In a post-COVID world, US manufacturers are struggling with employee shortages, implementation of social distancing measures, and an unstable supply chain.
With industrial productivity more than 11 percent below the early 2020 levels, American factory managers seek ways to boost manufacturing efficiency.
Below, we highlight some essential manufacturing tips used by successful production businesses across the USA to keep the lights on and the engines whirring.
1. Safe Workers Are Agile Workers
Managers who embrace AI in the manufacturing process are better placed to keep their workers safe.
Smart communication tools let workers talk quickly over long distances. Automation frees employees from repetitive actions or environmental hazards.
Managers shouldn’t conduct staff training only to comply with OSHA guidelines. (Though that is important, too.) Training programs should include advice on how to work smarter, which will lead to productivity gains.
2. Manufacturing Efficiency and Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is an umbrella term for adopting a set of processes by many types of manufacturers. This includes advanced technologies, connectivity, automation, and analytics.
The manufacturing sector is rife with supply chain struggles and loss of both product demand and workers. Manufacturing executives are embracing the promise of Industry 4.0 solutions.
For example, close to 40 percent of businesses surveyed by McKinsey & Company had digitized their supply chain systems. Around 25 percent were speeding up their investment in process automation, removing the need for workers.
3. Minimize Material Waste
Industrial businesses typically overlook the cost of waste management. In the United Kingdom alone, waste can cost companies as much as 10 percent of their annual turnover.
This isn’t efficient accounting. But what can companies do to reduce the cost of their waste?
One strategy is to cut waste from the get-go. Look closely at how you design your products. Optimize manufacturing productivity to ensure you use as much material as possible.
Turn scrap metal and plastic back into cash by recycling it in-house or selling it on. Take a hard look at your shipping department. Can you package products in cheaper material or in a way that uses less?
4. Stay Abreast of Innovations in Machinery
Companies that can’t embrace technology advances in their sector are in danger of being left behind. On a water production line, the latest machinery enhancements help.
Turn-key filling and packaging lines, for example, ensure liquid enters a container efficiently and at the lowest cost.
Contemporary engineering focuses on integration. Factory owners can integrate new machinery into existing lines and phase out older models.
Once you’ve invested in new machinery, be sure to keep on top of regular servicing and preventative maintenance. Proactively repairing machinery is generally going to be cheaper than dealing with a breakdown.
Continuing Education Is Vital
To stay informed, managers and their teams need to follow industry news sources online rather than print (ditch those trade magazines), including social media. Read outside of your sector, from logistics news to videos on marketing for engineers. Embrace online training and virtual events.
For more on improving manufacturing efficiency and other industry trends, browse the other articles on our blog.