Achieving optimal production efficiency can do great things for your business. Money can be directed toward growth and expansion efforts instead of being lost to inefficiencies along the way. However, improving your production timeline can prove to be difficult without a clear understanding of the many factors at play.
As is the case with most business processes, product design and development can be positively impacted by a well-structured plan. We have covered below a few key points worth considering to plan out your production procedures. Read on to learn about these and additional production optimization techniques:
Plan and Get Organized
Powering up your production process is next to impossible without a good plan of action. However, your approach to planning is just as important as the plan itself.
Speeding things up usually comes down to simplifying your existing process and eliminating waste wherever possible. Luckily, there are already several well-thought-out principles available for you to use as a guide.
Lean production guidelines focus on cutting unneeded activities out of your production process.
To start, try applying the theory of constraints to your manufacturing procedures.
Theory of Constraints
The lean production theory of constraints (ToC) establishes that bottlenecks in your production process are likely to center on a few critical activities. These can be anything from an important manual procedure to a precision machine.
By first figuring out what your primary production bottlenecks are, you can then proceed to improve them, generating significant improvements in profitability and efficiency. To better the performance of your production process’s primary bottleneck, all other production processes should be subordinated to the improvement plan you decide on.
In practice, this could mean implementing a change such as hiring a specialist to monitor a specific machine as it operates and ensuring all necessary controls are made available to them to facilitate such a process, subordinating other standard production procedures for such a purpose.
Another tenet of lean production practices that was famously put to use by Toyota is the association of inventory with waste.
By eliminating as much unnecessary inventory as possible from your production space and processes, you can effectively cut costs without hurting product quality or productive throughput.
Lean Inventory Management Principles
Five principles apply in the lean method to make this possible:
- The “Value” your business derives from inventory optimization.
- The “Flow” of inventory in your work area and warehouse.
- The “Pull” process of retrieving inventory in response to customer demand.
- The “Responsiveness” aspect of inventory management allows you to adapt to external forces and circumstances.
- The “Perfection” you aim to achieve—how you would define perfection for your production process and the results such perfection would bring for both your business as well as your customers.
With the above in mind, you can run your inventory management process far more efficiently, prioritizing costs, time, and customer value as you adapt your approach. The most important takeaway here is that the inventory management process must be monitored and optimized continuously to keep it running smoothly when managed using lean principles.
Outsourcing these concerns to a company that specializes in providing product development services can save you a lot of time and resources in this area as well.
Make Maintenance More Effective
Controlling your maintenance techniques and scheduling can help you to avoid costly malfunctions and wasted product.
Pulling from lean principles, you can build consistency and predictability into your maintenance process.
Try Total Productive Maintenance Techniques
Lean production principles take advantage of a highly efficient process called total productive maintenance (TPM) to deliver consistent production results.
TPM allows companies to keep production going with fewer mishaps, malfunctions, and defects occurring. This makes it possible for resources that would otherwise be exhausted on maintenance sprawl to be refocused elsewhere. To reap similar benefits in your production process, try applying the so-called “5S” foundation of the TPM process.
The 5S foundation¹ is made up of the following key maintenance activities:
- Sorting out unneeded items in the work area.
- Setting all remaining items in order.
- Shining, cleaning, and inspecting the entire work area.
- Standardizing the first three activities.
- Sustaining the established standards by applying them regularly.
Try Rapid Prototypes Manufacturing
Rapid prototype manufacturing represents a powerful means by which companies can quickly generate workable prototypes at a fraction of the expense and production time as would traditionally be required to do so.
By leveraging rapid prototyping techniques, you can keep costs to a minimum on the first iterations of your product, while ensuring each created iteration is as accurate to your proposed designs as possible. This type of prototyping approach is powerful and can be accomplished by a variety of means, including the following:
Additive manufacturing techniques gradually build parts by layering material precisely until it mirrors the dimensions specified in a digital design.
A 3D printer does this by melting material in place, allowing a large variety of complex shapes to be created in relatively little time.
This manufacturing approach lends itself very well to designs that are especially complex and nearly impossible to accurately create in any other way.
Manufacturing processes that create a part from existing material by removing excess material fall under the subtractive manufacturing umbrella.
CNC production machining is a manufacturing process that works subtractively, allowing a computer to control a lathe or milling machine’s movements to create precise cuts in a given starting material. Ultimately, CNC machining produces a highly accurate part that matches digital designs. This part can be accurately replicated as many times as needed to create low volume runs before committing to large-scale production processes.
As is the case with all manufacturing methods, CNC machining has a few important limitations worth considering. First, certain cuts may be impossible to achieve with certain machines. Possibilities depend on the router bits used to complete the machining process, and small bits are prone to breaking at inopportune moments.
Because most CNC machines use router bits to cut precise shapes in a given material, they are not the best option for cutting especially sharp corners. CNC machining works perfectly when rounded corners are acceptable. For precise, sharp edges created through this subtractive machining method, a laser cutter can be used on suitable materials.
How Laszeray Technology, LLC Can Help
Here at Laszeray Technology, we are adept at streamlining the production process from start to finish.
When you choose to design and manufacture your first run of parts with Laszeray, you benefit from our many years of experience in the field and our vast assortment of sophisticated tools that make machining the most complex designs possible. No matter what phase of development you are in, we can be of assistance.
For those looking to optimize their latest product design for injection molding, our team can do this and much more. We can proof your product design by delivering rapid prototyping services as needed and then produce the perfect tooling for your molds once the design has been perfected.
With your molds made, we can then produce your parts and even finish them to your specifications in-house, cutting down on time, spending, and overall complexity in your production process so you can focus on getting to market instead of simply getting up and running.
Reach out to our team to learn more about our services today.