Three Ways to Improve Manufacturing Efficiency

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Whether you are running a large-scale manufacturing business or just starting out, one of the key performance indicators to look out for is going to be manufacturing efficiency.
powering intelligent manufacturing

Productivity relative to how much manufacturers invest in their operations is a crucial business aspect to keep an eye on.

Regardless of the size your manufacturing plant, manufacturers have to remain agile when adopting a method for boosting production efficiency. They also need to pay close attention to current levels of productivity, which can be done by leveraging data to gain highly precise insights.

There are several ways you can improve operational efficiency, and this blog aims to explain some of the most important ones.

Training employees to overcome skills gaps

As the rapidly progressing Industry 4.0 expands, a far greater number of manufacturing processes is influenced by digitization. In order to help organizations advance on their path of digital transformation, IT teams have to remain agile and keep improving at all times.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be around 1.3 million occupational openings for IT professionals by 2026. Right now, the number of computer science graduates being produced in the USA every year is around 60,000 – nowhere near that number.

The skills gap isn’t there simply because we’re not educating enough IT professionals. The fact of the matter is, technology is moving at a blindingly quick pace and there’s simply not enough time to keep up with everything that’s been going on since the arrival of Industry 4.0.

Besides, not only IT workers will have to deal with advanced technology in manufacturing. Processes in production facilities are becoming seamlessly integrated with the software behind them. Educating your employees about every detail that goes into manufacturing will be a crucial way to differentiate your methodology from the competition and ensure stability in the future.

Getting smart

Manufacturers find themselves under extreme pressure these days. Products are becoming obsolete in mere months, the competition keeps finding ways to improve and every mistake can prove costly in highly disruptive markets.

Customers all around the world have also evolved and now possess tools capable of helping them make a buying decision in a matter of seconds. In order to circumnavigate the different challenges posed by the market, organizations need to stay agile, make production runs shorter, innovate quickly and adapt to lightning-quick trends and market shifts. All of this is possible, but only efficient and effective with the help of intelligent manufacturing.

New technologies are truly revolutionizing manufacturing, improving safety and efficiency, and delegating tedious and time-consuming processes to autonomous, smart systems. With the power of advances such as Digital twins, manufacturers will be able to test products, environments and entire structures in a very time- and cost-efficient way.

Hybrid manufacturing models, mixed reality applications, smart manufacturing plants, and real-time insights about production and efficiency will all play an important part in the manufacturing world of 2019.

Manufacturers looking to improve efficiency have a lot of space to get creative and figure out how best to utilizie the versatile features offered by the digital age.

Predictive maintenance

Digitalization is a great way to reduce waste to an absolute minimum – in order to optimize maintenance processes, technologies such as Machine Learning and advanced data analytics can be used to predict maintenance needs before production is disrupted.

A study from 2014 attributed 25% of overall manufacturing operating costs to maintenance-related issues. Furthermore, the study estimates that 30% of maintenance costs are related to unnecessary expenditures caused by bad planning, overtime, overstocking situations, etc…

As Artificial Intelligence continues to thrive in every segment of our lives, manufacturers are starting to harness the amazing potential of digital technology to take their operations to an entirely different level.

You can check out this blog to find examples of predictive maintenance in different industries.

Conclusion

There are no ready-made answers when it comes to improving the efficiency of manufacturing processes, but there are certainly some general truths. Even though every manufacturer is different, important lessons regarding workforce management and technology assets do exist.

At Merit Solutions, our team tailors the right environments for manufacturing companies by answering several key questions. We offer ideas on how to organize and track efficiency, helping your organization manage both workforce- and technology-related challenges. Browse our website and blog page for more suggestions on how to use Microsoft’s Azure Business Platform to gain unique insights and unlock greater outcomes in the future.

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