When upscaling your manufacturing operation, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. After all, you have a lot of possible moves and only one real definition of success. The last thing you want to do is make changes that don't create improvements or, worse, negatively impact your efficiency overall.
To take some of the stress out of upscaling, here are eight things to keep in mind:
1) You'll have new information — lots
According to the High-Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute (HSSMI), the amount of information gathered can double every two years. This is an especially important consideration during upscaling, when your manufacturing operation will be working with new procedures, tools, workflows, technology and more. You'll end up with all kinds of notes and documents, so be ready with solutions to manage and store them all.
2) Now is a perfect time to go green
Also according to HSSMI, transportation — one of the most significant industries served by the manufacturing sector — is driving new approaches in plants and factories by updating its approach to climate change mitigation. Whether or not this directly impacts your manufacturing operation, it represents a critical point: Now, during a period of especially big changes, is your best chance to implement cost-efficient and environmentally friendly initiatives.
3) Things are changing for employees, too
As your manufacturing organization grows, keep in mind that employees will have a whole new work experience with which to acclimate themselves. This means you need to be patient, encouraging and supportive to keep them motivated. Your staff can be one of your biggest resources when it comes to upscaling — but only if you empower them.
4) Training needs to reflect updated processes
If you're changing the way you do things to upscale your manufacturing operations, don't forget to update your onboarding documents, videos or handouts to reflect new expectations. This is important for any new workers you may hire, but it's equally important for current employees who may not be familiar with different approaches.
5) Focus on better production, not more production
According to PTC, more production doesn't always equal success. Instead, employees and machines need to be properly equipped to handle stepper demands and should focus on quality over quantity.
6) Keep up with maintenance
Also according to PTC, maintenance should be one of your top priorities when improving your manufacturing operations. Regular maintenance keeps machines and facilities running at full capacity and is especially important when demand sharply increases. This may require updating your existing maintenance schedules or creating new ones to better fit your growing workflows.
7) Visualize success
It can be difficult to get where you're going if you don't know what that looks like. Before making too many changes to your manufacturing organization, make sure you know what "success" means to you.
8) Don't tackle everything at once
It can be tempting to tackle upscaling operations as one big task — but that mentality can lead to burnout, frustration and inefficiency. Instead, make updates gradually and keep in mind that upscaling can't happen overnight. Slow, steady updates give you the chance to make sure everything's working properly before moving on to the next change. Employees will appreciate the simplified learning curve, too.