Production optimization: 3 steps to more efficient production

8 May, 2023

Production optimization is simply about improving production using different methods and tools.

Optimizations can be physical improvements such as more strategic placement of machines. Similarly, they could involve technical initiatives such as digitization, which involves automating processes and workflows with digital solutions.

In this article, we focus on the latter, which mainly concentrates on implementing measures to increase task speed or reduce the probability of human error.

If you are a manufacturing company that has been less involved in digitization, we recommend that you first and foremost consider digitizing the following tasks:

  • Data collection
  • Labeling
  • Changeovers

Better data collection can optimize your production

If you manually collect your data from the production area, you should digitize your data collection. Besides saving time, you also minimize the risk of human error.

You can digitize your data collection with a Manufacturing Execution System (MES).

When you integrate MES with your machines and systems, you can collect real-time data across production. You can thus be sure that the data inputs you collect are correct.

In practice, this means you have all your real-time data in one data model, so you can more easily adapt your production planning based on your situation here and now.

This is particularly beneficial for those who produce food, medicines, or other products with strict documentation requirements.

Better traceability and reliable data is not the only benefit. For example, MES also makes it easier to identify deviations in production, so you always know where to take action.

  • When you automate your data collection, you optimize your production in three areas:
  • Optimized traceability across production
  • Deeper insight into your production here and now
  • Better basis for problem-solving

Production optimization with labeling automation

In many manufacturing companies data on labels are still entered manually. This means there is a risk of typing errors, which can be costly.

If labeling is still a manual task in your production, you have probably experienced that goods or entire shipments have been rejected or returned due to an error on the date label.

The digital alternative is an automated label management system. You can integrate your printers with your ERP system so that your printer automatically creates labels based on the information and setups that your parts lists contain.

Label management ensures that you:

  • Avoid human error during manual entry
  • Get implementation without coding
  • Reduce complexity of automated printing
  • Easily print labels from existing applications
  • Can connect label printers to PLCs and barcode scanners
  • Can print automatically from hardware devices

Optimize your production with efficient changeovers

Changeover is a term used to describe a change in production from producing one product to another. Specifically, it involves adapting production lines and machinery.

Depending on the products you produce, the process can be very time-consuming.

At the same time, it must be done according to the right procedures. The time during which your production is at a standstill is a major cost for your business, so it makes sense to reduce your changeover time with digitization.

You can do this by optimizing and digitizing all your changeover instructions.

Instead of physical paper sheets explaining what your employees should do, you can use digital tools to specify the task. For example, a checklist to ensure that your installers know exactly what steps they need to go through before the conversion is complete.

If you use MES, you will also be notified if a machine is misconfigured during the changeover. This enables you to quickly identify the fault, test your changeover and get your production up and running again.

Do you have any questions?

Digitization is inevitable in any modern manufacturing company. And we hope you have gotten an idea of the value that production optimization can bring to your business.

If you have any questions about how to digitize your production, you are always welcome to contact one of our specialized consultants.