Five ways to improve your manufacturing efficiency

Manufacturing efficiency means producing the right quantity of products with consistent quality, all while preventing equipment breakdowns, scrap and downtime as much as possible. With these goals in mind, manufacturers are increasingly turning to Digital Manufacturing Operating Systems (DMOS) to optimize their efficiency and produce goods with greater speed and precision. These workflow-based platforms provide manufacturers with all the information they need to effectively manage deviations, job-related tasks, continuous improvement processes and knowledge-sharing activities, leading to an overall more efficient operation.

Here are some of the ways DMOS platforms like 4Industry can help you unlock greater manufacturing efficiency:

1. Register and track your deviations

To be efficient, it’s critical to track past and present deviations, enabling you to resolve issues as quickly as possible. For example, 4Industry lets workers register, analyze and solve deviations like an equipment breakdown much more quickly compared to manual, paper-based processes. The software proposes countermeasures based on historical data and includes easy-to-use checklists, chat functions and other features that are accessible everywhere. These tools not only resolve breakdowns and other production issues quickly, but they also decrease the time it takes to resolve a deviation if it appears again.

Increase your manufacturing efficiency with digital Deviation Tracking
Manufacturing efficiency – Register and track deviations

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2. Standardize your activity tools to reduce downtime

An example of a digital task management tool
Manufacturing efficiency – Standardize activity tools

A proper digital task management tool allows supervisors to assign jobs to individuals, supply on-demand knowledge and create standardized, step-by-step work instructions. From the worker’s standpoint, jobs should be displayed on the mobile interface and include various interactive inputs, avoiding the wasted time and inconvenience associated with finding, printing and carrying work instructions around the factory. The application even tracks how long each step took to complete, enabling manufacturers to hone in on workflow efficiencies and minimize stalled or stopped processes.

3. Fast-track your continuous improvement

DMOS platforms let stakeholders throughout the organization register new ideas with ease—anytime, anywhere. The alternative is to implement less efficient continuous improvement solutions that depend on fixed times or places: a shop floor suggestion box, the occasional kaizen meeting or a manager’s flooded email inbox, for example. 4Industry removes the friction that comes with registering and tracking new ideas, enabling manufacturers to fast-track and prioritize their continuous improvement activities.

Manage continuous improvement efforts from mobile
Manufacturing efficiency – Fast-track continuous improvement

4. Systematize your root cause analysis (RCA) workflow

Without a digital operating system in place, it’s not always clear when a registered deviation requires an RCA workflow, which is a systematic approach for finding the root cause of an issue or event. To optimize manufacturing efficiency and minimize recurring breakdowns, a proper DMOS platform provides a graphical interface to support RCA identification, investigation and reporting. For example, 4Industry provides users with easy-to-follow steps for inputting information related to equipment, location and failure mode. Based on the analysis, users can also easily request maintenance. By answering the system’s RCA questions systematically and step by step, manufacturers can more easily discover and eradicate a deviation’s root cause, ensuring it doesn’t occur again.

Example of a good Root Cause Analysis workflow, helping you increase your manufacturing efficiency
Manufacturing efficiency – Systematize your RCA workflow

5. Access and use knowledge on the go

Overview of manuals accessible from a smartphone
Manufacturing efficiency – Access and use knowledge on the go

Perhaps the best part about digital workflow platforms is that anyone can access the suite of tools from a smartphone or tablet. Contrast this with paper-based, manual processes, which require operators to waste a lot of time searching and scrolling through endless PDFs, lists and other documents. Rather, these platforms reduce the time and effort it takes to access and use this knowledge. They bring together all standard operating procedures, safety measures, manuals, one-point lessons and more into one expansive knowledge base that is intuitive, interactive, searchable and shareable—even if you don’t have an internet connection.