How to Improve Productivity & Efficiency in Manufacturing in 2023?

How to Improve Productivity & Efficiency in Manufacturing in 2023? -

Unlocking Superior Efficiency in Manufacturing Operations

The pursuit of optimal efficiency is never-ending, particularly in the manufacturing sector. From the adoption of lean manufacturing techniques to enhancing workspace utilization, a myriad of solutions exist to tackle prevalent issues.

A crucial factor in enhancing manufacturing productivity is the implementation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software – an indispensable tool in the quest for efficiency.

The Road to Manufacturing Productivity and Efficiency Enhancement

ERP systems offer immeasurable potential in optimizing manufacturing operations. You might be content with your current tools, but it’s crucial to comprehend how a suitable ERP combined with effective organizational workflow can substantially amplify productivity.

Before we delve deeper, it’s essential to understand how to optimize the manufacturing process. Here are eight actionable steps to enhance the efficiency of your manufacturing operations:

Unearth Issues Through Collective Analysis

Project managers should initiate the improvement process by conducting a comprehensive workflow assessment to pinpoint any problems. The following queries might aid in enhancing your process:

  • Are the right personnel assigned to your team and are their skills being adequately utilized?
  • Are your workflows efficient?
  • What are the barriers in your processes and what areas can be optimized? Do you have a remedial plan?
  • Have the appropriate technology and equipment been deployed? Does it cater to your requirements or do modifications need to be made?
  • How will these alterations impact the business?

Engaging in discussions with your staff to glean their insights and determine whether adjustments are required can be highly beneficial.

This approach offers insights into potential issues that senior management may not be aware of, and crucially, it ensures the entire team is actively involved in the problem-solving process. As we will see, this kind of engagement is vital in driving productivity in the long run.

Value Employee Training

If you are keen on enhancing manufacturing efficiency, your team forms the foundation. Efficiency is driven by the harmonious interaction of personnel and processes.

Employee training should form an integral part of your productivity strategy. Apart from prioritizing regular safety training, maintaining detailed training records is also crucial.

Here are some other methods to enhance employee efficiency:

  • Establish personalized schedules for all employees to monitor their progress over time
  • Ensure employees receive specific training on new equipment
  • Provide employees with additional industry resources or online tools that facilitate independent learning – a great way to build a knowledgeable, efficient team capable of problem-solving.

Investing in employee training and education is fruitful. A survey of 3,100 U.S. workplaces revealed that a 10% increase in workforce education resulted in an average productivity surge of 8.6%.

Procure Improved Tools

By better tools, we’re not advocating for bigger, pricier machinery. More sophisticated equipment can only do so much to maximize efficiency.

Instead, managers should focus on identifying specific tools currently missing from their arsenal and how these can bridge knowledge gaps on enhancing the manufacturing process across the organization. ERP systems offer a variety of management tools to bolster productivity, including:

  • Resource management tools that eliminate the need for manual data gathering and organization
  • Real-time analytics on production efficiency and performance
  • Accounting integrations that automate cumbersome administrative processes like invoicing or reporting
  • Help desk support to tackle technical issues promptly

Persistent Machine Maintenance

It’s astonishing how many companies overlook basic machine maintenance, which is a cardinal manufacturing productivity error. Though maintenance schedules might be bothersome, they are indispensable in keeping the operation active and the machinery in good condition.

Such upkeep is critical in minimizing downtime, particularly for factories operating on thin profit margins. Regular maintenance helps preempt issues before they spiral into major problems.

Keep a close watch on the performance of each machine and train your staff to do the same. Sticking to stringent maintenance schedules and keeping spare parts, cables, or other components at hand for any sudden breakdowns is beneficial.

Refine Your Inventory

Both your raw materials and finished goods offer opportunities for inventory optimization. Utilize your ERP to achieve synchronicity between these two areas. The ideal ERP solution will enable automated triggers for materials billing, invoicing, and inventory tracking.

This strategy streamlines inventory processes by eliminating human error. The countless hours spent on spreadsheets and reports can be saved with an intelligent management system that offers full visibility into product inventory and helps you better handle shifts in demand.

Through such a system, you can prevent product shortages and maintain an optimal level of inventory at all times.

Data Monitoring

Most manufacturing companies possess all the data they need to create efficient, productive workflows. The problem often lies in coordinating this data.

This is another area where a robust ERP can prove invaluable. As a business intelligence tool, ERPs are designed to provide a singular, centralized platform for all company data.

This centralization simplifies data management across any type of manufacturing process, whether it’s internal team management, inventory optimization, quality control, report generation, and more. Ensure your ERP offers the means to access and utilize this data.

Enhance Supplier Communication

Improving communication with key suppliers, vendors, and partners in your supply chain can significantly impact manufacturing productivity.

Utilize your ERP to collaborate with suppliers and respond to issues promptly.

