To keep up with consumer demand, competitors, and your own expectations of growth, you need to be on the lookout for ways to improve efficiency in many areas of your business. When it comes to manufacturing, there are some key decisions you can make right now to save time by automating and coordinating your efforts.
Here are three ways to speed up the production process.
Use an Inventory Tracking System
One of the biggest slowdowns in the production process is the simplest to fix. It’s the amount of time it takes to walk through the warehouse and pick all of the items in a bill of materials. Is everything assigned a spot on the shelves? Are items actually organized on the shelves as they should be? Are the quantities in your inventory records accurate? If you use an inventory tracking system that gets automatically updated when sales are made and when new orders come in, you’ll be able to quickly find things in the warehouse and make sure you have enough in stock to complete a manufacturing job before beginning it. Perform batch picks, cycle counts, and other warehouse jobs with the aid of a barcode scanner to make sure your inventory quantities are up to date.
Automate, Automate, Automate
The more automation you add to your operations, the more time you save. For example, conveyor belts speed up and streamline the movement of baked goods, electronics, and a host of other goods that are in the process of being produced. And that is just scratching the surface of the automation tools available in a manufacturing environment. Robotic palletizers can lift heavy loads off a pallet and put them where you need them. This eliminates backbreaking work, and it can prevent employee injuries and other slowdowns. Driverless forklifts provide a similar service, automating another essential warehouse management process. New technology doesn’t come cheap, so you should definitely run a cost-benefit analysis to make sure it’s a good investment before jumping in. But if you decide that new hardware or software is worth your while, you should start reaping the benefits of implementing it in your operations.
Coordinate Your Efforts
Is your warehouse staff in direct communication with your sales and engineering staff? If not, they should be because everything feeds into everything else in a business. Gone are the days of silos where each department can just act independently and expect things to go well. If the sales team is planning a discount or a campaign focused on a specific product, warehouse workers will need to know about it to make sure they have the right supplies in stock to meet demand. And the engineering staff will need to gear up to manufacture the right number of goods. That’s just one example of the need for constant interdepartmental coordination. You can really optimize your production schedule when you know exactly what you should be manufacturing at any given time.
Author bio – Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl, the #1 manufacturing and warehouse management solution for QuickBooks. Since 2010, he has written hundreds of blog posts, articles, and more on the topics of asset tracking, barcoding, inventory management, and order management. He lives in Orem, Utah with his wife and four children.