Nowadays, the market is increasingly taken over by personalized products with a personal touch, because that is what people like. Tailor-made clothes, products with symbolic inscriptions, notebooks, and planners with the first and last name of the owner… things like this are gaining in importance. However, manufacturers are facing a big problem here:
How to increase the efficiency of small batch production, so that it is profitable and provides optimal business. The answer to this question is quite complex, but there is a solution. If you want to learn a few tips for improving small batch manufacturing efficiency keep reading.
What is the main problem?
Most manufacturers have a production line for mass production. This means that different systems are used that provide a huge number of completely identical products. However, a new approach is becoming more and more popular nowadays. There is a need for personalized products, which means that it is necessary to completely adapt or replace mentioned systems with those that will provide small batch manufacturing.
And this in many cases is not economical and leads to reduced efficiency. But where there is a will, there is a way. Many manufacturers have focused on the benefits of manufacturing small batches.
One of them is the certainty that all manufactured products will be sold, because they are already reserved in some way and there is a real need for them, which is not always the case with mass production. In this way, inventories are reduced, and revenues can also be increased.
How to improve small batch manufacturing efficiency?
1. Providing greater flexibility
We could say that one of the main obstacles that manufacturers face in case of need for small batches is insufficient flexibility of transport systems. This means that the systems cannot be adapted to clients’ needs, but are rigid and can only be used for one type of product.
When manufacturers get to know how much it would cost to purchase different systems, each of which would be optimal for one type of product, they are often discouraged and unmotivated to proceed with this idea. In this situation, it is a good idea to take a step back and consider all the options. It is not necessary to replace the entire production line, you only need to increase the flexibility of the system you use for production.
Nowadays, industrial automation manufacturers have devised a new approach: technologies that have the ability to customize the design whenever needed. With such flexible production lines, you will be able to produce small batches that differ from each other, and are completely tailored to the needs of customers. If you need help automating the production process, you can contact Techstar for more information.
2. Consider using digital twins
The production of different small batches of products means that each time a new process has to be used to obtain the product, as well as new materials. Also, the path of movement of individual parts is different each time, which realistically increases the probability that breakdowns will occur or that you will end up getting a faulty product. In the long run, this means one thing: reducing profits and increasing costs.
And you will agree that no manufacturer prefers this combination. Recently, a new approach to the production of small batches has been devised, which includes the use of a digital twin. This includes software that ensures that each batch of products is of high quality and has the same design, appearance and functionality.
What are the benefits of using a digital twin?
First of all, using a digital twin allows you to detect all production problems before getting a product for sale. This means that you can fully discover all the potential obstacles that may arise before they actually happen and bring with them a mountain of costs, frustrations and problems. Once you’ve identified the issues, you can find a way to fix them before it’s too late.
Also, another benefit is the ability to customize the production line so as to create a system that produces the best possible final product. You may be satisfied with the quality of a product at the moment, but if you can improve it, why not take advantage of that opportunity?
3. Train your employees
Once you’ve taken care of the hardware and software and made sure they’re optimally tuned to get small batches of the product, it’s time to train your employees. Take the time to teach them how new technologies work and what their role is in the whole process.
Yes, the production process needs to be automated, but machines and systems cannot work on their own, they need a human hand to control them. This is where members of your team come into play. They will know how to handle new systems after training and ensure that everything runs smoothly, despite the fact that the approach to production has been changed.
4. Do not neglect the importance of the organization
And of course, increased efficiency is directly correlated with adequate organization. You cannot expect the efficiency of your production to grow if your company is not optimally organized. And we mean the physical organization of space, as well as the organization of all tasks between team members.
Make sure that all waste material is eliminated on time, and that all tools and accessories are always in place so that they are easily accessible. On the other hand, make sure that all employees know what their responsibilities are and that they have good communication to ensure that the work runs smoothly.
Nowadays, the need for personalized products is growing, which makes it much more difficult for manufacturers to do business. Mass production is completely different from the production of small batches, so it is necessary to adapt all systems and the entire production line so that it can ensure that the needs of customers who are constantly changing are being met.
In order to achieve this, it is necessary to ensure sufficient flexibility of technologies, as well as to use the digital twin, train your employees and ensure optimal organization of the entire business. With these tips, you can be sure that you will increase the efficiency of your small batch production.