Five Ways of Increasing Profitability and Flexibility
... in a New Age of Manufacturing.
At Supfina, we understand continually improving key metrics in high-mix, demand-dependent manufacturing can prove to be quite difficult. Having the mindset that drives focus to minimizing setbacks, rather than implementing entirely new programs or policies, has generally been regarded as a more cost-conducive and effective strategy.
We took the time to look at a few changes you can implement today that will help you improve metrics for years to come, regardless of product life-cycles or size of production.
- Decreasing downtime with preparedness.
With inevitable machine aging, there’s an increased risk of slowdowns, loss of quality/precision, and even downtime as a machine is serviced. A giant potential for reducing costs can be found in the area of maintenance. Simply put, a well-maintained machine is significantly less likely to fail. With that in mind, there are two ways to perform this maintenance, correctively or predictively. Corrective action would take place after a machine shows signs of malfunction, while predictive action is based on the current machine state. Historically, corrective action has been the sole way of addressing any large issues. However, with the creation of different technologies to address errors in real-time, predictive maintenance has the potential to alert users on any scheduled maintenance intervals or potential faults.
- Performing upgrades with timeliness in mind.
Utilizing any expected downtime to perform larger repairs or rebuilds while machines are not in use is an effective way to ensure that you’re able to hit future goals. These upgrades could include extending the life of the machine, improving efficiency, or adding flexibility. Another idea is to create a calendar to help schedule out regular maintenance intervals. All of these prevent prolonged downtime when the efficiency of the machine is critical.
- Having machines that fill multiple purposes.
For years in the manufacturing space, there has been typically one machine for one process, and that singular task is all the machine will ever know. As dated machines need to be replaced, consider upgrading to a system that will provide more than one type of operation. For example, a machine that can not only provide deburring on a workpiece, but then proceed to superfinish the face and/or body of the part and inspect it as well. Not only will this reduce the potential amount of overhead costs for labor, it will also cut the floor space necessary to perform such tasks.
- Ensure your machines can be easily changed with efficient turnover speed.
As high-mix manufacturing companies know, they may have to switch parts on a dime. When doing so, the machine that’s being utilized needs to have the capability to switch over to a new workpiece as quickly and safely as possible. Doing your research about the functionality and flexibility of machines before purchasing, or investing in upgrades that can increase efficiency, will help you make sound decisions based on your needs. Having a system that can identify a part type and therefore perform the necessary processes on the workpiece can cut turnover times to near zero.
- Taking a “smart” approach.
Having a machine that is mostly automated, able to be controlled from a distant location, and automatically checks itself for efficiency and reliability can be a massive help. The efficiency of predictive analytics, remote monitoring, and other smart machining capabilities can save you a lot of money in the long run. When a machine is able to communicate with the operator prior to a breakdown or failure occurring can make the difference between a quick fix and an expensive headache. Note: even if you have existing machines that aren’t currently smart, there may be potential to retrofit these machines to contain some level of ‘smart-ability’.
Incorporating some or all of these methods into your current processes will help you save time and money while increasing efficiency on your key metrics. Supfina is uniquely poised to help you address the challenges faced in a new age of manufacturing. Let our decades of process know-how, combined with highly customizable turn-key solutions, propel your company into the future.