In the manufacturing world, the phrase “time is money,” may be truer than it is anywhere else. The more you can produce, the more you can sell and the more customers you can satisfy. In almost any industry, good time management is important — but in manufacturing, effective prioritizing and good time management are absolutely crucial.
Here are five of the best tips for using your management skills for effective time management in manufacturing.
Have a Neat Workplace
It was productivity expert Daniel Markovitz who first suggested the “5S” approach to a manufacturing work space. The five S’s are:
- Sort: Remove all unnecessary supplies or tools from the environment.
- Set in order: Make sure all tools and equipment are in specific and optimal places.
- Shine: Clean everything regularly.
- Standardize: Apply rules consistently.
- Sustain: Constantly maintain or improve standards. Making sure workers have easy and clear access to tools and materials can be a tremendous time-saver.
The arrival of the assembly line exponentially reduced the amount of time it takes to make a product, and the addition of mechanized industrial robots did so yet again. A fear of robots taking over manufacturing entirely has caused some to want to pull back from automation, but the truth is, the more you can automate, the more time you can save in your manufacturing business.
It’s important to remember that automating a process does not have to mean eliminating a human job. Quite the contrary — retraining someone currently doing manual labor on software for programming and controlling a robot actually reduces the stress on your human employees and dramatically increases their safety.
Standardize Management Tasks
We are accustomed to standardizing the way we manufacture products on the floor. But you can save a lot of time by standardizing management tasks, too. Having a set, consistent method for things like email communication, staff meetings and inspections can allow you to get through a lot of the day-to-day necessities of the business quickly and get on to more important tasks that can streamline the business and help it grow.
Reward Effective Processes
If an employee has developed a better way of doing something, don’t try to force them back into the old way. Instead, learn more about their innovation, reward their creativity and use their process as a positive example for others.
End Annual Reviews
The time spent preparing for, performing and reviewing annual reviews for each worker is largely a waste of time in a world where requirements and opportunities move at a much faster pace than yearly. Set weekly or monthly goals for workers and offer an open communication system where workers can discuss concerns freely in a positive environment.
In many cases, poor time management in a manufacturing situation is an extension of the company’s unwillingness to move on from the old ways of doing things. By implementing not only the above tips, but also by being willing to perform an unforgiving and unbiased analysis of your processes, you can save a tremendous amount of time and optimize workflow and performance.