If you’re looking to speed up your assembly line, there are three basic strategies for doing so – namely, line pacing choice, strategic employee positioning, and worker incentives. However, you should bear in mind that efficiency also demands regular maintenance of your assembly line’s machinery in order to prevent breakdowns from occurring. Then again, the layout of your facility also plays a role, because workstations shouldn’t be too spaced out otherwise this will lead to diminished productivity.
Line pacing choice
One good strategy worth trying refers to line pacing choice. By allowing workers to maintain their own production rhythm, workers will be more productive. In contrast, those assembly lines where the pace is dictated by the speed of machines often lead to worker discomfort. As a result, workers can become disenchanted and their productivity will be reduced as a result. Therefore, most experts agree that workers who can pace themselves are much more satisfied and happier in their jobs, and this is key to boosting productivity.
Strategic employee positioning
With your workers working at their most comfortable pace, the supervisor can then try to position each employee strategically to optimize production so its more efficient. The trick is to arrange workers in a pattern that results in the maximum possible output. The exact positioning strategy will depend on your industry and the products being manufactured, which means your supervisors are probably better qualified to establish this than anyone else. It may be that this is a case of trial and error – if a bottleneck occurs anywhere in the line, simply move more workers to that place from another area to try and speed things up.
In keeping with this, another strategy is to place slower workers at the beginning of the line, with the fastest workers at the end. However, in some industries it may be better to place the fastest workers in the middle of the line, with slower workers at the beginning and the end of the line.
While many assembly line production processes are automated these days, it’s still important to keep workers motivated with incentives. Bonuses paid according to how much work is performed on each day are a great way to spur employees to work faster. You should also try to treat your workers well in general. After all, they may be unskilled and doing an incredibly boring job, but they’re still people. Treating them well goes a long way towards increasing productivity.
Last but not least, remember that machinery should never be neglected. You need to carry out periodic preventative maintenance to ensure nothing breaks down and brings production to a halt. Therefore, it is the job of the management to schedule regular maintenance checks for each machine. One strategy is to do this during scheduled downtime, or after hours when the assembly line shuts down.
SIAT is a worldwide supplier of packaging machines. With a large variety of different machines, they can support you with the right solution.