At the turn of the twentieth century, businesses created the assembly line. The assembly line is a brilliant innovation, and most mass manufacturers have some form of one. The assembly line has become a mainstay in manufacturing for over 100 years. Process aspects can be continually improved and optimised to reduce inefficiencies and waste. You can measure productivity by the units of work produced per unit of time using raw materials, which can be raised or lowered depending on how streamlined the assembly line is. Low productivity is terrible for the manufacturing process. Ultimately, a company’s profitability is a result of its productivity. So how can productivity be improved in an assembly line?

Defining goals and objectives

In streamlining processes, a business must first consider attainable goals. Changing systems without definable objectives will create messy results, hurting the assembly line and production costs more than improving things. In a production environment, this may start with wanting to reduce the number of workstations or increase the production rate of a product.

Why are goals and objectives important for assembly line productivity?

  • To identify and remove bottlenecks in the workflow
  • To minimise the idle time during manufacture.
  • To build expertise with technological and m­­­achinery processes.
  • To spread out work evenly among employees on the assembly line.
  • To optimise the production process through the usage of manual labour and automation

Check the costs

Always be sure that before any changes concerning the assembly line production process, run the plan by accounting and payroll to ensure it is financially feasible first. A business case costing is an essential step in assessing the cost of current operations versus the ideal cost objectives. You do not want to start making adjustments on the manufacturing floor and have none of the changes be cost-effective in the long run. An often-rushed part of improving productivity in the assembly line can lead to overloaded and understaffed assembly lines. Forward-thinking manufacturers will check in and “run the numbers” regularly to ensure that all changes, past, present, and future, all account for increased cost savings and profit growth.

5 Steps to Optimising the Workflow

1. Continous improvement

Pay attention to each detail of the product assembly process. Are there any wasted movements or employees struggling to get materials or tools? Small changes such as moving all materials closer to the employees save time, adding time over hours, days, and weeks. The potential cost savings of streamlining an assembly process and reducing the small inefficiencies is astronomical for increased productivity.

2. A good working environment can improve assembly lines

Open workspaces improve manufacturing productivity by allowing for more safety measures to be put into place. Open workspaces also enable management to track and measure progress on assembly line production. Work areas need to be safe and comfortable to impact output positively. Open workspaces allow easier identification of bottlenecks in the flow of material. These workspace practices ensure unrestricted access to materials and tools for employees.

3. Line balancing

Evenly distributed tasks across an entire workstation reduce idle time. Distribution means placing people with more equal skill levels in different areas or allocating equal amounts of materials to other workstations. Know your employee’s skill levels. Be strategic with worker placement to reap maximum efficiency from the assembly process.

4.Business communication

Having clear, long-term, short-term company goals that employees understand boosts productivity and morale. Plans incentivise team members to provide more effort in the assembly line process. Set realistic expectations, but also be willing to give a reward to those who exceed those expectations.

5. Using technology to improve assembly lines

Ensure employees know how the production technology and machinery work. Ensure employees know their value in the assembly line. Additional training and quarterly equipment knowledge checks are helpful tools to ensure all technology users are optimised.

There is potential in all businesses, but it boils down to how well they manage their potential with increasing productivity that genuinely makes companies thrive. Running the numbers, defining future goals and outcomes, and then taking small steps to optimise the workflow are ways for assembly line production methods to become streamlined and efficient.

Customisation of manufacturing processes is difficult and costly. If you are thinking about long-term process optimisation, JPGAL can enhance your kinetic ERP system. We can modify and help you customise kinetic ERP at any time flexibly. Our process mining platform allows users to review operational processes to root out inefficiencies.

Our custom solutions can be implemented partially, module by module. That way, your process transformation program can be delivered strategically, focusing on the areas of weakness first.

At JPGAL, we can support your technology changes by closely integrating your Kinetic ERP system and provisioning process mining so that you can monitor and track your improvements.

 Get in touch to find out how.