How to improve industrial productivity: 5 methods

Are you interested in how to improve industrial productivity? There are different more and less successful methods and techniques to achieve this. At Mesbook we are experts in production management systems in industrial companies and we want to help you.

The first thing you need to carry out is a good analysis and a correct measurement. If you don't measure you don't control, and if you don't control you don't know all your room for improvement, nor will you be able to know the effectiveness of new improvement actions for an industrial company.

What exactly is industrial productivity improvement?

But before knowing the methods and techniques of productivity, you must be clear about what it means to improve industrial productivity and redefine some ideas of improvement in production. In addition, of course, to know what the productivity of your factory is and to know how to calculate it using the OEE metric

The improvement of industrial productivity consists of increasing revenues, profits, competitiveness, market position, production levels, etc., based on a detailed and efficient work study and analysis of the company's production process. This takes into account method engineering and time studies, among other solutions.

And because improving the productivity of a factory or company is not easy, these method engineering and time studies are broken down and subdivided into techniques that are easy to apply and measure. 

Are you ready to learn about them? Let's get to it, but first you might be interested in this article on how to reduce costs in an industrial company.

Techniques to improve industrial productivity:

Work study plays a fundamental role in the productivity of any company and consists of a systematic evaluation of all activities. Work study is divided into method engineering and time studies, as you have read before.

  • Methods engineering is the recording and analysis of the different ways of carrying out activities. Its aim is to find improvements in order to design a new way of performing the same activities, but in a faster and simpler way, improving quality control.
  • Time studies are a set of techniques used to find out how much time a standard worker spends on a given pre-defined task. The aim, of course, is to improve the figure without affecting quality.

Based on these two concepts, there are 8 essential steps that allow us to know how to improve industrial productivity in each particular case. Because the answer to the question is not exact, since each business, sector, industry, company... is subject to a myriad of variables. However, cost savings in the automotive or other sectors are easier to achieve by applying the right systems. 

These 8 stages are: select, record, examine, establish, evaluate, define, implement and control. And all processes and activities in the industry must pass through them.

Productivity methods to be applied

And from them emerge the productivity methods that are found in any company's improvement proposal:

  1. Automated production lines: If you want to know how to improve industrial productivity, do not doubt that there are still tasks and activities to automate. To do so, you need to know how each of them works and you will undoubtedly find spaces that can be automated and thus improve productivity by eliminating human error.
  2. Optimal machinery: For any task in the industrial sector, the right machinery is needed. At first it may be a high income, but in a short time it pays off, because it improves production times, quality, reduces errors and allows the incorporation of changes or new production lines.
  3. Systematic monitoring: Another method of improving a company's productivity is monitoring. This method is in the stages of recording and examining, but companies abandon it after collecting a series of data. The right method is to make it systematic and continuous.
  4. Detect key points: it is essential to have a method for detecting the points of maximum productivity and those of lower performance or more failures. This is the only way to know the strengths and weaknesses and to increase and eliminate them, respectively.
  5. Tasks without human intervention: Just as there are a larger number of tasks that can be automated, there are also a large number of tasks where human intervention is not helping. Buying machinery to replace it may seem risky or may even represent a major investment. But with a view to the medium and long term, it will be a benefit.
In this regard, you may be interested to read about the most common types of industrial automation

Most frequent errors

You already know how to improve the productivity of a company with 5 different methods, but applying them does not mean that your company cannot fall into some of the most frequent mistakes. To avoid them, the 8 stages must always be present in the different methods or techniques.

Some of the most common mistakes when applying productivity improvement techniques are: incorrect or incomplete measurements, state-of-the-art machinery that is not designed for the task at hand, automation in tasks that need supervision or more complex analysis processes, and others such as the absence of qualified personnel or lack of feedback between processes.

Success stories in factory performance improvement

There are many illustrative examples and success stories that provide insight into the progress and change brought about by the implementation of productivity improvement techniques.

One such case is Lamborghini. The well-known luxury sports car brand needed to have more precise time control and to better manage both production and maintenance. And when it applied some of the methods and put each one through the 8 steps, it improved in all 4 functional areas: production, material, quality and maintenance.

On the other hand, Toyota knows how to improve industrial productivity, as it has been and continues to be a success story in all aspects. Toyota created the Kanban method (order Kanban and production Kanban) and pull flows, which are basic techniques for increasing productivity.

  • Order Kanban helps in the communication between processes.
  • The production Kanban serves to reorganise production, manufacture new items and replace.

Toyota's Kanban method has many advantages, for example, it reduces paperwork to a minimum, makes employees more responsible, ensures the necessary stock, allows better control of production, and so on. Undoubtedly, implementing an effective business traceability system is one of the keys.

At Mesbook we aim to achieve an efficient and real-time factory management system for all our customers. Contact us without obligation and discover all the solutions we can bring to your business.

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