Your Line is on Hold, Now What?
For most businesses, while the world is dealing with a global pandemic, it means your doors may be shut and many employees are at home. As an owner, engineer, or manager of a production line, this gives you a unique opportunity to evaluate your processes and make improvements you’d ordinarily be too busy for.
There are plenty of ways to use this “pause” that could put your business in a good position when it’s time to increase capacity.
What replacements or upgrades does your line need?
With down time comes the chance to really get your house in order. Review processes: hiring/onboarding, training, quality control, accountability and record-keeping -- on top of whatever physical processes you use in the shop.
As cash flow permits, you can order parts, equipment and supplies to improve your tools or working conditions. Some shipments might be halted or slowed at this time, but getting the ball rolling is always the first step to progress.
Position your staff, and yourself, for success by making sure essential knowledge is shared.
Cross-training is also a great investment. Is there still only one guy who knows how to do something critical, because there’s never enough time to train the other? Now’s your chance.
Speaking of training, what better way to keep your workforce engaged and show them your commitment to employee retention. Consider how many people know how to run and manage the line and its equipment. Just a few?
There are always cleaning, maintenance and upkeep tasks that are of low priority when there’s work to be done. Those may keep your business running smoothly if you take the time to do them. While the shop floor is quiet, walk around and try to notice those imperfections that you’ve come to ignore, such as chipped flooring, broken handles, or unused inventory. Carefully inspect machinery and perform any preventative or overdue maintenance, getting everything tuned up while it’s not being used.
As you are considering the shop floor as a whole, you’ll be in the perfect frame of mind to consider the overall efficiency and flow of the various processes. What can you do to make sure, when work is running again, that the slowest part of the process is running as fast as it can?
At Saint Clair systems, we’re looking at getting back to some level of normal soon. I hope to be ready when the time comes.
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