Efficiency is the measure of useful work performed by a machine or a process divided by the total energy expended in the said process. In simple terms, efficiency measures how much product is delivered for a given amount of energy spent. Efficiency is critical to someone testing manufacturing prowess and output. Production efficiency in manufacturing is a similar term that measures the efficiency of a manufacturing process, the percentage of time the process is useful.
Another name for production efficiency is Overall Equipment Effectiveness, which measures how much time the planned process was productive. A score of 100 means that the process effectively produced the desired output for the full time it was planned for. In other words, there were no losses, which is only possible in ideal conditions. In real-world scenarios with energy losses occurring at each stage of the production cycle, a score of 85 represents a world-class manufacturing unit, while average scores range from 60-65.
There are certain ways to boost manufacturing and achieve production efficiency. These include but are not limited to:
- Lean Manufacturing:
Lean manufacturing has become a popular discourse worldwide due to its resource utilization principles. As the world we are leaning into will be starved of resources, especially fossil fuels and other rare metals, it is important to conserve fuel and such materials. Adopting lean manufacturing principles means eliminating waste by reducing inventory size and optimizing the manufacturing process to use by-products or waste products of one process as an input, reduce inventory, and optimize operations. Moreover, the whole processing cycle can be streamlined using Value Stream Mapping techniques to identify and eliminate inefficiencies.
Investing in the latest manufacturing innovations, such as robotics and improved conveyor systems, can significantly reduce inefficiencies. CNC machines can now produce quality products with the utmost precision, ultimately leading to many energy savings in the production manufacturing cycle. Such mechanizations can reduce the cost of labor by performing repetitive tasks more efficiently. Automation isn’t limited to the manufacturing setup but also includes using advanced AI techniques to optimize the manufacturing cycle.
- Quality Control:
Precise quality control and quality assurance procedures define an excellent manufacturing environment. Quality control reduces defective work and thus leads to less rework, ultimately increasing the manufacturing unit’s efficiency. Using advanced quality control measures such as performing Non Destructive Testing (also known as NDT) can catch issues early on in the process, and thus, manufacturers can correct their production cycles. This leads to an overall reduction in delays and fewer recalled products.
- Employee Training:
Training your employees in your requisite industry’s latest tools and innovations is always essential. Employee training and refresher courses are an excellent way of assuring your employees are up to speed on the latest developments in the industry and can perform their duties amicably. It leads to increased manufacturing cycle efficiency as a well-trained team is more equipped to function efficiently and diligently than the one lacking such training.
- Inventory Management:
Inventory management is an important part of the production cycle, and resources must be maintained optimally to ensure maximum machine productivity. Using advanced tools to monitor inventory and order supplies based on such feedback is necessary to prevent overstocking and understocking. To improve inventory management, excellent supplier relationships must be maintained so that high-quality materials are always in stock or readily available when required.
- Production Planning Using Data Analytics:
Using data analytics and advanced planning and scheduling software to optimize production schedules can minimize downtimes. Such immaculate planning leads to better resource allocation, and monitoring the baseline schedule is an effective way to monitor production efficiency. Using data analytics helps plan maintenance activities without compromising efficiency. Meanwhile, constant feedback from employees and process managers can be incorporated to improve the planning cycle and minimize efficiency loss.
- Supply Chain Optimization:
Supply chain optimization is another way to improve production efficiency in manufacturing. It includes selecting top-quality suppliers that can meet all your deadlines and targets. Having contracts with such suppliers and agreeing upon a delivery schedule can reduce lead times of long-lead items. Other issues, such as improvement in transportation and managing logistics, should also be a top priority when looking to improve product efficiency in manufacturing.
Pursuing improved production efficiency in manufacturing is not just a goal but a necessity in today’s competitive marketplace. Many tools in today’s modern world can be incorporated into manufacturing, such as data analytics and planning software, to enhance efficiency. Lean manufacturing is a philosophy many manufacturers can benefit from by reducing waste and optimizing resource allocation for maximum benefits.