Good manufacturing habits may be difficult to develop, but bad manufacturing habits are almost impossible to break. It’s easy for a workforce, especially on the manufacturing floor, to develop their own ways and methods of doing a task. Left to their own devices, employees will devise their own processes and stick to them, regardless of how they were taught. It isn’t necessarily laziness or lack of motivation that leads to bad habits. Workers just settle into routines that they are comfortable with, which sometimes means that steps get overlooked and a bad product or batch is made. In many cases, companies struggle to identify where they are inefficient; they just know that they’re lagging behind their peers in profitability and production volume.
Bad habits cost service-based and Additive Manufacturing companies all over the world millions of dollars annually. However, it costs way more to continue sticking to the status quo. More than anything else, lack of oversight and comfort within an existing system without adequate controls leads to the development of money-sucking bad habits. Implementing an MES/QMS system like Bluestreak can seamlessly break those bad manufacturing habits by tracking and storing data and managing the scheduling of production, maintenance, and staffing.
Let’s break down three of the biggest bad manufacturing habits in Additive Manufacturing and evaluate how implementing an MES/QMS system can increase efficiency and cut down on wasted time and money devoted to reworking bad product.
1. Inspection scheduling and constant recalibrating
An efficient manufacturing floor will require minimal inspection of its production equipment. An inspection often drags down efficiency, because while an inspection is being performed, product is not being made and employees are not working. Your floor’s production process should have sampling and error prevention controls built in. You should not be inspecting more than is required because doing so increases operating costs and eats into profit margins. The goal of an efficient firm should be to minimize inspections but not eliminate them entirely. Inspecting equipment to improve quality of product is important, but it has to be done at the right time and on the right schedule.
With inspection comes the need for recalibration when errors are found or machines break down. Machinery not running as intended will lead to inconsistency in product quality, so it cannot be allowed, but recalibration leads to downtime and wasted employee effort. Inspections and recalibration are necessary but need to be managed properly to limit their effects on manufacturing efficiency.
Bluestreak’s platform and its iMaintain features allow manufacturers to manage and schedule maintenance and inspections and track the time spent on each task. This will automate the processes and allow for inefficiencies to be more easily identified.
2. Failure to follow specifications
A customer who places an order with your factory has specific requirements for how they want it produced and delivered. Failure to meet these specifications will result in rework, damaged relationships with clients, and wasted time, material, and money. The best way to avoid specification failures is to implement and follow a quality control and sampling plan.
This is another aspect of Additive Manufacturing management that Bluestreak can improve. Its software can set up part-specific sampling plans that can be tailored to different specifications depending on the client’s needs.
3. Managing staff
The people in the factory are the ones who make the machines work and the product going from raw material to finished part. Good employees know what they’re doing with minimal direction. That said, they still need to be managed and guided through their day-to-day tasks so efficiency does not slip.
Managing staffing levels and ensuring the right workers are working the correct number of hours at any given time on the production floor is another important feature that Bluestreak offers the Additive Manufacturing industry. With the ability to plan staffing levels based on order levels and demand, the software will ensure that manufacturers are not caught short staffed or with too many workers on the floor just getting in the way. In addition to managing workforce scheduling, Bluestreak allows managers to keep track of employee certifications and qualifications and ensure that the right employees are handling the essential production tasks.
In the manufacturing world, some of the worst habits occur on the production floor, not the inventory department. Bluestreak’s MES/QMS solutions include real-time shop floor tracking for every step of the process. This is where company leaders will begin seeing the benefit of having more automation and quality control over their manufacturing process. Implementing the software may end up uncovering more bad manufacturing habits that the administration wasn’t even aware of.
Getting things under control gives more peace of mind to the operations managers and will cut down production costs, eliminate rework and downtime, and ultimately, save money.
If you’re ready to leave manual, time-consuming service-based manufacturing tasks in the past, drastically reduce your scrap and rework percentage, gain visibility of your production floor processes, and build better relationships with your customers, contact us for a free consultation today!