Your ERP will provide a constant stream of real-time supply chain data, giving you deeper insights into supply chain operations.

You can track and monitor each process in the supply chain, from procurement to production to distribution, and get a comprehensive view of supply chain operations from start to finish.

Readily available data can be crucial during discussions about shortages or performance issues with suppliers. It will also be useful when considering different vendor solutions.

Automate Processes

A recurring theme throughout these tips is the importance of automation. It allows you to reduce the time spent managing processes manually and devote more time to complex tasks that add value to your enterprise.

Look for opportunities to automate workflows, both within your ERP and externally. Any process that can be defined and repeated may be ripe for automation, including inventory management, report generation, vendor communication, and personnel coordination.

Evaluate what your current ERP offers in terms of automation, and be aware that more comprehensive solutions designed specifically for the manufacturing industry are available.

If your existing ERP is unable to centralize your supply chain data, provide end-to-end visibility, or offer real-time insights into performance, a new solution might be a better fit.

Why is it important to find ways to increase manufacturing productivity?

Prior to COVID-19 disrupting global supply chains, demand for goods was steadily increasing. As markets stabilize and businesses transition into the next normal, increasing productivity and operational efficiency are critical to regaining global competitiveness.

Being a more productive organization is a result of deliberate business strategies such as implementing lean operations management, automating repetitive tasks (both production and administrative),  and utilizing digital tools for internal communication.

Here are ten effective methods for increasing manufacturing productivity:

1. Make digital communication tools easily accessible.

As a company leader in your manufacturing company, you are frequently faced with difficult decisions. When it comes to improving your off-site or non-desk workers, you have two options: either watch your competitors become more efficient or provide your employees with the ability to work effectively from any location.

Giving your employees access to the systems they need to perform well is one of the secrets to increasing manufacturing productivity. To increase productivity on the production line or away from the office, one can integrate cloud services or mobile solutions. This allows them to access information remotely, improving their work-life balance.

2. Accept AI.

The most successful manufacturers in all industries use technology to provide their employees with easy access to communications, collaboration, and information even when they are off-site. Companies should embrace AI as a productivity-boosting mechanism and a technological asset to their schedules, deadlines, and workforce productivity.

Workers (including remote workers) can get the most up-to-date analytics information in real time with the help of AI-assisted manufacturing technology, allowing them to adjust production timeframes or schedule equipment maintenance accordingly. This gives them mobility and more of the information they need when they need it, allowing them to accomplish more in less time. This will also reduce time-wasting actions and increase productivity.

3. Implement a mobile operational communication strategy.

Internal mobile communication can be used for more than just information management and distribution. Quality internal communication strategies can foster the development of a community between employees and employers, which will foster a trusting relationship, which is essential for a team working toward a common goal.

Internal communication strategies are critical components of any business, particularly for front-line employees. Business mobility can be revolutionary in the same way that mobile devices transformed the way we operate in our personal lives. Because most non-desk workers do not have access to email, these apps allow them to stay in touch with the entire company.

Mobile operational communication boosts manufacturing productivity by:

Create a single portal for systems and data within an organization for enterprise-wide access with all employees’ tools in one simple interface
Dismantling hierarchies and information silos to enable real-time communication, effective collaboration, and faster problem solving
Providing opportunities for front-line production workers to contribute valuable insight and ideas for increased innovation

4. Make an investment in ongoing manufacturing workforce education.

AI, VR, AR, and cobots are just a few examples. Industry 4.0 has arrived. Emerging operational technology is changing the way businesses machine, cut, and manufacture goods for faster, safer, and more efficient productivity.

Because of these advancements, the workforce requires a different set of skills to work in an IoT ecosystem. Companies can use a mobile communication tool to educate and train their current employees in order to keep up with smart machines. It’s worth noting that these new jobs foster greater employee engagement by removing workers from repetitive production lines and providing them with more autonomy through more cerebral positions.

5. Make safety a top priority in digital communication.

As businesses embrace all things digital, it’s critical to migrate your safety messaging to your new system. You’d be surprised how simple it is to ensure that all employees have received critical messages. When you abandon paper forms in favor of a workforce app, you’ll see faster return rates on safety forms that must be signed.

A mobile tool, such as Beekeeper’s confirmation campaign, can include a read receipt feature to track which employees have read messages and who needs to be followed up with. In an industry with one of the highest rates of workplace injuries, a mobile communication tool can reduce workplace incidents, resulting in continuous workflows and increased productivity.

6. Attract and Develop a Diverse Workforce

Manufacturing has been dealing with a growing labor shortage and a widening skills gap for some time. The primary causes are as follows:

Millennials and Generation Z are not interested in careers in manufacturing, despite the fact that more than a quarter of the workforce is over 55 and approaching retirement age.

