Every day, small and medium-sized manufacturers search for ways to streamline their processes. From constant headaches in the shipping department, to bottlenecks in the production line, plant managers never seem to find a constant that will trim costs and save time. Here are some tips that will help managers streamline their manufacturing and shipping departments from top to bottom.
Automate Material Handling and Documentation
If you are continuously trying to track down documents to figure out where parts came from or have piles of paperwork for various jobs you have completed, then you need to automate your documentation. Find ways to smooth this entire process by investigating software that fits your niche, including vendors. Luckily there are tons of programs to choose from and most can be done on a tablet as you go. When you automate your material handling and documentation, you can spend more time on matters that affect production.
Eliminate Non-Value Added Activities
Investigate why your manufacturing and shipping processes include activities that add no value to your production numbers. Most non-value added activities include movement throughout your plant by employees and equipment. Your plant’s layout may leave you no choice but to perform non-value-added activities to complete a job. In other instances, activities that offer no value to production may have resulted from earlier actions performed by different shifts. If it is something other than your plant’s layout causing the activities, investigate why they occur and eliminate them.
Consider a Shorter Production Cycle
One way to streamline your manufacturing process is to compare shortening your production cycle versus the additional cost. If you study the details of your process and pinpoint where you can eliminate time from your production cycle, you may find extra time built into your cycle you can compartmentalize and put back into other areas of production. Investigate the cost benefit of removing three or four days from your production cycle and see if you can find that additional time built into your process.
An additional tip is to avoid gaps in your receiving department. You can eliminate gaps by establishing an advance receiving notification system with your vendors. The good news here is you can link them into your warehouse management software. Make sure you take time in finding the right business internet options so you have a solid backup for all your programs and data you store.
The tips listed above will help you streamline your warehouse’s production lines and shipping/receiving departments and help you find additional time you can put back into other areas of your organization. A streamlined process includes an efficient labeling process, detailed order tracking, and a sound inventory counting system.