How to Manage Your Factory Floor Like a Pro
As a management-level executive at a manufacturing company, are you in touch with what is happening on the factory floor on a regular basis? Or, do you focus on the numbers and the bottom line and let middle-management and floor supervisors worry about the day-to-day activities on the factory floor? If you fall into the latter category, you might want to reconsider your approach.
A well-run and well-maintained factory floor is key to running a profitable company. A finished product is only as good as the parts that go into it – this is true for more than just the actual widgets and pieces that make up the building blocks of your final product. It is also relevant for the processes that take place in and around the factory floor. And here are 4 ways to make sure that your factory floor is managed as efficiently as possible:
- Keep it Organized and Streamlined – it is easier to be productive when a workspace is clean and organized. The same holds true for a factory floor. When the layout is designed in such a way that each machine has its place and any extraneous materials needed for that machine (whether tools to fix maintenance issues or extra inventory) are stored in close proximity, the whole production process can run more smoothly. No more workers running around the whole factory floor trying to find a particular part. A place for everything and everything in its place!
- Focus on Employee Engagement – employees who feel ownership over their work and are fully invested in the success of the company are more productive and put more effort into their jobs. This is important information to keep in mind, particularly when it comes to the people who are responsible for the factory floor. Make sure that these employees are well taken care of in terms of their benefits and skills training. Also, as the eyes and ears on the ground, they are the ones who can best tell you what is working and what isn’t working in your current configuration. Ask them for their feedback and ideas and then take what they say into consideration – you just might see some quick improvements to the way the factory floor is run.
- Update your Maintenance Plan – you should have a clear sense of when each machine on the factory floor was last serviced and when it’s due for it’s next regularly scheduled check-up. Hang a master calendar on the wall in a visible location so everyone who works on the factory floor can see it and know when a machine is getting close to needing service. That way, service calls can be scheduled well in advance and you won’t have situations in which service is overdue and machines begin to break down. There’s nothing worse than an unexpected breakdown that could have been avoided by preventative maintenance.
- Use Technology to your Advantage – you can keep track of everything that is happening on your factory floor without ever setting foot there yourself (not that we recommend that – firsthand knowledge is always important!) by taking advantage of digital tools. Whether it is managing inventory, tracking maintenance schedules, or monitoring your machines’ performance, there is no shortage of technology that can help meet your needs.
A good rule of thumb to remember is just to not get complacent. Always keep an eye on what is happening on your factory floor and use these tips to make sure your entire factory is operating at peak performance.