First Step for Improving Factory Efficiency

A factory owner asked - I know our factory efficiency is low. To improve my factory efficiency what should I do first?

improving factory efficiency

In case you are not measuring line efficiency and factory efficiency, the first step would be measuring the existing factory efficiency. Remember "what gets measured, gets improved". So, you can not avoid this step.

If you are already measuring line efficiency and factory efficiency, your first step would be capturing off-standard time (non-productive time) where your standard time is not being utilized. This data will show you where the improvement potential is lying.

Measuring factory efficiency

To measure and calculate the factory efficiency you first need to calculate line wise daily efficiency. Check the post on calculating daily line efficiency. Note, you can calculate line efficiency based on the line output quantity. Another way of calculating line efficiency is calculating individual operators produced SAM and summing up to get total SAM produced by the line. 

Identify factors affecting line efficiency

Next step, identify the factors that are affecting your line efficiency. There may be many reason for having low line efficiency.

The major problem effecting factory efficiency are listed in this article. From that list, pick 2 reasons and work on those for eliminatimg from the process. When elimination is not possible, reduce the frequecy of the such factors.

Here are a few tips for improving line efficiency
  1. Capture lost time hours and convert those lost time into standard time by increasing utilization of on-standard hours.
  2. Do advanced line planning and intimating line supervisors and production coordinator about the new style loading date, order qty and production running duration with prodcution volume for each line.
  3. Reduce line set-up time. You can set-up a line for a new style (model) faster if your supervisors, machine maintennace and industrial engineers are prepared in advance for the new style loading.
In my earlier article, 20 ways of improving productivity in a garment factory, I have listed the steps that can be used for productivity improvement. You can apply the same step for improving line efficiency.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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