A key component of managing any food processing operation is having the ability to control and improve throughput rates. Failing to meet throughput targets can mean missed customer deliveries and a negative impact on the bottom line.
When factories miss throughput goals, the failure affects many operational areas other than manufacturing, such as production planning, inventory control, and purchasing. Disruptions in these areas introduce a significant number of inefficiencies. Not only do these disruptions have a financial impact, but personnel morale can also be negatively affected.
Improve Throughput Rate by Employing These Three Techniques
A number of strategies are available to help producers improve throughput rates. Below are three of the most proven methods for ensuring production goals are met.
1. Improve Plant Safety
Accidents can have a more significant impact on throughput than most processors realize. An accident classified as a “lost time accident” is one that results in the employee being absent from work for at least one full day. By contrast, a “lost time injury” results in an employee’s work being delayed because of stoppage or short-term absenteeism.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that, in 2019, there were more than 116,000 cases of lost time accidents in manufacturing. Minor accidents, which may go unreported, can still account for minutes or hours of production downtime.
For any processor, the impact of safety incidents is significant. Any incident may result in a line being down for hours or even days and can cause substantial amounts of lost throughput. Production is lost because of the initial incident and may continue to be impacted by damaged equipment, rejected products, and lower team morale. Time and throughput are also lost during the subsequent investigation of the accident itself.
Safety incidents may not be daily occurrences in most plants, but when they occur, the negative impact on production and throughput can be extremely high. Maintaining the highest levels of safety is a proven method for improving throughput rates.
2. Reduce and Eliminate Bottlenecks
Bottlenecks can be a persistent and frequent reason for reduced throughput. Some bottlenecks are readily apparent: When production at one station outpaces the next, the product will begin to stack up behind the slower operation. This accumulation causes all functions in the production line to slow down to pace themselves to the slowest process, which signals that the slowest process is creating a bottleneck.
In many cases, because operators adjust equipment feeds and speed to ensure the line operates smoothly, the bottleneck may not be readily apparent. Nevertheless, analysis of equipment capacities should reveal the bottleneck, and corrective action can be taken.
Connecting equipment electronically using online data capture technology gives managers the up-to-the-minute throughput information they need to identify and eliminate bottlenecks. Monitoring production processes carefully on a real-time basis can help managers improve throughput rates.
3. Automate Production Information
One of the most critical steps toward increasing throughout is implementing automatic collection of production data. Systems that provide efficiencies based on yesterday's or last week’s production runs may point to problems, but they seldom provide a complete picture of the actual production process.
Implementing Worximity’s Smart Factory analytics system for monitoring and reporting production data gives managers a way to avoid committing one or more detrimental production mistakes. Providing data tools managers need to identify problem areas and to develop solutions is an essential and proven method of improving throughput rates. Systems such as Worximity's Smart Factory analytics help managers catch poor-quality products, identify bottlenecks, update process procedures, and monitor waste.
In addition, line operators can monitor their individual performance, check progress against goals, and identify issues as soon as they occur. Using immediate, real-time feedback from Worximity’s system, operators can correct line feeds and speeds, address micro-stops, and ensure throughput rates are on target. Providing employees with ongoing performance metrics increases team involvement and promotes individual accountability.
Worximity Can Help Increase Your Factory’s Throughput
Worximity's Smart Factory analytics software gathers data in real time and generates performance metrics such as OEE, downtime, and throughput. Having access to real-time information about line speeds and feeds, reject rates, downtime, and throughput helps managers identify situations restricting production. Additionally, having the data in real time gives managers a chance to correct the problems before losses mount.
Worximity's system uses TileConnects (sensors) attached directly to equipment. These sensors gather real-time data, which is sent to the cloud, where Smart Factory analytics software calculates important factory KPIs. These metrics are then presented on TileBoards (monitors), which are located throughout the factory and available for each employee and manager to review.
Continual monitoring alerts managers to factors restricting throughput, such as any line stoppage, bottleneck, or quality issues. Managers can then take immediate corrective action or use data analysis to develop longer-term throughput improvement programs.
Worximity's mission is to provide the most cutting-edge technology and data capture systems to assist companies in increasing productivity and efficiency. Throughput is only one of the many operating metrics that can be captured and improved by utilizing Worximity’s Smart Factory analytics and in-the-cloud computing. To learn how Worximity can help your company increase throughput and positively impact your bottom line, subscribe to our blog or connect with us today.