Top Tips for Manufacturing Productivity

Conker celebrates World Productivity Day and offers its tips on making your production plant smarter and more productive

Productivity is defined as “the efficiency and quality of production of goods or services”. Some barriers to productivity include distraction and interruptions, lack of information, ineffective communication, insufficient training, inadequate tools and equipment, stress and too much to do.

Conker, which provides a range of rugged, wearable and scannable devices for mobile workforces, offers its top tips on productivity for production managers.

Tenneil Olivier, manufacturing business development executive at Conker, comments: “An efficient manufacturing operation is critical for customer satisfaction because it helps to ensure quick and accurate delivery of orders, increasing brand loyalty.”

Invest in maintenance
Maintaining an operation’s assets such as equipment, plant and facilities reduces costly downtime and helps improve quality and efficiency. Having a planned program around production schedules can help to further minimise disruption to outputs. Smaller mobile device hardware needs to be tough for the work environment for knocks, bangs, extremes of temperature and dust protection.

Review workflow
Reviewing workflow as an ongoing exercise becomes continuous improvement (known as Kaizen1 in lean manufacturing), which can reduce defects, eliminate waste, boost productivity, promote innovation and have a positive impact on staff.

Create operational efficiencies
Streamlining different processes, information streams and the entire workforce helps to better manage delayed production, waste and poor planning. These operational efficiencies rely on quality-connected equipment, cost management, technology stack, internal communication, supply chain and order management, improved business processes. Linking mobile devices that collect operational data and link directly to back-end platforms removes data input errors and provides real-time visibility.

Wearable scanners, designed to keep workers’ hands-free, can reduce each scanning action by a further five seconds – boosting efficiency and productivity even more and keep staff safe. They’ll be collecting data, in real-time that will help in accurate management decision making.

When introducing wearables (or any device), it is vital to ensure that it neatly fits to the IT architecture stack for the business. The operator can then ensure items have been picked correctly by using a glove and PDA combination, and that back-end systems can monitor stock control in real-time through the smooth flow of data.

Going rugged
Devices that are “just tough” no longer meet the needs of many fast-paced hard-working environments. Buyers expect rugged device manufacturers to have considered operating systems, types of viewing screens, battery life, data security devices’ communications capabilities and ease of use.

But how do you know how tough, tough is? Rugged devices are a type of hardware designed specifically to tolerate the harshest environments. From extreme temperatures to dusty environments, wet conditions and then back into the office. They can tolerate a range of hazards including exposure to fluids and extreme vibrations. Touch screens can be operated with gloves on and as the battery life is designed to last an entire shift – rugged devices are built to last. These attributes can positively impact costs in downtime and time and cost to replace devices that are not durable enough. All Conker devices are drop tested typically to 1.2m and for peace of mind have the durability rating of IP65.

Compared to traditional scanners and other mobile devices wearable devices are less likely to get damaged or dropped, resulting in lower equipment replacement costs over time. The ergonomic design of wearable scanners makes them feel natural to use in day-to-day operations. When a backhand scanner is used in conjunction with a glove, workers benefit from having a full range of hand and digit movement.

The new era of smarter operations

James Summers, CEO at Conker, added: “The products surfacing during this new era of industry 4.0 are further supported by automation and real-time connectivity with other departments. The results include increased productivity, reduced resources, and speed of response to customers’ orders resulting in improved bottom lines.

“It is vital that production managers ensure good usability testing on all tablets, handheld and wearable devices, because good usability will help to support a happy workforce. They also they shouldn’t be afraid to demand upfront user testing before committing to new devices in the IT stack.”

All Conker products come with a free one-year ‘Relax’ accidental damage warranty, which means customers are covered on all their devices, whatever happens, no quibbles. Three- and five-year accidental damage warranties are also available with no small print and no exclusions. For further information, please visit weareconker.com.

Manufacturing Productivity Day