In today’s global business landscape, how can you best position your manufacturing facility for competitive success?
Now more than ever, increasing efficiency means collecting and analyzing meaningful data, eliminating any and all forms of waste, maximizing product quality, and making effective decisions in response to real-time customer demands.
“Pull” for Optimal Efficiency
You’ve probably heard of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. Lean is shorthand for an enterprise-wide commitment to reducing waste, simplifying procedures and speeding up production. Six Sigma pertains to the quality assurance principles that often are paired with Lean efforts.
The combination of the two has been proven to deliver better bottom-line results and enhanced manufacturing efficiency.
To effectively apply Lean/Six Sigma principles:
- Sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. In other words, practice 5S. This Lean Manufacturing cornerstone ensures that you maintain a clean, orderly, waste-free workplace. Make sure all unnecessary tools and supplies are removed (sort). Put all necessary items in specific places (set in order). Clean workspaces as tasks are performed (shine). Apply these practices on a consistent basis (standardize). Finally, be sure your 5S process is continually improved (sustain).
- Implement standardized work. Use checklists that note every step in your manufacturing processes. For each employee and team, spell out what needs to be done. This is a powerful practice because it helps ensure that no step is overlooked, forgotten or only partially completed.
- Maintain consistent flow. Stopping a production line at any point is costly. Value stream mapping helps you to assess, monitor and identify process improvement initiative and ensure that flow is smooth and uninterrupted. Then, managers can prioritize and plan projects to address bottlenecks and other problems. Document work flow processes on paper or, even better, electronically. Use diagramming software available from vendors such as Microsoft, Mindjet or Smart Draw.
- Reduce inventory. At the heart of Lean Manufacturing is a focus on reducing inventory and lead times. Production is driven by customer demand rather than management forecasts. In other words, success is based on “pulling” from actual orders versus “pushing” or anticipating what will be needed.
Lean and Six Sigma are the perfect blend, providing tools to meet real demand with high-quality products in the shortest possible time period.
Track Data and Create Scorecards
Track key reports so you can analyze financial and customer service data. Share this information with your project manager so they can develop process improvement plans, accurately assign resources, manage budgets and determine whether or not goals have been met.
Create performance scorecards that identify:
- Financial measures such as monthly sales.
- Customer measures such as number of product support calls.
- Process measures such as number of units manufactured per month.
- Employee measures such as turnover and retention.
As you implement process improvement changes, note any fluctuations in these metrics in order to validate that your interventions were successful. Create a website to publish scorecards, reports and business case studies. Make sure all employees have access to this material.
As you seek to enhance your production efficiency, let Magellan Search & Staffing partner with you to achieve ongoing success. In addition to strategic staffing and placement services, we provide a full range of HR and workforce development options including operational improvements to seal your position as a competitive leader. Contact us today to learn more.