From bottlenecks to breakthroughs: Unlocking manufacturing potential

Posted on 20 May 2024 by The Manufacturer

Labour shortages and high staff turnover are plaguing manufacturers across the food and beverage industry. A perfect storm of profit loss weakened operational flows and increasing energy costs are hindering manufacturers from reaching peak production capacity.

There are several ways for companies to tap into their potential and increase efficiencies across its production lines. Data has become a critical tool in this process, enabling manufacturing teams to streamline processes and navigate these challenges and uncertainties. However, merely having data is not enough. Just as ingredients require a recipe and skilful hands to craft a delicious meal or perfect bake, data in manufacturing requires interpretation and analysis to unlock its true potential. This is where LineView’s consultancy steps in, educating and empowering manufacturing teams by providing the right information, effective focus and appropriate action to deliver results to drive both immediate and long-term improvements across manufacturing lines

Attracting, retaining and engaging talent

Each business has its own set of unique challenges, and nobody understands these challenges better than the teams that operate the manufacturing lines. The sector is struggling to attract and retain skilled talent with manufacturing being one of the industries most impacted by labour shortages. Despite projections that 3.5 million new manufacturing jobs will be created by 2025, over two million of these are expected to go unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers. With younger employees increasingly prioritising their values and job satisfaction, attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent, whilst using team time efficiently becomes not only a necessity but a strategic imperative for manufacturing companies to succeed.

This is where Leading Excellence programs become important. These programs provide a strategic solution to address talent shortages and create a more sustainable workforce. By empowering strong leadership and supportive working environments whilst fostering a sense of value and boosting career progression, these programs can significantly improve team performance, elevate operational efficiency, and deliver exceptional customer service. In a sector facing fierce competition for talent and historically lower wages, investing in Leadership Excellence programs becomes a strategic differentiator.

Leveraging data

Actionable data also serves as a valuable resource for manufacturers, offering critical insights into line performance, production, and operational efficiency. However, the real challenge lies in interpreting and effectively utilising this wealth of data to drive meaningful improvements in manufacturing operations. An estimated 64% of manufacturers are still in the early stages of their digital transformation journey, unable to extend their digital activities due to a lack of the required skills and resources to mine their data for commercial value.

Tailored Line Balancing Optimisation (LBO) training is another tool that can support manufacturing teams. It is designed to equip manufacturing teams with the tools to balance operator and machine time effectively. With unplanned downtime costing typical businesses close to $125,000 per hour, these disruptions result in extensive profit losses but also hinder production capacity, preventing manufacturers from meeting fluctuating market demands. Through LBO training, manufacturers can streamline operations, minimise downtime, and unlock hidden efficiencies by focusing on improving control, accumulation, speed, start-up, and run-out times across lines.

By ensuring that team members are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to identify and implement LBO opportunities across the business, firms are then well-positioned to unlock additional capacity across multiple lines. For example, following two weeks of LineView’s LBO training Britvic PLC unlocked an immediate capacity increase of £2.9M, directly impacting their profitability, whilst also revealing a further 2.5M in capacity gains through enhanced control optimisation.

Empowering manufacturers for long term success

Not only does upskilling the team empower them to identify inefficiencies and implement solutions across entire organisations, but it also fosters job satisfaction which encourages sustained production efficiency through a commitment to continuous improvement.

Through their work with Britvic, LineView observed a noticeable difference in team motivation. Witnessing middle managers and senior team members actively involved in measuring progress across lines served as a powerful motivator for the teams, fostering a culture of support and growth throughout the organisation with a bottom-up approach. Engaging and energising teams to succeed is crucial, especially in the face of current labour shortages, as this not only increases employees’ satisfaction in their roles and productivity ensuring teams are maximising their time.

With downtime and labour shortages casting a shadow on manufacturing productivity and profitability, the need for streamlined processes and empowered teams has never been more pressing. Data holds immense potential to help manufacturers overcome these industry challenges by unlocking new possibilities and driving continuous improvement, but it requires skilful interpretation and analysis – which can only come from training and increased understanding. LineView’s consultancy offerings could be the solution, enabling manufacturers to understand how to transform raw data – which they already have at their fingertips – into actionable insights uncovering the true potential of their operations. Many companies find themselves sitting on a goldmine of data but struggle with the transition from raw information to refined commercial insight. A quick but comprehensive training programme is often all that’s needed to tap into significant capacity gains.

For more articles like this, visit our Industrial Data & AI channel.