Throughput rate for processing operations is one of the most important of all manufacturing metrics. Meeting throughput rate targets reflects a company’s ability to satisfy on-time customer deliveries, maintain target inventories, and expand markets. This measure shows how effectively company assets are being utilized to produce value for their customers.
The throughput rate for a production operation is the quantity of product produced during a defined period (e.g., an eight-hour shift). Thus, if a company makes 12,000 packages over one eight-hour shift, the throughput rate is 1,500 packages per hour. Distinction should be made between throughput rate and cycle time.
Low throughput rate performance can mean lost sales opportunities, excessive waste along the production line, and lack of training among employees. Following are nine mistakes companies make that reduce throughput rates. Avoiding these issues allows a company to increase profitability and capture marketing opportunities.
1. Not Properly Completing Quality Inspections After Changeovers
Personnel must ensure that the first product out of production completely and accurately meets the required specifications. These checks are essential to maintaining product quality and safety, as well as high production throughput. Correcting any out-of-spec product issues before the run begins is critical to maintaining throughput.
2. Not Using or Having Accurate Process Procedures
If incorrect procedures are used along the line, waste can be produced and throughput adversely affected. Lack of employee training or skills may lead to improper use of equipment or the introduction of incorrect raw materials. These problems can cause line stoppages and lower production throughput volumes.
3. Failing to Obtain Accurate and Real-Time Performance Data Using the Latest Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies
Obtaining real-time, accurate, and comprehensive processing line data is essential for keeping the line running at top speeds. Production throughput suffers when performance data is delayed, inaccurate, or lacks the necessary information.
Paper-based production line data collection and analysis is not sufficient in today’s automated world. To remain competitive—or, better yet, to beat the competition—companies need real-time, accurate, and comprehensive data. Management and line employees must have sufficient confidence in performance data to act quickly and decisively should line conditions deteriorate.
4. Not Properly Maintaining Production Line and Support Equipment
Having a well-established and properly executed equipment maintenance program is essential to keeping processing 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.
5. Failure to Provide Redundancies to 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.
6. Failure to Use the Correct Raw Materials or Supplies
If incorrect raw material 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.
7. Not Recruiting Skilled Personnel or Providing Adequate 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 must be provided to ensure employees can function in today’s sophisticated environments.
8. Failing to Maintain Smooth Flowing Process Lines
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.
9. Poor Communications
Poor communication can create a multitude of problems both along a processing line and along the supply chain. Many of these problems disrupt a smoothly running processing operation and reduce production throughput. For example, internal miscommunications might cause incorrect raw materials to be staged at the front of a line.
Mistakes can reduce a company’s effectiveness as well as its profitability. Measuring throughput rates provides the data a company needs to stay ahead of problems and out in front of the competition. Worximity’s Smart Factory analytics is a system that includes real-time data collection sensors, powerful analytics software, and factory-wide performance status communication.
Worximity’s TileConnect sensors, attached to production equipment, transmit performance data instantly to the cloud where Smart Factory analytics calculates KPIs, including production throughput rates. Processing performance status is continually updated on dashboards (TileBoards) located throughout the factory. All employees then have access to real-time actionable data and can address problems instantly.
Worximity Technology helps companies avoid communication errors, quickly correct process mistakes, identify waste sources, and avoid other problems that reduce throughput. Connect with Worximity today to schedule a demo, and access our free e-book detailing how Smart Factory analytics can work for you.