10 steps to have a highly efficient factory

Quality and productivity are key factors for competitiveness and have always been concerns of the productive sectors. After all, what company does not want to increase productivity without sacrificing quality and keep the operation financially sustainable?

Improving the productivity and quality of an organization increases internal satisfaction (of employees) and external satisfaction (of customers and suppliers) since everyone wins in relation to price and reliability in general.
There are many techniques and quality management systems for process mapping, testing, and cost-benefit analysis. With these tools, you can achieve improvements in all your processes and workflows and reach better productivity results by reducing defects, delays, and costs.

But what about the industry? What tools can be applied to get the best performance on the factory floor? Learn now 10 steps to have a highly efficient factory.

1. Analyze your processes and develop performance measures

The focus should not be on the people doing the work, but on how they perform their tasks. Standardizing policies and procedures helps maximize the efficiency of production processes. You must train your collaborators, so that, besides technical excellence, they are proud of their work and look for better results.

Analyze and compare your current processes to identify problems, predict outcomes, and measure productivity gains through key performance indicators for your industry. For example: Measure the quality and productivity of your production line. You can do this by gauging the average time to make each part and the quality failure rate at the end of a round.

2. Build quality tests for your processes

Perform tests during the production process, not just at the end. Testing at the end can increase the cost if you need to make changes. If possible, you need to adopt automated tests that can be performed without human intervention and that result in pass/fail processes that are easy to understand, modify, and rectify. Having a quality product is no longer a differential, but a necessity. Therefore, it is important to strictly control the quality of the products produced by your factory. Perform quality inspections. In them, the inspector can identify and accuse conformities and non-conformities.

3: Be aware of cost management

Production cost management is one of the main difficulties of industrial administration and is essential to maintain the financial health of your factory and consolidate your operation. To keep the factory financially viable, you need to know the manufacturing cost of the products and consider factors that go far beyond the direct cost. Cost management can be very complex. You need to study this topic to avoid having a low profit margin or, even worse, a loss when selling a product.

4. Create a schedule and a manufacturing roadmap per product

Define the times at which your resources (machines and people) will operate. Create a production routing to record the ideal manufacturing time for a product production process. Each operation has a different time and can be related to the resource in which it should be executed. An operation can be done with several different resources, each with its own time.
Accurately register everything that is done on the factory floor: start/end time of the processes, which employee performed the production process of which resource, which activity was performed (setup, stop, production) and which production order was fulfilled.

5. Have good product engineering

Good product engineering is a basic concept for running a successfully factory. To do this, you need to properly define the list of materials used to produce the product and plan the components required during the production steps. You must create a roadmap that includes all the steps for manufacturing this item.

In addition, you must define the work centers that the product will go through at each step of this roadmap, and how long it will take on each of these machines. This way you will know exactly what the production flows are. They are fundamental for you to be able to plan the capacity of your factory in the future.

6. Generate production orders to meet your industry demand

To assist its customers in an excellent and accurate manner, a factory with effective production management needs to issue a production order for each product combination, stating the date of the requisition. In this way, it can meet the demand, whether sealed or forecast.
The production order should provide project information, detailing materials list, routing, and production time. This way, you can apply just-in-time concepts that help reduce excess raw material inventory and give your customers predictability.

7. Control the requisition and plan the need to purchase materials

The requisition of materials is important for good inventory management. Without it, the chances of losses and excesses are very high. The important thing is that you have total control of the materials that have already been requested for some production order and know how to differentiate them from the rest of your stock. To achieve optimal inventory levels in your factory, you need to set up an updated production plan, that is, transform your sales orders and demand forecasts into specific production orders for the finished items.

With this information, you can predict which materials will be needed to fulfill production orders in different quantities and at different times. This means that you can create a plan of purchases and material usage that will meet your production at the exact time and quantity.

8. Record the production that was completed and delivered

When you finish manufacturing a product, you should create a production record that details the materials used. This will remove them from your production/process items inventory. By generating the production orders, ordering the materials, and recording the production that has been performed, your industry is ready to control the inventory of finished goods, semi-finished goods, and raw materials.

9. Make decisions based on statistics

After organizing your production, defining product engineering, organizing inventory, tracking production, and measuring product quality, it is time to measure the outcome of it all.

Data analysis is the last step to achieve excellence in your factory industrial management. Here you need to adopt a system capable of generating performance indicators with the results of your factory. With these indicators, it is easier to manage data and make decisions.

10. Listen to feedback

Measure quality and productivity gains, but do not forget to relate those numbers to increased customer satisfaction. Collect feedback from employees, customers, suppliers, and business partners to get their opinion about your products or services. Use customer feedback to improve current products and influence the development of new ones.

The importance of optimizing production management in the factory

By adopting the 10 steps presented here, you improve the management of your company and, consequently, its productivity. Among the main advantages are:

  • Detect minor problems: Failures that were previously unnoticed will be detected. This will optimize the time to make corrections and improvements.
  • Control the production process: The manager will have a broader view of the industry and a more precise knowledge of the processes operations.
  • Standardize: The operations performed by the employees and the industry processes will be standardized.
  • Improve product quality: Due to the standardization, all activities maintain a high level. This reflects positively on the quality of the product.
  • Increase production: Remodeling the processes reduces bureaucracy and costs. In addition, it allows you to take advantage of opportunities and boost production.

Factories generally become more competitive and efficient over time. Companies that do not seek to optimize their processes lose market position and become outdated. Excellence in production management is also important for the company survival in times of adversity, such as economic crises or even during the Covid-19 pandemic.