Streamlining your manufacturing processes

Manufacturers should be continuously looking to improve and streamline their processes, particularly as competition levels continue to rise and customer expectations grow – that’s before we even consider the impact of Brexit on all operations. Making changes can be a daunting task, especially when systems and processes are already embedded within the wider organisation or particular site, meaning there could be some potential internal resistance. Refining the strategy and approach to this can be time-consuming and will certainly involve cultural change if it is to be accepted and fully integrated. But it can bring significant benefits including improved quality of production, better cross-team communications, greater efficiency and minimised waste streams. For our blog this week, we’re talking about why you should be looking to streamline your manufacturing process and how you can go about doing so.  

Reduce waste

Waste remains a key issue across the UK, with 41.1 million tonnes of it generated by the commercial and industrial sectors in 2016 alone, and that’s before we even address additional volumes of recycled waste. Given these stats and the overall environmental situation worldwide, many organisations are looking to reduce the level of waste produced at the manufacturing stage. Waste in manufacturing is often considered in terms of materials, particularly where there are errors in production or if there is uncertainty around the volume of products required to complete each production run. With waste a top focus on the consumer and business agendas, it’s key to ensure quality control, particularly as when products produced don’t meet a certain standard, they’re scrapped. To avoid this, quality control inspections need to be carried out throughout the entire manufacturing process either with a human touch or the correct systems. But if you truly wish to cut down on waste and scrap materials, you must first ensure that your production run is set up to perform as it should with the help of your production manager.

Improve communications

Streamlining processes can have an impact on team culture, particularly overall communications. Best practice procedures tell us that this must begin by analysing the existing workflow and system performance before addressing how this is communicated. For example, technicians and operators on shop floors will either manually input data or utilise data collection systems to measure and update the status of current performance levels. However, it’s crucial that managers and shift leaders are also privy to this information, making MMS and OEE systems critical. These allow them to find information around the current status of operations, and forthcoming plans for the upcoming hours, days or weeks, particularly important during shift changeover periods. This is also key in helping decision-makers to analyse and put in place the best resources and personnel to carry out different tasks, whether maintenance-based or operational. Therefore, with the right communication procedures and systems, production managers can improve overall operational execution.

Remote reporting

Using technology to communicate and provide live system reporting can prove pivotal to improving operations, especially on busy sites where statuses may change frequently. As 5G comes into effect with the potential to create $12.3 trillion of revenue across a broad range of industries, allowing for greater flexibility for remote updates which is particularly useful for decision-makers who do not always operate onsite. Remote management-level reporting tools can also help users to understand current system performance, receive alerts for key equipment downtime, booking orders and more anywhere in the world using tools such as OEE business alerts. Although this reporting will not account for offline areas of the factory where product counts and downtime needs to be recorded manually, it certainly has its benefits. Not only will this help to improve communication between teams and transparency, but it can also help managers or shift leaders to make more informed decisions, wherever they are.

Put a trusted system in place

All of the above cannot be fully achieved without having the best systems in place for your organisation. They can help to ensure that the right products and resources are available to help meet supply and demand production volume. And of course, making sure that your manufacturing equipment is able to deliver to a quality standard, even when factoring in unplanned orders. Additionally, this will help to guarantee that the right personnel are on-site to deal with any system issues when they occur and perform unplanned maintenance if necessary, implement TAG recording for issues that haven’t yet caused the system to fail, helping to reduce overall system downtime levels and maintain efficiencies. This is where an OEE system can help to measure operational performance, giving you the data and insights to identify areas for improvement. Working alongside an MMS, this can balance team workloads, boost team morale and allow for better management of day-to-day operations.

Streamlining your manufacturing processes is key to realising continuous improvement, particularly as your business continues to evolve and grow. You can begin by introducing trusted systems like OEE or MMS that can help you to identify risks and make informed decisions across the site. Not only can these changes help to improve offsite reporting for increased status awareness, but it can help to cut down on levels of wasted resources, freeing up your experts to complete more value-adding activity. Above all, it can help to support cross-team communication between shop floor technicians and operators, as well as managers and shift leaders. Not only will this build a better understanding of the current work order status but can help with forward-planning, helping to streamline your process and decision making.  If you would more information about Idhammar Systems, contact us today on