Identifying production inefficiencies to unlock ‘hidden’ profits

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Manufacturing, Industry

A consultant for UK-based factory profitability experts Marco explains how he helped a flavours and fragrance manufacturer identify key areas of its business where inefficiencies could be easily targeted.

“I see my job as being the translator of actual factory floor requirements into accurate information that I can pass onto our software and hardware teams,“ ​said Peter Hill, profitability expert.

"Over the years, I’ve found customers want to talk with someone who understands their requirements, but who doesn’t tie them up in knots with lengthy ‘techie speak’.”

Hill’s expertise lies in specifying computer software programmes that can be used to help identify and instigate production efficiencies, which meant his dialogue with the flavours and fragrance company revolved around the company’s IT department.

Targeting a more cohesive production process

“Although the manufacturer has reasonably efficient individual processes, these are not being ‘glued’ together and they are experiencing unaccountable losses as products transfer from one area of the factory to another,” he said.

“The main reason is the lack of real time and coherent factory floor data being made available. Unfortunately their ERP system is only capable of monitoring raw materials arriving at goods inwards and finished product at goods out, not what happens in between.”

Hill says his position allows him greater perspective, giving him the wider picture, enabling him to identify areas of weakness in the business operations with greater ease.

Manual and automated processes leave gaps

In the flavours and fragrance industry those weaknesses are often down to areas of the production process that are not fully automated, which places extra strain on key areas such as formulation control.

Hill says his visit to the production facility and the subsequent meeting with the IT manager helped to identify the most pertinent areas of inefficiency that needed to be addressed.

“Although the manufacturer has reasonably efficient individual processes, these are not being ‘glued’ together and they are experiencing unaccountable losses as products transfer from one area of the factory to another.

“The main reason is the lack of real time and coherent factory floor data being made available. Unfortunately their ERP system is only capable of monitoring raw materials arriving at goods inwards and finished product at goods out, not what happens in between.”

Dysfunction and a lack of knowledge

Indeed, during his visit Hill identified two of the most commonly found shortfalls in factory production for this business area : dysfunction and a lack of knowledge.

“No matter what the industry, the typical problems are mirrored throughout. Manufacturers are under pressure to be leaner, more accountable and more profitable, whilst being expected to provide greater traceability.”

Peter Hill has identified a series of ‘top tips for profitability’ for manufacturers that can be downloaded from the Marco website by clicking here.

Related topics: Business & Financial

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