The throughput rate, a key manufacturing metric, reflects a company's efficiency in meeting customer deadlines, maintaining inventory targets, and expanding market reach. This measure gauges the effective utilization of company assets to deliver value to customers.
Throughput rate, defined as the quantity of product produced in a specified period (e.g., an eight-hour shift), is crucial. For instance, producing 12,000 packages in an eight-hour shift results in a throughput rate of 1,500 packages per hour. It's important to distinguish between throughput rate and cycle time.
Low throughput rate performance can lead to lost sales, and increased waste, and can reflect inadequate employee training. Here are nine common mistakes that hamper throughput rates that, when avoided, can enhance profitability, and allow manufacturers to capitalize on marketing opportunities.
Incomplete Quality Inspections After Changeovers
Personnel must ensure that the first product out of production meets the required specifications. These checks are essential to maintain product quality and safety, as well as high production throughput. Addressing any out-of-spec issues before starting the production run minimizes potential productivity problems in the future.
Lack of Accurate Process Procedures
Incorrect procedures can lead to waste and adversely affect throughput. Adequate training is vital to prevent improper equipment use or the introduction of incorrect raw materials.
Failing to Obtain Real-Time Performance Data
Automating the collection of real-time production data such as speed, quantity produced, efficiency, downtime, etc. dramatically helps in keeping a line running at the right cadence. Delayed or inaccurate information hampers production throughput and the ability to rectify it quickly.
Paper-based production line data collection and analysis is no longer sufficient in today’s automated world. To remain competitive—or, better yet, to beat the competition—companies need access to their production data in real-time. Management and operators alike must be armed with tools and information to act quickly and decisively should line conditions deteriorate.
Inadequate Production Line Maintenance
Having a well-established and properly executed equipment maintenance program is essential to keeping production lines running at full capacity. Component failures cause line stoppages and result in lower production throughput rates. Analysis of downtime causes can uncover areas for improvement in maintenance procedures.
Lack of Redundancies in Process Line Equipment
Having backup production equipment available allows a company to continue producing despite breakdowns should line equipment fail. Bringing backup equipment online after a breakdown helps keep production throughput rates high.
Incorrect Raw Materials or Supplies
If incorrect raw materials or supplies are introduced into production, line stoppages occur, and throughput rates go down. Also, using the wrong materials in the process increases waste and delays production schedules.
Insufficiently Skilled Personnel and Training
Finding skilled employees has always been a challenge. As plant automation and computerization advances, hiring knowledgeable personnel is more important than ever. Further, sufficient training ensures employees can function in today’s sophisticated environments and helps boost loyalty and retention.
Failure to Maintain a Smooth Process Flow
Production lines should be balanced and automated to achieve high rates of throughput. Product should move along the line without creating excess work-in-process inventory or causing line stoppages. Failing to attain smooth-flowing production contributes to higher costs and missed delivery schedules.
Effective communication along the production line and supply chain is vital. Internal miscommunications can lead to errors, disrupt operations, and reduce production throughput.
Enhancing Throughput and Efficiency
To address these challenges, Worximity offers a variety of connectivity solutions to help manufacturers acquire data from their machines and production lines. Cloud-based software transforms the raw data collected into relevant KPIs, including production throughput rates, displayed in real-time on dashboards throughout the shop floor.
With Worximity manufacturers can avoid communication errors, correct process mistakes, identify waste sources, and overcome other challenges that hinder throughput. Schedule a quick demo to learn more and access our free e-book on Smart Factory analytics.