With over twenty five years in the industry, we’ve learned a lot about manufacturing. And sometimes, it’s best to take it back to the basics! Let’s take a look at this simple, yet highly important advice for manufacturers.
Safety and Preventive Maintenance
Similar to a previous blog we wrote on Warehouse Safety, the same rules apply to your manufacturing plant. Your personnel’s safety should be of utmost importance. We’ve all read the horror stories of injuries and fatalities on the job. The fact is, the majority of those were preventable. By instilling an ongoing safety policy for employees, visitors, and anyone within the facility, you can and will prevent tragedies. Cleanliness no matter what type of products you produce is also a key factor in maintaining a safe environment. Incorporate a cleaning schedule into your daily operations to easily maintain a safe and hygienic facility. Not only is a clean facility downright healthier, but it provides more visibility to the human eye making accidents more avoidable. Organize and properly label all aisles, work centers, and dangerous areas. It is also important to implement a preventive maintenance program on all your equipment and machinery. Having a regular, preventative maintenance plan helps keep your employees safe and will save you money in the long run on expensive repair bills as well as replacement parts and equipment. Have your tools for in-house maintenance clearly marked and secure in a tool crib or designated area. I recently learned from Christine Torres of Graphic Products that OSHA Compliant Signage is very specific and absolutely necessary in your facilities.
· CAUTION marks a hazard that could cause moderate injury.
· WARNING marks a hazard that could cause serious injury, or death.
· DANGER is for extreme hazards, where serious injury or death are likely unless the sign’s instructions are followed.
I highly recommend contacting Graphic Products if you have questions or need a source for proper signage in your facility. They also have an excellent free guide on OSHA Safety Signs you can download here: https://www.graphicproducts.com/guides/osha-safety-signs-guide/
Materials and Inventory Control
Although this is easier said than done, controlling your inventory is one of the most important factors in running a profitable manufacturing business. Our WMS solution works in real-time to control all areas of inventory and production control so you can avoid all of these mistakes and issues. Poor inventory control can cause lost customers due to mistakes in shipping, missed promised dates, or not having the products they need in stock. It also can cause unnecessary or excessive inventory which ties up your capital because MRP and DRP do not work without an accurate basis. Additionally, poor inventory control may lead to inefficient labor utilization, extra steps, and, ultimately, wasted time. If you can’t afford a wireless real-time scanning solution at minimum, you should have very tight procedures in place to track all of your materials. The two largest areas where manufacturers lose control of their inventory are in the receiving process and finished good process. Checking in receipts is imperative. Another area I see often is redundancy or mistakes made with BOM (Bill of Materials) and Routing entry into the ERP System. You should maintain tight control of who can add or maintain your BOM’s and make sure you do not have duplicate BOM’s for the same part.
On-Going and Proper Training
The most business savvy operation and plant managers know how critical it is to train employees. Even if a new hire has plant experience or a background of history with a similar machine, it is your duty to train them properly. A well trained employee will be able to produce while keeping themselves and others safe. Murphy’s Law states that everything that can and will go wrong does. Being pro-active and anticipating issues before they arise is crucial. on-going training is important to keep all employees up to date with new rules, safety measures, changes in the facilities, etc. A well-oiled machine only runs if all the pieces work together. Cross training is also important. If you have team members that are limited to only a specific area, for example receiving, you will not be able to leverage them in other areas quickly and dynamically, such as material movement etc.. When you cross train your workforce you have the ability to adapt quickly to varying demands and your team members will be happier to perform various duties versus the same mundane tasks which leads to boredom and fatigue. Many states have non for profit organizations that specifically help their manufactures through training grants or programs.
Simplicity is Key
In conclusion, manufacturers know that warehouse safety and cleanliness go hand in hand and translate to inventory control as well as employee training. If you are interested in how our software streamlines your processes and makes each of these important points just that much easier, contact us today!