If you are a leader in manufacturing right now, you are drinking from the firehose. Between the unexpected events of employees exposure or diagnosis with COVID, you are also managing material shortages and order changes at an unprecedented level. Your life right now feels especially chaotic, and there is no real antidote for that chaos.
When most manufacturers are trying to impact productivity, they are focused on improving the number of units produced per labor hour. If a manufacturer can get more units out for the same or less labor put into the units, they will have improved their labor productivity.
One of the biggest differentiators between manufacturing organizations is how they learn and improve. Continuous improvement is a popular buzzword in the industry, but few organizations have tapped the top tiers of continuous improvement. After seeing manufacturers at all the different stages of the continuous improvement journey, I have 3 steps to help your team get grounded in the foundations of continuous improvement.
We are starting to hear the communities think about "opening back up" after the first wave of extreme social distancing comes to a close. Employers have furloughed and laid off staff, and they are already thinking through who would be best to bring back on full time, part time, and who is a permanent departure from the team.
I've been reading several industry reports in the last week, and all of them suggest that developing a "Digital Transformation Strategy" is the most important thing for manufacturers to be doing to stay competitive. I agree that leveraging technology better than your competitors is going to keep you ahead in the coming years, but what will it cost you?
When you are looking to improve your manufacturing results, the first thing you do is look at your losses. If you've got a perfectly prioritized list of loss reasons, and you can make spending and improvement decisions in a snap, you're awesome! Most of us have a list of reasons that someone put together many years ago, and operators might (or might not) be recording downtimes in those reason categories. Your loss reason categories and lists can and should be critical to your decision making on where to spend time, money, and resources. If you aren't getting the most out of your downtime pareto charts, then keep reading. With a little bit of investment, you can make faster decisions with more actionable loss data by choosing better loss reasons and enrolling your team in the process.