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Step by step: How to increase productivity at the factory?
Sep 24, 2021 4:38:50 PM3 min read

Step by step: How to increase productivity at the factory?

No matter your business' size, improving productivity is vital to increase gross profit and keep competitiveness. Productivity at the factory is a combination of employees, teams, and efficient processes. Improving all these areas involves assessing the current practices, make adjustments to the systems, train employees, and, even, the team used to create pieces and components. 

<<< Industry 4.0 and the future of metalworking companies >>>

Before using any method to improve productivity, you should measure the current output levels, create a base and implement solutions to measure the change. Shane Strowski, CEO of Waterjet & Laser, shared the following eight steps to help increase productivity and success at the factory:


STEP 1: Analyze the production workflow

The first step is to identify the weaknesses in your current workflow. Analyze the necessary people, technology, and processes for production, as well as procedures, communication tools, and available resources in the company. You could use a value map as an effective solution to identify and monitor projects for process improvement. This strategy allows managers to detect problems and register how changes affect the system in general. 


STEP 2: Update factory processes

Share current problems in workflows with the project managers to develop improvement plans for the manufacturing process. This could mean relocating resources to other areas, manage budgets or get the ISO certification. Make sure you assess the performance regularly and make the necessary changes. 


STEP 3: Invest in employee training 

Industries like manufacturing, machining, and metallurgy change constantly:  technologies always assure manufacturing will be more efficient than ever. Technological advances usually change the required skills for particular tasks, and employees will need regular training to have the new, necessary skills. 

<<< Complete guide: statistical control of the processes in the assembly line >>>


STEP 4: Keep expectations low

Customers' expectations and pressure about production and tight deadlines can lead to setting unrealistic goals. When goals are unattainable, employees feel unsatisfied and prevent the company from achieving its objectives. To increase employee efficiency, it's important to set realistic and clearly defined goals that guarantee a combination of punctuality, high-quality results, and safe procedures. 

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STEP 5: Buy smarter machines and tools

Manufacturing is an industry in which an employee can be as productive as his/her tools are. Even though state-of-the-art machines, such as jet machines or CNC mills, can be expensive to configure and train employees to use, modern equipment can have a positive effect in the long term. Companies belonging to the metalworking industry usually realize that changing their machines for new ones helps them stay competitive in a new, innovative market. 


STEP 6: Invest in maintenance

There's a link between the costs associated with inactivity time and the time and budget invested in preventive measures. Even though new equipment can increase productivity, they also require regular maintenance to guarantee they keep working properly. Employees must know how to solve inactivity problems to find what's causing troubles quickly. Tools are not always what's wrong: remember to think about the process, the plan, the materials, and everything else. 

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STEP 7: Keep yourself organized 

The money you lost and the time you wasted because of lack of organization can be surprising. A safe way to improve productivity in any working environment is to keep a well-organized place, from materials to machines, tools, and documents. When you organize the work area, think about the design of the teams and machining tools, and if they are truly efficient. Otherwise, think about rearranging your workspace to create a better workflow. 


STEP 8: Encourage collaboration

Factories are more productive when all employees work together to achieve the same goal trying not to waste too many resources and not causing too much trouble. Even though focusing on work is important, it's also vital to make sure that all employees feel comfortable in their teams. If teams work together, they will encourage a productive culture at their workplace. 



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