Your process line is the heart of your operation, pumping out inventory that helps lead to life-sustaining revenues. If your process line has inefficiencies or, worse, outright problems, then your entire organization suffers.
Fortunately, there are plenty of people out there who have encountered the same problems and developed highly precise tactics for solving them. Using this wisdom, you can identify the main issues in your process line and correct them. To help you get started, consider these four tips for improving your process line operation.
Identify Possible Bottlenecks and Sources of Excess Capacity
The most important question to consider at first is: Are we at our maximum productive potential? You can establish this by looking to competitors and benchmarks sets by equipment manufacturers that indicate potential production capacity.
For instance, if you have a production run of 700 gross shampoo bottles per day but your bottling equipment promises a minimum amount per hour that would equal 800 gross or more bottles, what is slowing your process line down? Is it the way the machinery is being used or some sort of internal process that is causing the machinery to be fed at a slower pace than normal?
By establishing benchmarks at each stage and referencing typical production capacities from similar operations, you can see where the bottlenecks lie in your process and attempt to correct them. Sometimes, a correction is as simple as modifying an employee practice, while other times fixing the bottleneck could require an investment in additional machinery or process changes that ultimately bring about more efficiency.
Staff According to Ability
You should always rearrange staff to fit the best spot where they can facilitate operations according to their ability. Generally speaking, the most complex tasks are handled in the middle of the line, requiring the most skilled or experienced employees during these stages in the process.
Evaluate your employees and consider shuffling staffing if you think someone’s skills could benefit the process line speed at a certain point without compromising safety or quality.
Introduce Multiple Quality Checks Through the Process
The more defective items you discover at the end of production, the more space that defective item has taken up on the line when it could have been removed earlier, allowing more non-defective products to flow through.
If you suspect that production defects are hurting your productivity, then introduce more quality checks within your production system so that these items are moved as quickly as possible. You can even automate this task using efficient automated vision systems that rapidly identify defects and alert machinery to have it removed from the line.
Make no mistake, automation will drive efficiency and overall productivity more than any other single investment. Something as simple as switching to a multiple print head system can reduce the manual labor touch points needed to carry an item through production and unlock exponential efficiencies.
Even more importantly, pairing automated systems together, like print heads and controller units, makes each investment stretch further in terms of ROI. If you are interested in introducing more automation or the latest, most efficient printing and packaging equipment to your process line, you can speak to one of our expert packaging equipment consultants to identify your most pressing needs and the solutions you can use to improve your process line.