How to Increase Productivity

Improve Your Production Process to Improve Performance

A highly effective production system is a precise act. The system must juggle workflow demands, maintain quality, and keep costs to a minimum. This may not be as difficult as it sounds if you work smarter, not harder. The smart owner prevents re-dos and errors, speeds up the process, and reduces costs.

One core mistake I've seen made was looking for an outside solution before considering available resources. In most cases, companies can get more work out of people without diminishing quality, paying overtime, or causing a mutiny. For example, automating a manual task could free a worker to do other tasks. With a reworking of the job area, closely related tasks could be performed by one person instead of two. Simplifying the process by reconfiguring the steps or equipment or eliminating forms lets the workers accomplish more during a day. A detailed analysis of the workflow may even reveal steps that would be more cost-effective to outsource.

To organize your operations system into highly efficient processes that will leverage capabilities of your employees and equipment, it’s best to select each task or segment of production and study it from an objective point of view.

New processes begin by following these guidelines:

  • Observe the work in action and have the workers participate in the process development.
  • Create a process map (box and arrow diagram) to document the steps. Determine the time needed to produce the product or deliver the service. Start with the expected completion time and work backward to arrive at your timeline.
  • Review input, output, and costs.
  • Study the methods for accomplishing the work. Consider what equipment and supplies are used, what information is needed, the sequence of steps, how the workspace is used, and how many people are used at each step.
  • Look for improvements. Leave no stone unturned.
  • Are steps missing?
  • Can steps or forms be combined or eliminated?
  • Are the right people used at the right time?
  • Are more people necessary?
  • Should supplies or materials be moved or stored differently to increase efficiency?
  • Should the work area be rearranged to better handle the workflow? Is the equipment adequate?
  • Would a computer system create a necessary information connection between areas? 
  • Is the operating information at hand and easy to understand?
  • Chart the revised system.
  • Compare performance estimates from the revised system with those of the existing system and decide if the new system will work.
  • Give the revised system a trial run. Make modifications and implement.

Find out about the many ways to increase productivity and efficiency here.

You can also learn more about productivity in our blog post which discusses Increasing Profit through Productivity:

The Definitive Guide to Increasing Your Gross Margins