Nowadays, you will hear everyone telling you to use data to improve just about all parts of the business. The answer is always in the data, they say. But when you’re dealing with the complicated world of manufacturing your products, it can hard to see where to even start. That’s why we’re not just going to tell you to use data, but we’re going to tell you where to collect that data and the changes it can help you make.
Make productivity measurable
The productivity of your team is one of the easiest things to start measuring. Start implementing key performance indicators and self-assessment methods so that people can better measure just what they get done in a day. When it comes to the human element of a business, improving that productivity is about creating a workplace that better engages and motivates them. Enact changes like allowing for more flexibility in their role, improving communication, and making accountability less of a feared thing. Then look at the KPIs you create with them to see the kind of impact those changes are having on their work.
Make errors accountable
One of the problems with collecting data in a lot of production lines is that things keep moving so fast that it can be difficult to see where errors are happening in the first place. Particularly when it comes to mistakes that start out small but end up having enough of an impact to result in a case of loss. The best way to make sure you’re accounting for errors is to get a lot better at spotting them. Automated tools aren’t just good for making processes more efficient, but they can be just as good for highlighting and informing you of mistakes, too. Precision tools like industrial vision inspection can be significantly more effective at measuring parts, verifying they’re in the right position and recognizing shapes. Which means they’re a lot more able to recognise when any of those properties are out of alignment, too. That’s only one example of a way to get better of spotting where in the process loss plays the greatest role. Which helps you highlight the processes and tools that are causing the most problems.
Make improvement constant
When it comes to those tools, sometimes they’re not just the cause of the problem. They could very well be the problems themselves. In machinery, wear and tear is a constant concern. Which means that your efforts in improving your equipment should be constant, too. This means identifying how far from ‘perfect’ they are currently operation. Finding out your total effective equipment performance helps you find the amount of downtime your equipment is suffering as well as the causes. Once you eliminate planned downtime, then you have your metrics to measure how effectively you’re using your equipment. Until you can get to 0% unplanned downtime, you know you have to keep upgrading both the machines themselves as well as the means by which you maintain them.
It is true that the data-driven approach is the most effective when it comes to creating a business that is more efficient and profitable. Hopefully, the points above have given you an idea on how to make sure you’re able to capture and use that data a lot more reliably. Use the principles of the methods above and you can expand the data-driven approach all throughout the rest of the business, too.