Taking the appropriate measures to enhance productivity has a variety of benefits. Yes, taking steps to make sure “every second counts” can do more than just streamline production and reduce overhead costs. It can also deliver products to your customers faster, helping to earn new business and solidify relationships with existing ones.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at ways you can increase efficiency on the shop floor to take your pack and ship operations to the next level:
Ways to Improve Productivity
Before you dive into enacting specific measures around your facility, we strongly recommend carefully assessing your processes to analyze how they’re currently running and how you may be able to make improvements. Don’t dismiss a particular opportunity to become better because you don’t think the progress is significant enough.
Often, it’s not one big change that enhances productivity, but numerous small changes that add up in the end. Saving a second or two at a time may not seem like a big deal, but over a year, you’ll start seeing real improvements.
Here’s a look at some ways to enhance productivity:
Automate Wherever Possible
Automation isn’t just a buzzword — it’s here, and it can help you make the most of your equipment to streamline packaging processes. With automation, you’re not just replacing manual labor with machinery, but you’re likely improving processes by removing the element of human error from them. Look to automate as much as you can, from the beginning to the end-of-line operations.
Select Different Picking Methods
Not too long ago, shop floor workers preferred to walk products around to sort them. Options today often consist of:
- Zone picking. Where picking is carried out in different zones.
- Batch picking. When several orders are picked at once.
- Wave picking. A combination of zone and batch picking.
Conveyors are another way to streamline picking and reducing time-consuming manual sorting.
While we tend to think of automating packaging lines as the keys to enhancing productivity, don’t overlook the gains you can get by storing parts and materials in a smart, organized way. Some storage strategies to consider implementing include:
- Group storage, or storing the materials that make up 80% of your orders in one area for easy, more convenient access.
- Slotting or organizing inventory by SKU number or product type to make items easier to retrieve.
Time spent searching for items or materials is time wasted. That is why it can pay to assess your storage options in addition to other shop floor units.
Finally, errors tend to occur in the picking process when the number of touchpoints is high. That said, try to optimize your shop floor processes so that items are only being touched once. Not only will fewer touches likely reduce errors, but it will also lessen any unnecessary movements. As we mentioned earlier, just saving a few seconds here and there can add up to a lot of time saved in the long run.
Contact A-Lined Handling Systems today to learn more about how our systems can improve your productivity!