Streamlining your manufacturing plant can offer you many benefits including improving your bottom line and increasing customer satisfaction. To get the maximum benefit from your various lines, it is important to first see where improvement is needed and research your options for each improvement. You can then formulate and communicate a plan to your teams and embrace technology where possible to create a dynamic system that meets your needs.
Semi-Automatic Vs Automatic
Sometimes a fully automatic system is the best for your needs and others you will want to have it only partially automated. For example, an automatic drum filling machine can speed up production and reduce the labor costs of your line, but using a person driven forklift to transport full drums can be more cost effective than buying and maintaining automated robot arms for that purpose. You can research the various equipment types you need for the plant and see which ones are semi or fully automated, you can also find testimonials and reviews from peers to determine which ones work better.
Communicating the Plan
You do not have to completely overhaul your manufacturing plant at once to see the benefits of streamlining processes, but you do need to have a complete plan in place before you start. You can plan to replace equipment with automated units over time, to start training employees in the technology you are transitioning to and even design a new floor plan before spending any money on units. It is important to effectively communicate this plan, however, to avoid costly mistakes and to keep your teams working together. Bringing in automated machinery without warning, for instance, can create job insecurity in your employees and decrease productivity or have a large turnover.
Bringing new technology into the workplace can create a lag between purchasing the tech and your employees being able to effectively use it. The more lead time you can give them and the more training you provide, the easier it will be to make the switch. If you take the time to do on-the-job training in new hardware and software, such as how to monitor and maintain new systems, you can see fewer turnovers and less recruitment costs. Training and promoting from within will also increase engagement and morale for a more productive workforce.
Streamlining your manufacturing plant and its processes can increase productivity, raise your bottom line and improve customer satisfaction. Involving your employees in the training and communication of your plans can further improve those things, especially when choosing to train existing employees in the new semi or fully automated systems instead of replacing them and recruiting skilled, expensive, talent.