How to Improve Manufacturing Throughput Time

throughput time in manufacturing companies

Struggling with operational and cycle time efficiency? Choosing the right manufacturing throughput strategy is the first step in tackling this challenge. It can mean the difference between meeting quotas and losing customers to the competition.

So if manufacturers fall behind on meeting their manufacturing throughput it can result in delayed deliveries, which impacts customer expectations and satisfaction. 

In this article, we’ll go over the basics of throughput time, best practices on improving it, and some insights to speed up production.

Let’s make sense of your throughput time and produce faster without compromising the quality of your product.

What is throughput time in manufacturing companies?

The time it takes to transform raw materials into finished items is known as manufacturing throughput time, or cycle time. It’s a typical key performance indicator that measures the efficiency of your shop floor processes. For example, if it takes 2 hours from the time you put all of the microwave components together until the first sealed box is ready to leave your facility, your throughput time is 2 hours.

So, it’s a good place to start improving your throughput time if you want to boost your production output. The longer it takes for products to go from start to finish, the less you can process in a given amount of time. 

Because throughput time includes different steps and productions stages, it can bedivided into the following categories:

  • Processing time: This is the amount of time a product spends on the assembly line. So the time it takes for raw materials to go through the different manufacturing stages on the shop floor.
  • Move time: This is the moment when materials and partially built parts are transported from station to station to keep the manufacturing process moving forward. All of this is known as move time, and it should be taken into account when calculating throughput time.

     

  • Inspection time: Manufacturers must guarantee that their clients receive high-quality items in order to maintain customer satisfaction. As a result, companies must devote a sufficient amount of time to complete quality checks and visual inspections, which include examining products for any damage or discrepancies.

     

  • Wait time (or queue time): This is the time products remain detained while they are being processed, inspected or moved. Waiting time can also occur when a machine on your line malfunctions, causing a backlog or, in the worst case, shutting down the production line.

Throughput time = Processing time + Move time + Inspection time + Wait time
Add these different stages all up per unit of product and you get your manufacturing throughput time.

Methods to reduce Manufacturing Throughput time

#1 Use manufacturing automation techniques

In some cases, the frontline workers themselves can be a bottleneck and a cause of inefficiency. Manual tasks carry a high risk of human mistake, as well as high production and supply chain costs, time commitments, and a significant reduction in quality. 

The solution, choosing the right digital tool to automate many manual, human-based operations like data entry and record keeping.

Integrating current systems with existing production processes, can have a huge impact on overall company performance, productivity and ensure that human resources are devoted to value-added work. Therefore, automating many of these manufacturing processes removes the possibility of human error and ensures accurate data collection.

#2 Improve employee training

The efficiency of the production cycle and the product quality are strongly influenced by the frontline workers manning the production line.

Employees who lack the required training can struggle to identify ways to enhance their performance. Worse yet, undertrained staff may inadvertently cause delays because they don’t comprehend the full production process.

Using the right tool for operator training, guarantees that they are well-versed in how to deal with specific problems that may emerge on the shop floor, decreasing production line downtime.

So let your operators upskill, reskill and make well-informed improvements to the production process and maximize your throughput times. 

#3 Conduct proactive, regular maintenance

With frequent and extensive usage, shop floor machines might break down, resulting in costly downtime, inefficiencies and waste. Manufacturers should not wait for machines to fail. Instead, they should use efficient maintenance schedules to avoid problems on the shop floor. 

There are many tools available to document, schedule and track manufacturing maintenance. This way, manufacturers can obtain a proactive approach to ensure that machines are well-maintained. Keep your production processes up and running, reducing downtime.

#4 Invest in safety on the shop floor

The biggest obstacle to increase industrial throughput is wasting valuable time on worker safety and accident prevention. When a frontline worker gets injured on the shop floor, the production process comes to an almost immediate halt.

However, a delay in production to take care of a wounded employee is the least of a manufacturer’s concerns.

A single safety event can have long-term ramifications, such as:

  • The loss of a skilled and productive employee.
  • Shop floor closures for investigations into the incident.
  • Damaged production equipment

The list goes on and on. Avoid these costly, production-lowering problems and keep your manufacturing plant running smoothly and effectively by increasing safety in production.

#5 Standardized work processes

In recent years, manufacturers have introduced many Industry 4.0 solutions into their company to streamline operator operations and increase production. By using a tool to digitize work instruction, companies can standardize manufacturing processes resulting in less quality defects and human-error. 

Time to speed up production

Measuring throughput time can be extremely beneficial to manufacturing companies wanting to enhance productivity and operational efficiency.

With the Azumuta platform, companies can boost human actions, automate data collection and streamline daily procedures and instructions on the shop floor, all of which can help reduce lead times.

Allow your company to immediately detect bottlenecks and understand the reasons of inefficiency by displaying real-time production data. Empower your workforce and achieve continuous improvement by going the digital route.

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