5 Tips to Achieve Operational Excellence in Manufacturing

Operational excellence (OE) is defined as a philosophy that results in continuous improvement throughout an organization. If a company and its team have the desire to help the business succeed, they have already begun the journey toward OE. Met2Plastic’s continued success is, in part, due to the implementation of sound OE principles. The following five tips are designed to help manufacturers follow the path toward OE.

1. Invest in new technologies and equipment

Investing in new technologies and equipment demonstrates a company’s commitment to continually improve. New technologies expand capabilities and allow a company to attract its ideal customers.

Met2Plastic is currently investing in automation technology for downstream assembly operations, additional molding machines to expand its cleanroom molding capabilities, and CNC milling machinery as well as EDM equipment.

2. Foster a culture of continuous improvement

Employee relationships are pertinent to achieving operational excellence. Sharing performance goals with employees is a way for them to take an active part in continuous improvement activities. Foster those relationships by working as a team and leading by example.

Met2Plastic emphasizes working as a team to achieve monthly goals. The goals are displayed on the shop floor and are updated daily to keep everyone motivated. Rewarding achievements shows that employee efforts are appreciated. Employees who feel their hard work is acknowledged are more likely to genuinely strive to maintain those goals.

3. Benchmark best practices

Learning from others in the industry is a smart way to achieve operational excellence. Adopt best practices from the leaders who have proven success implementing new and different ideas.

Through its involvement in MAPP (Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors) and AMBA (American Mold Builders Association), Met2Plastic has hosted and regularly attents plant tours to benchmark its operations with other injection molders and moldbuilders. MET also participates in industry surveys and uses the data to develop improvement opportunities in its own operation.

4. Invest in a superior ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system

Even if a company is small, it cannot be managed simply by email and phone calls. Keeping track of information and accessibility to that information is especially important for the manufacturing industry.

Met2Plastic focuses on lower volume, high mix programs. With over 500 active parts and over 2000 BOMs to juggle, the IQMS ERP system is used to ensure the continual delivery of high quality products. The software is used to manage the material planning, production scheduling, and delivery process. Using the software helps MET achieve their 99.5%+ average on-time delivery rating, despite the high complexity of their product mix.

5. Encourage employees to make suggestions

Not only will they get a voice within the organization, management will receive valuable suggestions for improvement from people with first-hand experience. Again, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and emphasizing team work can lead to opportunities for improvement.

Part of MET’s daily floor meeting often includes a brainstorm session with production team members to determine what can be done to improve a process. Team members regularly make suggestions to improve a process, whether it be process setting adjustments or changes to the flow of a product. One member recently suggested combining two operations into single operation, which has resulted in an annual time savings of more than 100 hours.

Operational excellence means adopting best practices, having a culture of continuous improvement, and utilizing the latest technologies in products and production methods. These five tips are guidelines Met2Plastic actually follows to achieve operational excellence. What are other principles your company follows to achieve operational excellence?

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