When considering the creation of a management report, many managers wonder why they should visit a manufacturing plant in person. While management reports are a great starting point for understanding an operation, they rarely provide a complete picture of the overall health of the operation. Financial information often gives a dated picture of an operation’s health, and it may not reflect recent improvement efforts. This is why onsite visits to a manufacturing plant are crucial.
Overview of A Manufacturing Plant
A manufacturing plant consists of processes, called cells, that are connected directly or indirectly. Workers may move between cells, using different processes to complete a given task. These processes are normally multifunctional. Depending on the system, cells may also be linked to subassemblies or the final assembly line. An overview of a manufacturing plant will show how each of these processes is managed. Here’s a look at the different types of plants:
A manufacturing system is an integrated collection of processes, machines, organizational structures, information flows, and control systems. The objectives of each system are defined and may change over time. The organization must be designed and organized to ensure that all sub-systems work toward the same objective and can adapt to change when necessary. A manufacturing system is composed of several sub-systems that interact with each other and the customer. Here are some examples of sub-systems:
A production/materials control system is responsible for coordinating the flow of materials through the manufacturing plant. The production area physically makes the product. Human resources include sub-functions such as recruitment, training, and labor relations. Wages are also determined by these functions. And, of course, there are environmental and social pressures. If you have a manufacturing system, it’s vital to consider the impact on workers.
Product and process layouts have advantages and disadvantages. In Fig. 1.15, a typical layout is shown. Generally, there are four main types of layouts for manufacturing plants. Which one you choose depends on the product volume and variety, cost, materials handling requirements, and overall flexibility. Besides these, other factors include stock requirements and maintenance requirements. And, of course, the employee supervision can be more specialized or less specialized.
Manufacturing is the process of producing products from raw materials. Typically, these materials are supplied in simple, shapeless forms. These materials are then transformed into finished products using various manufacturing processes. Depending on the type of material and the process being used, these processes can be either mechanical, thermal, electrical, or chemical. The end product is then produced to satisfy functional requirements defined during product design. Listed below are some of the key manufacturing processes.
The process of making products in a manufacturing plant can either be continuous or discrete. Continuous process manufacturing (CPM) involves manufacturing products in larger batches than discrete manufacturing. CPMP is also known as ‘batch production’. It uses liquids, powders, slurries, and gases to produce finished goods. The products created in this process may be identical or very similar to each other. Some manufacturing processes use continuous processes, such as those used in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
The manufacturing process often involves casting metal into a mold. This casting may then be machined to achieve the desired shape. In addition to being cast, the metal may also be surface treated to increase durability. These processes are known as unit manufacturing processes, and each of them transforms raw material into a workpiece that adds value. The following are a few of the major unit manufacturing processes:
Manufacturing is the process of turning raw materials into large quantities of finished products. Different processes are used to make the same products, from simple to complex. The production process in a manufacturing plant can be complex, and it can be automated or manual. All these factors determine the complexity of the manufacturing process and how much effort it requires. When a company uses the same process for multiple products, it can optimize production by customizing the process.
Quality control is vital to the production process of any manufacturing plant. It helps identify defects and improves the products, while also minimizing costs and downtime. In addition, it increases brand loyalty and reduces waste. In addition to these benefits, QC programs also identify possible safety and compliance issues early in the process. Dedicated facilities will provide more eyes on the production process and will help find issues before they cause harm. This in turn will increase the profitability of a manufacturing plant.
A manufacturing plant will have a QC department, which will perform various important tasks, such as testing samples for quality, inspecting random products, and keeping an eye out for reports of defects. The best way to improve the quality of products is to involve all employees in QC. Empowering employees will enable them to make the necessary changes to improve the products. A manufacturing plant’s QC department can be used to improve the quality of every aspect of the production process.
To improve the quality of products, companies should implement Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). In this approach, a manufacturing plant employs processes, machines, and other resources to improve the overall quality of its products. Total productive Maintenance aims to identify problems early, prevent them, and eliminate them efficiently. The philosophy behind Total Productive Maintenance has become a popular tool for improving manufacturing production systems, and it functions as a great QC strategy.
What is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma is an organizational methodology that helps companies achieve the goal of virtually defect-free products. The six sigma methodology was developed by Motorola, which is based on a statistical measurement of 3.4 defects per million opportunities. Its key principles include analyzing and defining defects based on customer requirements. Six Sigma also requires companies to track leading indicators of problems. The concept of Six Sigma has many applications, including in manufacturing.
Quality control can be implemented to a limited degree or completely. In some plants, pre-production samples and in-line and out-line inputs are handled by the buyers themselves. Testing and final inspections are usually conducted by buyers. Samples are essential to quality control because they help set the baseline for future production. The samples may be AKA sample, master sample, or counter sample. The quality of each component is monitored to ensure that they fit together properly and flow well.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Using KPIs to improve productivity can be an invaluable tool for a manufacturing plant. In addition to identifying improvements in productivity, KPIs also improve maintenance practices. By focusing on proactive maintenance, enterprises can lower maintenance costs while increasing facility reliability. Moreover, KPI tracking can help manufacturers achieve their business objectives. For example, a typical KPI is the completion of 80% of unscheduled work orders within five days. If this KPI is not met, an analysis should be conducted. In this case, it may be a sign of a shortage of spare parts, a scheduling conflict, or a large pre-scheduled maintenance project.
Production KPIs can measure the quality of products and help companies set targets. Production on-time delivery is important because customers depend on it. Setting a goal of 100% on-time delivery weekly and rewarding employees who reach it will motivate production employees and improve customer satisfaction. There are many leading indicators for on-time delivery, including the percentage of total products delivered on time, defects, and lateness. This indicator is useful for identifying potential problems in production and can also be helpful in determining the optimal schedule.
How Efficient Production Processes?
The throughput rate is an important metric for manufacturing plants. It represents the rate of units, materials, items, and finished products that pass through a production process. Tracking this metric helps determine how efficient production processes are and determine potential problems with equipment and machinery. By identifying areas that need to be optimized, a company can reduce production costs and increase overall profitability. These are just a few examples of KPIs that a manufacturing plant can use to make it more efficient and profitable.
Another important KPI is defect density. This indicator measures the number of products with defects divided by the total number of products. This helps compare products and determine where to focus on improving quality. By reducing defect levels, a manufacturing plant can improve its overall efficiency and minimize waste. These KPIs can also help in improving production efficiencies and reducing unnecessary expenses. For example, a manufacturing plant can make more money if it improves its defect rate and reduce downtime.