the production of your product, but it will also increase profitability. To maintain a smooth workflow within a metalworking shop, you need to perfect three key factors: equipment, employees, and processes.
Once you've got all the issues in these three areas resolved, things will run smoothly and efficiently. To help you, we leave you here with ten tips on how to improve the level of productivity in your company.
1. Adopt lean manufacturing principles
A very popular framework for an improved manufacturing process is known as Lean Manufacturing. This includes a system of principles to follow to ensure that your business always performs at its best with as little waste as possible.
Key concepts to consider when learning about lean manufacturing principles include the following:
- Workflow: Simplify procedures wherever possible, keep the machine floor organized, and have the right workers on the right machines at the right time.
- Company culture: Make sure all employees (regardless of their level of classification) are empowered and respected.
- Customer value: Discover what your customer wants and optimize daily operations to meet these expectations.
2. Create a realistic timeline
Before you start working on a new project or client order, sit down and plan out a realistic timeline. Everyone wants things done yesterday.
However, before agreeing to a deadline you can't meet, consider your company's limitations and applications. Being late at work or missing deadlines can take a toll on your reputation.
Therefore, it is vital that you set a realistic goal for yourself, clearly communicate that goal to staff, and foster a work environment that helps your employees feel empowered to achieve that goal on time.
3. Update your processes
Once you've assessed your company's workflow, you'll be able to quickly identify any issues that may be causing a bottleneck. If you have a project manager on your team, you should share this information with them.
Together you can evaluate performance and decide on the appropriate route to take to resolve any issues. This could mean that you need to make changes on the floor, such as reorganizing the team or reassigning collaborators to different machines.
This could also include making budget changes, upgrading equipment with more advanced technology, or even upgrading your computer software to manage time more efficiently.
4. Stay up to date with maintenance
Make sure your metalworking equipment is in tip-top condition by maintaining a regular maintenance schedule. Metalworking machines are key to business, so it makes economic sense to ensure equipment runs consistently and lasts longer.
In addition to occasional repairs, a piece of equipment will need routine maintenance.
5. Invest in your employees
The most valuable asset you have is people. Also, the more you invest in training them, the better the job they do. Here are some tips to help your staff work better:
- Direct all necessary documentation to employees with the lowest skill levels. This will help them learn on the job as they continue to broaden their skills and develop their experience.
- Give workers quarterly or annual reviews. This will allow them (and you) to see where they are thriving and where they could improve.
- Cultivate a culture that keeps your employees happy. This will result in a much lower turnover rate.
- Finally, if you have the means, you should consider starting an apprenticeship. This will allow you to train employees from the beginning and they will be more likely to stay with your company longer.
6. Update floor management system
If you don't already have a software program to help you manage the production floor, then you should get one as soon as possible. A good program will do the following:
- Control all customer information, including the first contact until the final payment
- Add data to help with decision making
- Allow administrative staff members to focus on other tasks
- Keep processes simple to avoid hiring additional employees
7. Stay organized
Improper organization can lead to confusion, wasted working hours, and low productivity levels. It's important to keep your entire factory organized from the floor to storage to offices.
Your metalworking machines need to be properly arranged to speed up the manufacturing process. Tools, parts, materials, and other items must also be properly stored and labeled.
Pro tip: Use clear plastic containers to store smaller items. This will provide better visibility and make it easier to find things.
8. Get a supplier management system
If you work with multiple providers, you should take the time to consolidate them into a cohesive system.
Using a vendor management system can help you reduce the number of vendors you need to keep in touch with. It can also help strengthen your best partnerships and cultivate long-lasting business relationships.
9. Promote collaboration
Nothing helps improve shop floor workflow like collaboration. Encourage your collaborators to work together to achieve the same goals. This will reduce wasted work and also help create a more productive and efficient work environment.
Everyone will know and understand their part in the process, and they will be given the recognition they deserve for high individual and team productivity.