Throughput is defined as the total number of units produced during a specific time frame. It is a common KPI used by manufacturers to track their production rates and ensure that they are using their capacity effectively. A low throughput can significantly impact profits, so manufacturers are often looking for manufacturing strategies that can increase throughput.
Ways to Increase Manufacturing Throughput
- Analyze workflow – the first step in increasing throughput is to get a clear picture of the current production process from start to finish. This means analyzing the entire workflow including all involved employees, equipment, and processes with added focus on which specific steps may have the most impact on throughput capacity.
- Address bottlenecks – identifying and then remedying the bottlenecks that are preventing the manufacturing process from operating as efficiently as possible will help to increase throughput. Collecting real-time data from the machines throughout the throughput process is the best way to locate the bottlenecks quickly.
- Reduce downtime – unplanned downtime can lead to lower throughput capacity because the machines are not operating at their optimal level. Constant machine monitoring and preventative maintenance are effective strategies for reducing downtime and increasing throughput.
- Improve quality control – manufacturing throughput is lowered when there are defective parts that have to be thrown away. Changing the inspection process in order to spot and fix potential errors faster can help make the production process run more smoothly and increase throughput.
- Train employees – well-trained employees who are aware of the entire production process (and not just the one part they may be responsible for) will have a better understanding of how their specific actions can impact the rest of the assembly line. They can also identify areas where changes can be made to make the process more efficient resulting in improved throughput.
Automate – many manufacturing strategies are beginning to include automation. Automating and monitoring processes along the assembly line can mitigate the risk of human error and make the entire manufacturing process more efficient.