As the manager of a manufacturing facility, you likely have a lot on your plate, but perhaps the most important thing is being able to ensure your operations remain as efficient as possible on an ongoing basis. How can you do that? Through taking a holistic look at your business and seeing where there are areas for even the most incremental of improvements.
Those could include the following:
1) Do everything you can to monitor activity
One of the biggest problems for business efficiency — regardless of industry — is executives often don't know what they don't know, according to UpKeep. That is, they may get plenty of data, but it's often end-results from their various processes. The more they can do to monitor activity in real time and identify when hiccups crop up, and why, the better off they are likely to be.
2) Start from beginning
Your efforts to understand your processes should, again, be holistic, meaning you need to consider everything from the ground up, UpKeep noted. Even if you investigate a base-level aspect of your operations and find that it's perfectly adequate (or even better than that), it was still important to have looked into the issues. Doing this for every aspect of your business will help you identify problems more easily.
3) Give staff more specific directives
Once you have identified potential issues with any given process, it's important to iron them out as quickly and easily as possible, according to Lean Production. A great way to do so is by simply getting more involved with your workers and, once you've diagnosed the problem, give them clear and specific directions to fix whatever issues you have identified.
4) Be realistic
However, when you recognize a specific hitch in your operations that is hindering efficiency, you can't expect things to get better overnight or to some pie-in-the-sky level you have never seen in your business before, Lean Production advised. That doesn't mean improvement is impossible, just that it will tend to be more incremental.
5) Set aside time for training
Along similar lines to ironing out any wrinkles in your efforts, you also need to make sure your workers are properly equipped to take on any operational improvements you prescribe, according to Modern Machine Shop. That might mean they need new tools or equipment, but on a more basic level, they likely need to be trained for new aspects of the work they do on a daily basis, so they are always ready to take the next step along with your business as a whole.
6) Invest in new equipment
Sometimes, you may find that you've effectively maxed out the production efficiency of your factory as it stands today, Modern Machine Shop said. To accommodate further growth and improvement, you may need to make sizable investments in new machinery to take a quantum leap forward. While that will often come with a considerable price tag, keep in mind that such investments tend to pay for themselves over time.