The great thing about streamlining your core business process or processes is that the impact can often be felt very quickly across the business. Ensuring that central goals are being achieved quickly and efficiently can boost productivity in every department from finance to customer service. An area that benefits particularly from streamlining processes is operations, and more specifically production. You might think that building out an efficient process for production might help you cut lead times and get products out to the customer at a faster rate. You would be correct. But there is another factor too: quality.
Not only can an efficient business process help you get stuff out the door faster, it can also help you make sure the stuff going out the door is of a much higher quality. Through getting the right processes in place, you can make sure that quality control records less failures, leading to a more efficient production department overall.
Here is how redesigning and remapping your business process could improve product quality.
Once you’ve got a process mapped out and documented, it’s easily repeated. This is especially true if it includes a number of elements of automation. Along with the right ERP system, your production process can be controlled, and you can ensure that each and every single time a product goes down the line, the same procedure is followed. Getting the right balance between automation and human “intervention” is key, as human error is inevitable, but sanity checks may be needed along the way to make sure an anomaly hasn’t thrown the system off.
Improve machine efficiency
Manufacturing businesses rely heavily on the efficiency of their machinery. A chink in the production chain can throw off a whole process. While many turn to engineers assuming that the problem is with the machinery, we have often found that the problem may be with training or process. Engaging with a business process consultant can help you identify any points in the production process where a machine is being used incorrectly or inefficiently and causing delays or quality issues. If a training gap or lack of process knowledge is found, you can relatively quickly and simply resolve this. You will have also saved potentially a significant investment in engineering time or even new machinery. Ultimately, better machine efficiency means better quality, as it ensures processes are truly streamlined and being followed.
It is a symptom of being fully entrenched in the day-to-day running of a business that you only examine what is happening internally. A business may note inefficiencies in production and a drop in quality, and then endeavour to pinpoint exactly where within their own operations department, warehouse or logistics the problem lies. But what if the problem is so much earlier on? Taking a true helicopter view of the production process, you can identify if there are bottlenecks or quality problems further back in the supply chain. Are there improvements to be made in warehouse or logistics and the way the components are handled? Or could you go even further back and make improvements to the procurement process? Ensuring that any quality or efficiency problems are resolved and ironed out at early stages of the production process can improve product quality and the other end of the process.
To look at it another way, this end-to-end approach could also help you identify problems in the later stages of the process. Baffled as to why products seem to be coming off the line at optimum quality, but you’re getting a lot of customers having problems with that particular product? Through examining the process you could find opportunities to streamline and improve the procedures around storage, dispatch and other areas of logistics.
Engage the experts
Even the smallest tweaks to process could have a noticeable impact on the quality of products coming of your production line. Improved product quality leads to better efficiency overall, and ultimately more satisfied customers, all leading back to increased profitability for the business. We have decades of experience analysing, redesigning and implementing streamlined processes for a range of businesses, both internally and externally. If you would like to talk to us about a business process improvement project, get in touch.