Experiencing a surge in demand? Here's how to increase productivity in your manufacturing facility
Posted: Oct 12, 2020
The more production you can squeeze out in a period of time, the more money you make, right? But how do you do that if you are struggling with low productivity levels in your manufacturing facility? This article explores six practical ways to increase productivity within your manufacturing company.
Witnessing a sudden rise in demand is definitely good news because it paves the way for more profits. Or, at least, that’s until you realize that you can’t handle it. You ran out of a finished product, you can’t get raw materials at a reasonable price, you see your employees starting to quit in frustration, and you start reading about angry customers publicly complaining about your product being out of stock for a long time.
Whether a media outlet wrote a glowing review about your product, a celebrity-endorsed it on a whim, or you run a sale that spreads rapidly on social media, you’ll want to make sure that all your customers get their order.
Like it or not, a sales surge has the power to either sweep a company to success or force it into bankruptcy. So, how do you make sure your business handles a surge in demand? By increasing productivity. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
- Review your existing resources
It’s simple: you can’t know what changes you must make and where until you understand how everything works now. You have three critical resources in your manufacturing business, including your employees, your processes, and equipment and technology. These are the areas you must analyze to identify needed changes.
First, start by determining if you have enough workforce to handle the surge in demand. Do your people have the right skills in the right places? Do you have a trustworthy manager to guide your team in critical times?
Next, you must determine if your manufacturing facility’s processes are effective or if there are any pain points and bottlenecks.
What’s more, you need to make sure that all your equipment and technology are in good repair. Also, is the equipment and technology you use in your processes optimal for your business’s current needs?
Based on your answers, you’ll know if or what changes you must make.
- Update processes and technology
Now that you have reviewed and mapped your existing resources, it’s time to start making the needed changes you’ve identified.
Those processes that slow down production or distract your workers from core tasks need to be updated or changed. And the good news is that today’s technology can help.
For example, new software solutions for scheduling, inventory, and monitoring workflow can help both your workers and your managers. Such solutions can eliminate human errors, increase efficiency, and allow your workers to spend more time on core processes instead of deal with time-consuming paperwork.
Automation is also a powerful tool you can use to increase productivity and efficiency among workers. Plus, it also reduces the risks of errors.
What’s more, you should also invest in revolutionary technology that can improve other processes in your manufacturing facility. For example, powder coating technology allows you to color your finish products much faster than it would take to apply wet paint. What’s more, it also dries in under half an hour.
Although investing in new technology seems to be a high initial expense, it is worth it if it solves problems such as low productivity levels in times of high demand.
- Talk to suppliers
All businesses experience sudden surges in demand at some point. So, you were probably expecting this to happen to you too. Hopefully, you’ve talked to your suppliers in advance and found out their strategy to accommodate your business when you would need a lot of product quickly.
Now, as orders are suddenly exploding, make sure you remind your suppliers of the promises they’ve made you about supplying your business with a lot of raw materials quickly.
- Take scheduled maintenance seriously
You know what they say, "better be safe than sorry."
Ignoring regular maintenance of your equipment and technology is the surefire way to slow things down at the worst possible time.
Imagine how bad for business it would be for your equipment to break down when you need it to work at full capacity to handle a surge in demand.
Although maintenance may stop production for a short period of time, it is essential to avoid breakage at the worst possible time. Besides taking scheduled maintenance seriously, you should also train all your workers in maintenance and troubleshooting procedures.
- Train your workers
Your workforce is perhaps the most valuable resource you have. The more skilled your employees are, the better and faster they complete their tasks. Thus, employee training and education is a crucial process.
Train your workers in safety measures and new equipment and technology to help them perform at their job at optimal levels and avoid work-related injuries or accidents.
Moreover, investing in training your employees is also an excellent retention tactic. And, keeping your existing employees loyal eliminates the need to hire new employees, which may cause a slowdown in production.
What’s more, you know what they say, "happy employees result in happy customers." So, since in times of surges in demand, your employees may be experiencing more stress and an increased workload, which may decrease their overall productivity. That’s why you need to make sure that you keep them happy about their job by investing in their education and providing more employee benefits.
- Outsource some processes
When your workers have too much on their plate due to the sudden surge in demand, you can also support them by outsourcing some processes.
According to Statista, the global outsourcing market was worth $92.5 million last year. What’s more, manufacturing is actually one of the most commonly outsourced jobs. So, you’ll probably find many specialists out there who can take some of your in-house team’s tasks from their plate.
Cynthia Madison is a young blogger and economics and marketing graduate. She writes about home, lifestyle and family topics and is a senior contributor to popular niche publications.