The key to any business is making the most profit for the least expense, and the most essential indicator of how well your business will flourish is its efficiency. Whether your company centers around manufacturing or this is just a small part of your business, improving efficiency in this area is key to providing a good service and making the most of your time. If you’re looking for a nudge or two to improve your manufacturing efficiency, read on to find out the best tips you can take up to maximize your output.

Learn from the Best

Our ideas have to come from somewhere, so when looking for ways to boost your efficiency, look to the companies that do it the best. One of our favorite ideas is lean manufacturing – this originated and is implemented by the Japanese automotive company Toyota and is a way of reducing your waste as much as possible without giving up productivity, meaning you can make the most of your materials. If you’re unfamiliar with lean manufacturing, it’s worth getting to know it in detail to improve your company’s efficiency – after all, Toyota went from a relatively small company to the world’s largest producer of motor vehicles, and it didn’t do it by luck.

Taking a lean manufacturing online course like this one offered by Kettering University will give you the skills and knowledge you’ll need to implement lean manufacturing and push your business in the right direction – that is, onwards and upwards. If you want to take it one step further, you could also encourage employees to take this course, too, as it would offer them an insight to the changes it inspires you to make and the process as a whole. This would be the best way to inform them on how they can do their part to increase efficiency, too.

Identify Weaknesses

When looking to refine your manufacturing process, you need to look over every area involved and identify any areas of weakness. This means looking over the people, procedures, technology, machinery, communication tools and any other resources and materials involved, no matter how small of a part they have to play. Consider applying value-stream mapping, a method of displaying the important steps in your process visually so that you can see exactly what’s going into it, how long it’s taking and which parts of it you can get rid of. Don’t be afraid to target areas that seem essential, but give them some good thought. Even if you don’t get rid of the whole area, it’s likely there’ll be a part that isn’t needed and can be discarded. Don’t be afraid to discard either – things can be replaced, and sometimes, risks are worth taking or you may be left behind.

Keep Staff Up to Date

As mentioned before, encouraging staff to take up an online degree in something like lean manufacturing is a great way to improve their own individual efficiency and make the process more streamlined, but of course, you can’t make them do it (unless you’re willing to pay for it, of course). For most, however, it’s important to keep your staff up to date with regular training. This includes not only reviewing the basics and ensuring that no one has slipped in the quality of their work but also ensuring they have a good knowledge of current advancements being made in technology. Since technology is developing so fast, it’s important they can have a good knowledge of the new skills they need, so maintaining regular training is a great way to ensure there’s no delay or confusion coming from staff. You want simple, clear focus, and thus, your process will be kept up to speed and won’t start to slow down.

Make Smart Investments

With business, although wasting money is a no-go, it can sometimes be worth spending a little more to maintain or improve the quality of your products. One way in which you can do this is via the equipment and tools you’re using. As mentioned before, technology is advancing rapidly – so use it! Relatively new additions to the manufacturing market include nanotechnology and predictive maintenance technology, which have changed the game completely. Not only are these great for reducing the amount of time needed, but they also improve cost; although it may be a little hefty at first, once installed, these technologies will save you a lot of money in the long run. They’re perfect for refining your manufacturing process and save you getting left behind in other companies’ dust. Putting a little extra money into training your staff with these will also save you money on things like maintenance – if your staff know how to at least troubleshoot problems, this will save a lot of time waiting for it to be fixed as well as saving you the call-out costs.

Preparation is Key

It may sound obvious, but having a good plan is the heart of being efficient. It takes a little time to get things in order if you’ve lost track of your organization, but it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run to have things organized. Simple things like keeping everything in a place that’s easy to access, clear to everyone and somewhere that makes sense in the long run avoids confusion and prevents time lost looking for things that could have been found ages ago. You may even want to rearrange your floor to keep your work flow smooth and streamlined. Preparations should be made for your staff, too – for example, an obvious one is what they should do if something goes wrong. However, you should also make sure there are things in place to keep them comfy and happy – this will encourage collaboration and a good attitude to work as well as preventing any conflict, stress or demotivation from affecting your efficiency.

With these 5 tips, you should be able to improve the efficiency of your manufacturing and not only produce better quality products but reduce the time and cost of these, pushing yourself to the top of your market.