Sustainability; Six expert tips to improve manufacturing productivity
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6 Tips To Improve Manufacturing Productivity

  • General News
  • 2nd June 2021

In the manufacturing industry, creating a sustainable business requires high levels of productivity. This ensures you are achieving your required output levels at all times, as after you’re your bottom line needs high productivity to stay healthy.

When considering the money aspect of manufacturing, this would relate to the cost of production, the cost of running and maintaining the machines, the profitability of the products manufactured, and the number produced. To put all these together, the goal of every manufacturing plant is to achieve the highest productivity by being efficient without sacrificing quality.

Achieving optimum manufacturing productivity means that you’re able to make the maximum number of products in a period of time so you can make more money. Succeeding has a lot to do with successfully smoothening out any obstacles that might come along–from the very first step of the manufacturing process right through to when the products reach the shelves of the retailers or your customers.

Most businesses want to ensure they are running a sustainable operation and earning a good income. But how can this be achieved? Here are some expert ways to improve productivity:

  1. Review Your Current Workflow

There’s no better way to improve your manufacturing process than by looking at your current workflow to find ways to improve it. Keep in mind; there’s no uniform solution to this. Every manufacturing plant will have its own workflow strengths and weaknesses, so it’s up to you to study yours, in detail, so you can find ways to improve it.

It is vital you start with this step before creating full-blown strategies that could be aimed at fixing or changing processes that actually work really well. If you don’t identify the current problems in your workflow, you might overlook the issues and then spend your time on strategies that aren’t even effective or that don’t apply to your manufacturing workflow, meaning you will have invested in change that delivers no tangible results.

For the most critical information, there are three areas which you have to focus on:

  • Equipment and technology. Check if your equipment is still in good, working condition. Is there anything that needs to be repaired? Or are there any obsolete pieces of equipment you have to let go of, in place of newer, more efficient ones?
  • Do you have employees with the right skills positioned in the roles where they can do the best job? Or is there a mismatch with employee skills and position? Are the objectives that your employees have to achieve safe, clearly defined, and realistic?
  • Is the process in the manufacturing plant clear to everyone in the team? Or are there newly onboarded employees that aren’t up to date with the processes that have long been established as a system in your manufacturing team?

These are only suggestions as this isn’t an exhaustive list. It’s meant to show you that before implementing any changes, it’s important to first assess which areas need changing. It’ll also help you determine if there’s a change that has to be done in the first place.

  1. Upskill Your Employees

Upskilling your employees might seem like a big expense, but it’s actually necessary to keep your manufacturing plant productive. The equation is as simple as this: the more skilled your employees are, the more productive the plant is. This is because a skilled worker commits fewer mistakes and good quality is also ensured.

Plus, when you upskill and retrain your employees, you’re also increasing the likelihood that they’re going to stay as a part of your team. This is an advantage for your manufacturing department since it means that those working in this line already know what they’re doing. There’s no need to consistently train and acquire new members as part of the onboarding process.

That said, here are some effective ways to effectively upskill your employees:

Pair your employees with a mentor or a team leader so they know who to go to whenever they’ve got questions relating to their job. This mentor will also be the one tasked to check each employee on their team to ensure that they’re still productive and they’re following the standards being set. If there are new updates that the manufacturing team can learn from, it’s this mentor who’ll teach each smaller group. This usually makes for better learning and implementation of any changes as employees are more comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification.

Create an overall organisational plan so you can identify certain problem areas to work on, such as the following:

  • The methods you’ll use for training your employees;
  • The skills that your current workforce have and don’t have;
  • The plan for any employees that still don’t meet with the standards even after upskilling.

Use real-life simulations. Often using real-life simulations to upskills your manufacturing team will result in better outcomes. Don’t just focus on training, seminars, and discussions. You’ll have to be more thorough with your upskilling such that when they go back to the manufacturing plant, they’re better equipped to handle different situations since these were covered in their real-life simulations.

If you still aren’t convinced that upskilling your workforce will bring in great results, here are some more benefits to consider;

  • While it’ may seem like an added expense, training is actually cost-effective in the long run. When you consistently upskill your current manufacturing workforce, you may be able to reduce expenses related to hiring, onboarding, and even advertising.
  • It increases the value that your team places on themselves as it certainly helps their morale when they feel that they know more now and they can do more, motivating them to contribute successfully to the team.
  1. Update Your Manufacturing Technology And Processes

When technology and its respective processes are consistently improving, there’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t update to the latest manufacturing technology and processes from this website or other providers. Doing so allows you to keep up with the competition.

Focus on reviewing the processes and manufacturing technology that has been in place in your plant for quite some time now. These may be riddled with defects or problems, which can be solved through upgrades.

This can help you;

  • To improve speed and efficiency, any manual processes in your manufacturing department can be automated;
  • When you improve your equipment, you’re making your team more competitive and productive. Also, product quality or output may also be enhanced;
  • Switch things up to more eco-friendly processes in your supply chain for better corporate social responsibility and possibly lesser utility and upkeep expense;
  • Many technological solutions can create changes, like a better recording of the inventory, scheduling, and workflow monitoring.

Take a look at this video on a self-dumping hopper for insight into what that and other advanced technological equipment can do to reduce time delays in your manufacturing plant:

  1. Set Clear Expectations

When you do an audit of your manufacturing productivity, ensure the expectations you’ve set for your team are attainable. You have to go through this step because unrealistic goals may be one of the reasons why you’re manufacturing department’s productivity is slowed down.

Include your workforce in this process. Ask them for their opinion and ideas regarding the quotas you’ve set. You can do this through anonymous forms or surveys. You may even go as far as asking about whether or not your team is still satisfied working for you or if there’s anything you can do to help them increase productivity. When it comes to the manufacturing process, it’s not all just dependant on the machines. The people operating them are vitally important to.

When you create goals and expectations together as a team, you’re able to change the mentality of everyone, creating a company culture of success.

  1. Invest In Good Maintenance

If you haven’t already, then it’s also worth looking into investing in a good maintenance system. This is something that has to be done regularly even if your machines all look good from the outside.

Having a preventive maintenance system in place enables your company to solve problems even before they arise. That way, there won’t be any system shutdowns or interruptions in the manufacturing process because of some malfunctioning equipment.
You know how expensive your pieces of equipment are, especially in modern business when their capabilities are getting more advanced. Essentially, these pieces of equipment are company assets that you have to take good care of. When you do so, not only are you avoiding any interruptions in the business process, but you’re also extending the life and productivity of these machines.

  1. Organise The Workspace

Lastly, improving the manufacturing process can sometimes be as simple as organising your workplace. Like in the office or any room, when there’s less clutter in a space, it makes for a better and smoother flow from one end to another. In effect, this can save time, avoid accidents due to misplaced items, and prevent confusion as people working in your manufacturing plant don’t know where to find things.

Here are some tips you can utilise to organise your manufacturing plant or station:

  • Create a layout or flow, which includes the tools and equipment in each step;
  • Post a layout of the floor plan for maximum efficiency;
  • To minimise time spent moving around, reduce movement from one step to the next.


Whether you’re a small business or one that has been around for quite some time now, there are always many ways to continually improve your manufacturing productivity. Changes need to take place every so often to make way for more technological advancement. It’s up to you to ensure that you keep up with these changes to maintain sustainable operations.

You don’t have to do all these tips at once, instead consider trying one tip at a time. Eventually, you’ll start to see the results when your manufacturing productivity greatly improves.

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