3 Overlooked Ways to Improve Shop Production
Written By James Simpson
We all want to avoid waste. In both your professional and business lives, waste equates to lost resources, be that time, money or material. Increasing your efficiency means also increasing your bandwidth: instead of spending your time doing what you want to do–designing or fabricating components, for example–you must undertake some repetitive tasks, like placing hangers or reworking designs. And with more open bandwidth, you can take on more projects.

Know the plan: Being efficient starts with a plan. Just as a building a structure has a plan–conception, design, construction–so too must you have a plan to work efficiently. This includes knowing who your team is, what the project is, and what your part is. Having access to up-to-date plans for your project is vital: you don’t want to be working off outdated specs. (Make sure you’re using  360 Sync to get the most recent files.) You should also develop a plan for your specific task.

Developing a plan and sharing it with your team helps cut down on material waste and it economically uses time to its most productive. Developing an effective plan means you’re ordering the right materials to arrive at the optimal time. You’ve also relieved yourself of another problem: how to get rid of the material waste.

Use the right tools: On the floor, a craftsman would never settle for whatever tool is available to do the job. He’d look for the right tool. So, the screwdriver isn’t going to be a substitute for a hammer, and a planer won’t be used to cut metal. The right tool can make the job a breeze, and it will cut down on accidents, and the workarounds needed to adapt the wrong tool will be avoided.

Even the tools in the office make a difference. Using a design software that automates repetitive tasks–like placing hangers or assembling schedules–can shave hours off a design project. Programs that integrate your operations–from ordering to inventory to invoicing–also speeds processing and cuts down on errors when incorporating shared data.

Check, and double-check: The adage “Measure Twice, Cut Once” is still widely quoted for a reason: it’s right. Double checking your work–and the work of your co-workers–stops errors before they can cause significant problems in the field. Checking work prevents the need for re-work in the field.

Having the ability to automatically check calculations and ensure consistency among the data. A software suite, like eVolve, allows you to work more efficiently by allowing you to designate predetermined sets of elements, updating these sets to ensure consistency. It cuts down on work by making sure changes are applied universally, eliminating the need to find and update individual sets by hand.

The true key to being more efficient, however, is consistency: Consistently implementing, practicing and promoting the application of tested procedures and checks.

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