Improving efficiencies is likely a top goal of every U.S. manufacturer in 2018, as doing so will increase profitability, reduce mistakes and improve process. However, with so many innovations in manufacturing, from robots that rival C-3PO to AI technology, it can be difficult to pinpoint tangible solutions that are easy to implement, and make an immediate impact on the production floor. Mobile power is an easy and effective way to increase productivity without making drastic changes to your layout or process.
To begin, mobile power comes in the form of a workstation that is movable, flexible, and battery powered. These stations are meant to hold and power computers, printers, scanners and more– enabling those on the manufacturing floor the ability to quickly access critical software and information from almost any point. They are easily deployed and can make an immediate impact from day one.
So, where to start? What are the tangible impacts of mobile power and how can they improve efficiency on the production floor?
- Reduce steps: Walking has always been a large part of the job for workers on the manufacturing floor. The problem — every step costs the plant efficiency measures, which in turn cuts into profits. As unnecessary motion is noted as one of the “7 Wastes of Lean” — eliminating motion can drastically impact your bottom line. The only thing one cannot buy in manufacturing is time, and the more walking, the more time is wasted. Mobile power gives employees mobility, and the opportunity to have key components on-hand — versus having to go back and forth to a static computer, printer or scanner. This brings the device to the work, eliminating steps and saving time. If you would like to know how much excess movement is costing your plant, you can easily calculate the waste using an online ROI calculator.
- Reduce the use of paper: Zebra Technologies reported that 62 percent of employees on the manufacturing floor use pen and paper to track vital manufacturing steps. This indicates far too many production floors aren’t as efficient as they should be. In 2018, paper is a liability, and the industry needs to eliminate its use to greatly improve the process. Mobile power provides access to popular manufacturing software such as ERP and MES, anywhere on the plant floor. By bringing laptops or tablets to the work, screens provide all the information an employee will need all in one place reducing paper, saving time and increasing efficiency. They don’t have to print off instructions or walk back and forth to a static computer to access important data.
- Eliminate mislabeling: In manufacturing complex devices, it is often critical to inspect and track multiple components along the production line. Even a slight error in this labeling process can be disastrous for the final outcome. In deploying mobile power on your floor, you are bringing the critical software to the components, and not the other way around. Not only does this streamline the process, but immediate access to software often cuts down on data entry and ensures that the correct label is automatically printed and affixed to the correct component. Equipment that is mounted to the floor, or pinned against a wall, creates more steps for employees and more room for errors due to all the back and forth. Cutting down mislabeling and quality errors will greatly impact the bottom line at year’s end.
- Improve safety: There are a lot of moving parts on the manufacturing floor, items such as extension cords and cable drops can be hazardous to employee safety and the overall functionality to the facility. Eliminating hazardous equipment and creating safer pathways for employees to do their jobs is not only creating a happier work environment, it’s also more efficient. Loose cords and clutter get in the way of productivity. Creating finished products is the goal on the production floor — not dancing around cords and stopping to clean up three times a day. A good measure to improve safety is implementing ergonomic equipment. Having the flexibility to tailor a workstation to an individual’s needs drastically cuts down on amount of loose cords and gives a production floor staff member everything they need in a condensed setting. In the case of the production floor, increased safety translates to increased speed and throughput.
- Retaining employees: As most business owners know, a trusted and hardworking employee is invaluable. Countless hours and dollars can be spent on bringing a new hire up to speed and that is why it is so important to retain your workforce. Mobile power creates a more employee-friendly environment as the eliminated motion, ease of use and reduced hassle enable staff to focus purely on their job. In eliminating the small “headaches” for an employee — you are enabling them to get their work done in a timelier, efficient and stress-free manner. This will help you to hold on to the people crucial to your business.
The goal of any manufacturing floor is to turn materials into finished goods in an efficient and timely manner so those goods can get to a retail store, business or an end user. Implementing tangible solutions, such as mobile power, can ensure that you are delivering on your promise as a manufacturer.
John O’Kelly is the founder and CEO for Newcastle Systems.