Companies must develop new hiring strategies, particularly to attract talent from a more diverse pool. Employers, for example, should direct their recruitment efforts toward women pursuing engineering degrees at educational institutions.

Not only will this fill jobs and boost the manufacturing workforce for better production capabilities, but it will also create a more innovative company with a wider range of product offerings.

7. Store institutional knowledge using digital tools.

Another significant disadvantage of a retiring workforce is brain drain—the loss of institutional knowledge. It can lead to disrupted operation schedules and significantly slower production as managers attempt to duct tape the broken information stream back together. In other words, they must make do with less information and train new employees on how to do things, which has the knock-on effect of slowing everything down.

With a digital platform that integrates systems and data, knowledge remains on site rather than disappearing when employees retire or change jobs, allowing for business continuity and uninterrupted workflows.

8. Promote mobile collaboration for increased team productivity.

A company becomes more productive when everyone works together to achieve a common goal with minimal conflict and confusion, both of which waste time. When you share a workspace or office, effective collaboration is simple. However, facilitating collaboration may be difficult in a company that relies on frontline employees working on multiple production lines.

This is where a high-quality mobile collaboration solution comes into play. Connecting all employees to a single communication portal allows colleagues to collaborate, resulting in greater growth and innovation. Your manufacturing company can implement a system with collaborative elements that will change the way teams collaborate and increase team productivity.

9. Prepare a crisis communication strategy.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a company that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19. Manufacturing suffered a severe blow, with demand falling by 10% in April alone. Many companies’ production lines came to a halt with little warning.

Being prepared for any crisis that may disrupt operations is critical to the survival of your company. This includes providing your team with the necessary tools to keep things running even during a major disruption, such as a global pandemic.

Business continuity and crisis communication plans should include the following elements:

Digital tools for automating systems that can continue to perform tasks when humans are unavailable
When a crisis strikes, a mobile communication tool accompanied by a detailed content strategy for coordinating workflows and your workforce is essential.
Appointing a crisis management team to keep employees calm during an uncertain time and workflows running smoothly to ensure continued productivity

10. Go Lean

If your company hasn’t thought about adopting a lean operations strategy, now is the time. The basic premise is to improve operational efficiency in order to eliminate waste, reduce costs, and increase productivity. Lean businesses save money by reducing on-site inventory and using a digital workplace as a communication hub where everyone can communicate in real time and access company information as needed.

Going lean can help mitigate the impact of any disruptions. For example, remember the 10% drop in manufacturing demand caused by COVID-19? A lean approach results in a more agile and resilient organization capable of absorbing such a blow and almost seamlessly pivoting strategies to survive.

As the industry returns to a more normal production rhythm, businesses should take advantage of the various methods for increasing manufacturing productivity. This will not only increase their chances of surviving the next crisis, but it will also support a thriving workforce and a more favorable position in the manufacturing line-up.

A Systematic Approach to Enhancing Manufacturing Processes

The guidelines above should address many of the common obstacles that hinder manufacturing productivity. However, keep in mind that people and processes need to function harmoniously.

This is why tools like ERPs are so beneficial in bridging these gaps – and why they’re indispensable for long-term success. In a recent study, 53% of CIOs who used ERPs expressed interest in further expanding their ERP capabilities with intelligent technologies like machine learning.

In Conclusion: Taking Productivity and Efficiency to the Next Level in 2023

Manufacturing efficiency and productivity are not just buzzwords; they are the lifeline that ensures the survival and prosperity of manufacturing enterprises in an increasingly competitive landscape. The year 2023 brings a wealth of opportunities for manufacturing organizations to elevate their performance to unprecedented heights.

Revamping manufacturing operations is not a single-step process, but a journey that requires continuous improvement, learning, and adaptation. By embracing and effectively implementing the techniques outlined in this guide, you are well on your way to creating a manufacturing environment characterized by streamlined workflows, maximized resources, and enhanced efficiency.

Start by fostering a team-centric approach to problem-solving, emphasizing regular employee training, and investing in advanced, suitable tools. Keep your machinery in optimal condition with regular maintenance and optimize your inventory management to accommodate shifts in demand. Moreover, make the most out of data tracking, improve supplier communication, and automate processes wherever possible.

Remember, your ERP system can be the pivotal tool in your arsenal, helping manage, streamline, and optimize various facets of your manufacturing operation. Yet, it’s equally vital to ensure your personnel and processes harmoniously coexist, promoting a conducive environment for productivity.

In 2023, as the industry continues to evolve, stay agile and open to embracing innovative technologies such as machine learning and other intelligent technologies. The intersection of human effort and smart technology is where true productivity lies.

In the end, the road to heightened productivity and efficiency in manufacturing is paved with a commitment to continuous learning, constant improvement, and a readiness to leverage the power of technology. As we move forward into 2023, let’s transform these insights into action and set the stage for a more productive, efficient, and successful manufacturing future.