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Leverage Shop Floor Optimization to Improve Productivity

Hans Dittmar
Apr 2, 2020

The manufacturing sector, like so many others, is contending with an ongoing labor shortage. Industry experts estimate a staggering 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled over the course of the next decade, with about half of them at risk of remaining vacant.1

It’s a crisis that’s spurring OEMs to re-evaluate productivity and maximize the time and skills of their existing teams. A top priority is shop floor optimization, based primarily on these four factors:

  1. Workflow
  2. Organization
  3. Maintenance
  4. Education

Key Factors in Shop Floor Optimization

Productivity is both a goal and result of team effort. Clearly understanding what contributes to the success of shop floor or warehouse optimization is essential organizationally and culturally. Use these factors to evaluate and improve your environment:

  1. Workflow: Once people, processes, and equipment are in place, complacency can set in. Take a critical look at how well — or poorly — the elements work together. Are there obstacles that were overlooked or worked around that jeopardize productivity? Value-stream mapping is a useful tool in providing insights into your current patterns and identifying improvement potential.
  2. Organization: Are team members literally set up for success? Deliberate workspace organization boosts efficiency by minimizing unnecessary movement, ensuring only essential tools and materials are in the space, and keeping storage neat and easy to navigate.
  3. Maintenance: Downtime is costly. Period. Keeping equipment at peak performance means investing in preventive measures. Since routine maintenance can be scheduled, you can choose times that are least disruptive to productivity. Plus, employees who are familiar with troubleshooting minor issues may be able to find root causes of more extensive errors — a time- and money-saver.
  4. Education: Training is a worthy investment. Employees who are encouraged to learn new skills are likely more proficient at key tasks, engaged with their activities, and willing to collaborate. Productivity is improved, of course, but the positive impact on culture and morale is invaluable.

Technology and Productivity

Every situation is unique when it comes to how to organize warehouse operations, but there’s no doubt that technology is a universally useful tool — especially in light of the labor shortage. This is particularly true when finding solutions for cutting the time it takes to transport tools, materials, and other items between people, work cells, and departments.

MARC (Mobile Autonomous Robotic Cart) is the answer to productivity enhancement. Simplified yet sophisticated technology powers the brains and movement of this rugged industrial cart. MARC “sees” where it’s going, and gets to destinations efficiently — no humans required and no wasted production time! Contact the MuL Technologies team today to discuss our risk-free option that can get MARC working for you right away.MARC mobile autonomous robotic cart

SOURCE
1CNBC, Manufacturing is facing a growing skills gap that is leaving hundreds of thousands of positions open, October 4, 2019

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