5 Small Changes that Make a Huge Improvement in Manufacturing

Often, it’s the smallest changes that have the biggest impact. This is true in just about every industry. For instance, in the manufacturing industry, small changes can streamline processes, improve efficiency, increase quality, and eliminate waste.

Here are just some of the small changes that can create massive improvement.

1. Using multi-coupling plates

In manufacturing, machines and equipment are usually powered by hydraulics, which means there are highly pressurized lines of liquid providing the power. High-pressure lines are prone to issues like leaks, tears, and degradation over time.

One reason equipment becomes worn is because the lines need to be attached, detached, and reattached. The more often hydraulic hoses are disconnected and reconnected, the more chance there is for a leak to occur. Repeatedly connecting and disconnecting hoses causes wear and tear on both the hose and the connector. If the connector isn’t a good fit, it can be an even bigger problem.

Thankfully, there are high-quality and specialized couplers that are designed to withstand normal wear and tear and be leak-free. This includes multi-coupling plates, which not only prevent leaks but also improve changeover time by as much as six minutes. In manufacturing, saving six minutes can make it possible to meet demanding production deadlines.

2. Using sensors to predict potential issues

Preventing breakdowns before they happen will keep operations smooth, and will support the productivity required to meet deadlines.

There’s no better way to predict imminent breakdowns than by using sensors to catch problems before they happen. This is entirely possible with sensors created to monitor various types of manufacturing equipment.

Just as vehicle sensors indicate when the oil is running low, the car is overheating, or the engine needs to be serviced, sensors can be installed on manufacturing equipment to detect what operators can’t see.

The inner workings of manufacturing equipment can be complex enough that operators can’t see what’s going on with their eyes. They might notice a slight hesitation in the equipment or perhaps a noise, but not always. Sometimes issues remain completely invisible until the equipment breaks down. Sensors can be programmed to pick up on the slightest anomaly that can indicate an issue needs to be addressed.

The data you collect from sensors can be used to measure equipment performance. Used in combination with visibility software, sensors will prove to be one of the most valuable data collection tools you’ll ever use.

3. Upgrading parts as early as possible

When working with large pieces of equipment, there’s no place for using low-quality parts. No matter how inexpensive a part may be, there’s usually a downside to getting such a deal.

High-quality parts cost money for a reason. To maintain optimal performance in manufacturing, companies need to opt for high-quality parts from the beginning. Sometimes one malfunctioning part can cause other parts to malfunction, costing the business even more in damages.

The key to maintaining efficiency is to upgrade old parts before they wear down, and to opt for high-quality parts from the start. There will be a larger investment required, but it will save more money in the long run.

4. Assessing workflows and systems

An efficient workflow with efficient systems will go a long way to support a profitable manufacturing business. The problem is that inefficient systems create inefficient workflows that put a damper on productivity.

When you increase system efficiency, productivity tends to increase automatically. Workers can only compensate so much for a system that doesn’t work as well as it should.

When you assess workflows and systems, you can pinpoint exactly where the hangups are and see what isn’t working. One of the best ways to assess your systems is to talk to employees to find out where they struggle and what they think should be changed to increase production efficiency.

5. Actively search for inefficiencies

Do you know where your inefficiencies are? Even if you’re meeting production goals, it’s possible that your manufacturing process is inefficient. Compared to your competitors, your process should cost about the same and produce a similar output.

If you’re not achieving a similar output at a similar cost, take a look at your process to see where you can improve efficiency. For instance, you might be able to upgrade your equipment to something faster or you might be able to find cheaper components while maintaining your quality standards.

Small changes create a ripple effect

Small changes may not create an impact overnight, but they will have an incremental effect. Each small change you make will be a significant contribution to improving efficiency over time.