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Pro Tips to Improve Manufacturing Execution

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

man working at a drill press


Reading Time: 3 minutes Manufacturers contributed more than $2 trillion to the US economy in the second quarter of 2020. As an industry, manufacturing accounts for more than 11% of the total economic output for the country. Looking inside those numbers, though, there remain significant challenges—and opportunities—for improvement in manufacturing execution. The biggest opportunities for improving manufacturing execution include optimizing production and production processes and managing inventory levels.

Optimizing Production

  • Minimizing scrap and waste

  • Eliminating rework

  • Reducing inconsistent quality

Optimizing Processes

  • Getting rid of manual entry and paper records

  • Getting rid of information silos

  • Getting rid of inefficient systems

Managing Inventory Levels

  • Having visibility into inventory levels

  • Having inventory traceability

  • Reducing the impact of scrap, waste, and rework

Pro Tips to Improve Manufacturing Execution

Even small improvements in manufacturing execution can improve productivity and lower the costs of production.

Pro Tip #1: Review the Existing Production Workflow

An end-to-end process analysis can surface areas of improvement. Here are four ways to get started:

  1. Track every item throughout the entire production pathway.

  2. Eliminate information silos.

  3. Eliminate paper records.

  4. Automate qualifications of machinery and operators.

By going paperless with your record-keeping and providing accurate, real-time information to everyone involved in the production pathway, you can eliminate the time that it takes to find and verify the information. It also reduces human error and ensures that shop floor operators have updated specifications, work orders, and CAPAs.

Pro Tip #2: Conduct Process Mapping

By identifying bottlenecks and workflow issues, the production pathway becomes more efficient.

Value stream mapping (VSM) is a lean management tool originally designed by Toyota that uses flowcharts to document practices and processes to remove non-essential steps. Using the VSM model, manufacturers can map out each step of the information flow and material flow as parts and products go from work order to finished product. Steps are then classified in one of three ways:

  1. Non-value-added

  2. Necessary but non-value-added

  3. Value-adding

Non-value-added activities are eliminated completely. In manufacturing, many of the non-essential steps that are identified have to do with information gathering and reporting. For example, in a manual process, there are extra steps to search, sort, obtain, and verify information that can be solved easily with the right manufacturing execution software.

Some steps do not necessarily add value but are necessary to the process as it’s currently defined—for example, having to sort through tools to find the right one or manually recording and processing information before moving to the next phase. Look for ways to eliminate these steps or reduce wasted time by reorganizing workflow or arranging workspace or job sequencing differently.

One place to examine closely is the time allowed between steps so orders flow within your production process. Better planning can cut down on open time and reduce the amount of wait time between jobs.

Value-added activities are those that are necessary and create the finished result. Within these areas, each step should also be broken down further into its component parts to assess whether there’s an easier way to do things.

Process mapping will take time. For each step in the process, the goal is to improve workflow and streamline operations for optimization. That involves a careful analysis to make sure you’ve captured each step along the way and put thought into whether there’s a more efficient solution.

Pro Tip # 3: Update Your Technology

The heart of manufacturing execution is data control. Without accurate, real-time data control, you can’t improve manufacturing execution and create consistent quality. It’s time to ditch the manual methods, spreadsheets, and clipboards. The right software can solve many of your production problems quickly. It can also significantly increase your productivity, efficiency, and customer service to provide you with the precision and consistency that you need to up your quality game.

Automation can be implemented using a software solution, such as Bluestreak’s integrated quality management system and manufacturing execution system (QMS + MES), which is built specifically for service-based manufacturers. Rather than spend tens of thousands of dollars overhauling your production floor with upgraded machinery, automation from Bluestreak will immediately improve productivity. It eliminates most human error that leads to non-conforming products or waste, reduces the amount of time needed for quality control, and can reduce the time that it takes to complete audits by as much as half. Bluestreak allows for job-specific quality control and specifications management that takes the guesswork out of producing a consistent quality product that meets the client’s exact specifications.

Driving Manufacturing Execution Improvements

Having the right manufacturing QMS + MES platform powering your floor can drive manufacturing execution improvement. Bluestreak can optimize and upgrade manufacturing execution for consistently higher quality and improved productivity. This leads to happier customers and higher profit margins.

Bluestreak’s MES + QMS solution helps service-based manufacturers drive quality straight down to the production floor to minimize scrap and rework and, therefore, protect their profit margins. If you’re ready to leave manual, time-consuming service-based manufacturing tasks in the past, drastically reduce your scrap and rework percentage, gain visibility of your production floor processes, and build better relationships with your customers, contact us for a free consultation today!

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