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How to increase Plant Productivity: Three Transformative Paths


Boosting productivity within the industrial sector presents a perennial challenge for factory owners, necessitating a comprehensive and methodically structured approach. The objective remains clear: to augment productive output. However, the methods to achieve this objective can greatly differ, with no single "correct" option but rather a solution that aligns closely with both business objectives and management preferences.

The strategies available to production management are diverse, comprising three primary avenues: firstly, the direct enhancement of infrastructure through investments aimed at expanding production lines and facilities. The remaining two strategies focus on maximizing the efficiency of existing machinery:

  • Implementing additional work shifts: A straightforward and calculable method to boost productivity is to increase the number of work shifts, thereby extending operational hours.
  • Pursuing digitalization: This approach seeks to optimize resource utilization, minimize waste, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

Each of these strategies brings its own set of advantages, yet they all demand careful consideration regarding time, cost, and their potential impact on the organization.


Why select for New Infrastructure and Expansions or Intensify Work Shifts

Companies can boost their productivity through either strategic investment in state-of-the-art infrastructure or by expanding their number of operational work shifts. This approach is considered "traditional": acquiring the latest machinery or expanding physical spaces to enhance production capacity aligns with conventional strategies employed by entrepreneurs in the manufacturing industry. Similarly, the addition of a second or third work shift is a well-established and proven method. Employing this strategy enables a significant increase in the maximum production capacity. Nonetheless, it should be noted that any existing inefficiencies or wasteful practices in the production process would likely be intensify.

The primary benefit of this approach is the immediate and significant boost in productivity it can deliver. Regarding the organization of shifts, the process to increase the number of shifts is relatively swift, leading to a production increase of 50% (transitioning from 2 to 3 shifts) or even doubling production (transitioning from a single shift to two). While establishing new production lines may take more time, the deployment of these lines typically occurs within a few months following the executive decision. The main challenges associated with these strategies are the costs, which increase in direct proportion to the growth in productivity. For investments in new infrastructure, the management should consider both additional employees cost and active depreciation of new machinery or buildings. Conversely, when introducing extra work shifts, the primary cost consideration only involves the hiring of additional personnel.



Why Choose the Path of Digitalization

Digitalization denotes leveraging digital technologies to implement informed changes within an existing business model, thereby unlocking new paths for value creation. This transformative process involves automating production processes, integrating information management systems, adopting cloud solutions and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The main aim of digitalization is to optimize the utilization of current facilities, enhancing their efficiency to approach maximum capacity without physically altering them.

In contrast to conventional methods of increasing production capacity or adding work shifts, digitalization emerges as a more progressive, albeit less immediate, strategy. Unlike the relatively straightforward calculation of returns from expanding production lines, which relies on more familiar and tangible data, assessing the benefits of digitalization demands a more nuanced approach. Digitalization consultants often draft a Digital Assessment, a comprehensive analysis delving into the company's operations, processes, and the movement of materials and employees. Producing a Digital Assessment might take up to three months, and it provides a critical overview for pinpointing inefficiencies and areas of improvement, suggesting precise actions to boost productivity.

Through Digital Assessment three principal advantages are highlighted: heightened operational efficiency, enhanced precision in data analysis, and markedly improved flexibility and scalability. By automating tasks and minimizing human error, digitalization markedly accelerates and refines the efficiency of operations. Data analysis becomes a pivotal component, enabling the identification of inefficiencies, forecasting potential failures, and fine-tuning maintenance routines. Moreover, digital solutions offer scalability, allowing businesses to grow with lower costs and shorter timeframes compared to traditional expansion investments.

Nonetheless, transitioning to digitalization can present significant challenges, primarily:

  1. Digital Assessment: The initial phase of analyzing to pinpoint specific needs and suitable solutions consumes substantial time and resources, delaying the observable effects on productivity.
  2. Organizational Change: Adopting digitalization necessitates a shift in corporate culture, fostering an environment of continuous learning and adaptability among employees. Introducing new operational frameworks into a setting entrenched in established methodologies can prove challenging.


Digitalization as Support for Investments and Organizational Changes

A synergistic approach involving digitalization, strategic investments, and organizational restructuring emerges as a highly effective strategy for boosting productivity and efficiency within companies. Digital technology plays a pivotal role, not only in enhancing existing processes but also in shaping future investment decisions through informed and strategic analysis. By conducting detailed data analysis, digitalization exposes the strengths and weaknesses of the current production setup, pinpointing areas where investments are likely to yield the greatest returns.

The combined effect of digitalizing existing production lines and expanding through new investments holds the promise of remarkable outcomes. Digitalization also has the capacity to uncover previously unnoticed critical issues in downstream processes following planned interventions. This highlights the importance of a well-conceived digital strategy, without which further investments may not lead to significant improvements in overall productivity. The deployment of IoT sensors, sophisticated data analysis platforms, and integrated technologies enables precise, real-time monitoring of machinery performance. This not only helps identify bottlenecks but also fosters a cycle of continuous improvement.

By applying digitalization cyclically and strategically, companies can implement incremental changes grounded in precise data analysis. This method guarantees ongoing and significant enhancements in operational efficiency, rendering the company more agile and competitive. It equips businesses to swiftly adjust to changes in the market and evolving customer demands.

Digitalization serves as a strategic catalyst, which, when combined with focused investments and organizational revamping, maximizes productivity, and underpins sustainable development and growth over the long haul. Elevating productivity in an industrial setting demands a well-rounded approach that integrates digitalization with the adoption of new technologies and infrastructural investments. Success hinges on tailoring these strategies to meet the unique requirements of the company, ensuring future flexibility and scalability. Rigorous analysis and meticulous planning are indispensable for optimizing investment returns and securing enduring growth.

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