Regardless of the type of product or size of the manufacturing floor, manufacturing businesses need to make enhancing productivity a precedence to establish growth and remain competitive to their given industry. Driving productivity in the manufacturing world includes efficiency with processes, equipment, and hiring quality employees. Asserting improvements in these areas sets a standard to follow cGMP and standard OSHA practices. With any company, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) should be updated to match current industry standards, employee training and a universal understanding of machinery, it’s parts and components.
As companies have their standard process to maintain quality and productivity on the manufacturing lines, it’s important to measure your existing processes and evaluate a baseline to implement improvements and change. Let’s look at 5 ways a manufacturing business can improve efficiency and quality on the manufacturing floor.
- Identify Pain Points
Identifying pain points in a manufacturing facility involves looking at productivity and current processes in place and analyzing areas that need improvement. It’s essential to evaluate the flow of responsibilities per department and understand what the company does. For employees, they traditionally learn process and work flow from seasoned co-workers. Its important to identify the processes of the organization, train new and current employees, and set goals to define what is expected to operate to a high standard. Process mapping can be very beneficial for implementing improvement in processes to ensure quality and efficiency with production and manufacturing of products.
- Have Attainable Goals and Expectations
Industry pressure to provide a quality product, keep consistent production, exceed client expectations, and defining firm targets for deadlines can deter from realistic goals being met. As workload for employees increases and expectations become more demanding, it can set employees at a disadvantage for company morale and the quality of labor can be at risk. With these factors, it can set manufacturing production back. It’s essential to establish clearly defined goals, objectives, and high quality of productivity.
- Invest in Maintenance/Shutdown Periods
With any manufacturing plant, a review of current processes and facility maintenance is vital to be at a high standard of quality and efficiency for products being produced. An evaluation of necessary maintenance, warranty timeframes, and equipment repairs should be noted. Planned shutdowns for a manufacturing plant can allow scheduled maintenance needed and allow manufacturing leadership to review quality of product, safety of equipment & work environment, and document any inspections that need to take place internally. The scheduled shutdowns can allow a company to avoid future safety issues, costly equipment issues or unplanned shutdowns that puts the company at risk.
- Invest in a Strong Training Program for Employees
Working in a manufacturing facility, workers are exposed to all different environments. It’s vital to offer a strong training program that educates employees on safety, processes, and sustaining quality of the products being produced. SOPs should be followed and implemented internally, so it is known as a universal language with employees through training. SOP’s are essential to sustain compliance, meet regulation and quality standards. As an example, in compound drug manufacturing as defined in USP <797, any pharmacy that engages in the practice of compounding is required to have SOPs in place to state how different areas of practice are handled. FDA looks at training programs of employees, quality standards and SOPs during inspection to make sure each SOP is clearly defined and being followed by FDA guidelines. If not, a form 483 may be the result. It’s essential to set up employees and the company for success and to maintain a continuing education program that will keep employees informed and at top performance.
- Encourage Team Work
With all different departments working contingently in manufacturing, it’s vital to implement a strong communication with employees and departments so workflow is steady, and all parties are working as a team. Team building exercises, company socials, and acknowledgement of good work performance are all factors that will lead to employees working hand in hand. If company morale is up, employees want to do a good job and see their other co-workers thrive. It can only bring success to a company and have clearly defined goals and objectives met and boost productivity.