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5 Ways to Streamline Operations at Your Manufacturing Plant

Identify inefficiencies and promote productivity.

September 8, 2020

Wondering how to save time and money while increasing overall productivity and profitability? While this is a goal in various industries, in manufacturing, it's essential. 

The trouble is, streamlining long-established operations can be a headache. The process is often intimidating, especially with round-the-clock production. Thankfully, there are lean best practices that manufacturers can implement to streamline work processes, shorten maintenance downtime, and more efficiently track inventory. 

The principle idea behind lean production is to identify and eliminate inefficiencies regularly. Wasted time, money, equipment, and labor are some of the major culprits. Here are five ways to streamline operations at your manufacturing plant:

1. Reduce Wasted Space 

Are your backroom shelves full of broken, unwanted, or unusable electronic devices? Space is valuable in your facility, but it's easy to leave disposal or repair on the back burner with more pressing tasks at hand. End-of-life, data-bearing electronics pose an even more complex issue: Safe, secure, and environmentally-friendly disposal. (Please don't tell us you're still drilling holes in your old hard drives.) 

To tackle this arduous task, start by identifying devices in your facility that you no longer want. Then, choose an information technology asset disposition (ITAD) partner. They'll take everything off your hands and determine what can be disposed of, recycled, or resold on your behalf. If you don't have the bandwidth, some technology partners may even help you weed out the dud devices.

BLM Technologies offers full-service device management, from consultation to end of life. We can assist you in disposing of unwanted devices easily, safely, and environmentally friendly. Contact us to learn more! 

2. Repair Broken Equipment

Does equipment failure slow down your operations? It often seems that the more essential the equipment, the more likely it is to fall out of commission at an inopportune time. 

Equipment malfunction can sideline your business until the equipment can be repaired. The solution? Evaluate which equipment is "mission-critical" to daily operations and invest in duplicates to ensure minimal downtime. That way, if one piece of technology fails, another can take its place while the first is sent in for repair. Many manufacturing companies opt to do this for their label printers or handheld barcode scanners. High-quality technology partners often have options for repair turnaround ranging from one to ten days.

3. Look After Employee Health

While it's important to take care of your equipment, it's even more important to look after employees' health and well-being. Manufacturing companies have been devastated due to the coronavirus pandemic. One sick employee can shut down an entire operation. This is why manufacturing organizations need to take employees' health seriously and have processes to protect everyone at your facility. Supplying employees with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a great way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Consider finding a PPE fulfillment specialist to ensure the right equipment is available on a regular basis without having to manage shipments. 

Another way you can protect employees is by identifying virus symptoms before they have a chance to spread. The use of a temperature kiosk can streamline operations and promote safety by non-invasively scanning visitors and staff for elevated body temperature (a key symptom of illness). 

4. Simplify Your Offerings 

As they say, less is more. If you try to make everything for everyone, you'll miss out on niche quality and credibility. There are also considerable side effects of numerous business lines: Excess inventory, expensive custom work, extra steps, and more complex sales processes. Scaling back will help you apply more focus to what you make best and fine-tune your best processes.

5. Begin with a Pilot Program

One of the best places to start when streamlining operations is to target your underperforming product lines. Underperforming products are excellent test subjects to investigate since they can suffer from a lack of quality, fulfillment pains, production problems, product awareness, etc. By identifying such product lines, companies can learn critical insights that may illustrate broader process changes. Once you gather insights from pilot data, the information can be tactfully deployed to create a plan of action. IT Support and Project Management companies can help bring additional perspective in further streamlining processes.

Eliminating waste is critical for manufacturing companies to lower costs, develop trust, protect employees, and grow their business. These key waste reduction improvements will streamline processes and create the efficiency that comes from lean manufacturing. For additional resources and help streamlining manufacturing, contact BLM Technologies for technology management, support, and fulfillment services.

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