“We aren’t running at optimum performance.”
“I’m not able to make order deadlines due to low throughput.”
“To grow I need to do more, more quickly.”
Do any of these statements sound familiar? When we consult with our clients in manufacturing they often express concerns about throughput and productivity. They’ve hired us to help them determine what’s holding them back and to develop a strategy to help them reach their goals.
We start with a 360-degree company assessment, looking both from the top down and the bottom up. This includes getting out on the production floor to identify areas where improvements and adding Lean principles into operations can lead to enhanced results.
As we work, we follow a tried and true process to evaluate five high-impact areas for increased productivity.
If you’re experiencing productivity issues, start by evaluating these five areas. You’ll uncover valuable insights and identify areas for improvement. And, after putting in the work to correct issues, you’ll see your productivity increase.
- Productivity constraints. We start by looking for bottlenecks. By improving these areas, you will instantly increase overall productivity.
- Product and processes. Evaluate your product and processes to determine immediate improvements that will increase flow and quality from station to station.
- Value-added activities. Eliminate non-value added activities that result in faster throughput to product.
- Productivity metrics. Implement productivity metrics at each workstation to measure and improve productivity. We’re firm believers that you get what you measure.
- Workstation layouts. Improve workstation layouts by implementing 5S, which eliminates clutter and improves efficiency, safety and housekeeping.
This process worked for a $200 Million manufacturer of fabricated metal products that contacted us about its inability to meet daily production requirements, as well as volume growth expectations. Along with assessing their leadership, we looked at the five high-impact areas above. We found that the company needed to:
- Adopt Lean concepts on the floor including, one-piece flow, process utilization, 5S and operator training.
- Institute quality control processes and systems.
- Address production bottlenecks in critical operations, among other recommendations.
By addressing these issues, the client:
- Improved quality, resulting in dramatic reductions in scrap, rework and customer returns.
- Improved factory appearance and workflow optimization.
- Reduced employee turnover and improved employee satisfaction.
- Increased daily output in excess of 50 percent.