No matter what industry you work in, as a facility manager you’re likely feeling the constant pressure of trying to stay ahead of your competitors. In terms of sales, in terms of customers, in terms of profits, in terms of productivity and output – competition is fierce.
And it isn’t slowing down.
There are many factors to look at when it comes to creating an effective, efficient plant. From the machinery you’re using to the processes you’ve implemented, every decision you make ultimately plays a role in making your facility operate as efficiently as possible.
But with so much to manage, it can be easy to overlook opportunities for added efficiency.
Opportunities to Increase Facility Efficiency
There are a lot of ways to help keep your company moving in the right direction when it comes to maintaining a high level of efficiency, no matter what you’re producing or who your customer base is.
We’ve assembled a list of some key places most facility managers can look for new efficiency opportunities. If you’re feeling like it’s time to make some changes for the better at your plant, this list is a great resource to get you started.
1. Equipment Upgrades
Machinery is perhaps one of the most obvious things to take a look at when it comes to increasing efficiency, but it can also be one of the most intimidating because of the cost and logistics involved in upgrading.
Though industrial equipment is expensive, if you’re looking to increase efficiency, it’s well worth the investment. While costly up front, replacing an outdated, inefficient system with high efficiency equipment can provide you with significant savings (in terms of money and energy/resource use) in the long run that will far outweigh the initial expense.
Logistically speaking, planning ahead for an equipment upgrade can minimize downtime and ensure that your facility stays ahead of the game despite pressing pause to implement new machinery. And, once your facility is back up and running with the new equipment in place, you’ll likely notice a world of difference.
2. Process Improvement
The way things are done in many workplaces often feels permanent, but the truth is that the processes and workflows used are some of the most flexible aspects of a business. They are also great places to look for new opportunities for efficiency.
Take a careful look at the systems you have in place, keeping an eye out for outdated procedures and unnecessary steps involved in key processes. Are there opportunities to improve teamwork in order to increase efficiency? Are there certain steps where there might be too many people involved, bogging down productivity? Are there areas where communication could be improved?
Additionally, take a look at the mechanical processes going on in your plant. Can you adjust your systems to make them more efficient? Often, implementing a waste heat recovery unit is a great way to do this. Does it make sense to consider a waste heat economizer in order to reduce energy consumption and repurpose waste heat? (Find answers to common questions about waste heat economizers here.)
Every industry is constantly evolving and in order to keep efficiency up. The processes and procedures used at your facility need to keep up with that evolution. Make it a point to regularly review the processes you rely on to get things done and cut out the deadwood.
3. Maintenance Practices
Establishing maintenance practices, or improving upon those you already have in place, is a relatively easy way to increase efficiency.
Regular equipment maintenance can keep your facility running more efficiently by:
- Keeping equipment in excellent working condition
- Enabling you to identify and rectify potential issues before they occur
- Helping you to detect ongoing issues more quickly
- Assisting you in predicting, planning, and budgeting for upcoming repairs and upgrades
4. Training Opportunities
Equipment and procedures aren’t the only things that can impact efficiency. Your employees can as well – in significant ways!
While it can be tempting to eliminate training opportunities in order to keep employees focused at the tasks at hand, working regular, relevant training into employee schedules can be another way to keep efficiency up at your facility.
From exploring new ways to do things to learning about a new piece of equipment so workers can operate it effectively from the get-go, investing in employee education has a myriad of benefits. It can introduce new ideas that have the potential to improve efficiency, and can help to keep your facility running smoothly.
Training is also good for employee morale, which may help you to reduce turnover and retain talented, skilled workers for the long run – another potential contributor to increased efficiency at your facility!
5. Spare Parts Management System
If you rely on heavy duty industrial equipment to get the job done at your facility on a daily basis, then it’s important to be prepared for when things go wrong, especially from an efficiency standpoint. You don’t want productivity to be at a standstill for any longer than it has to be when a piece of equipment fails or a part needs to be replaced.
As a result, if you haven’t done so already, it’s a great idea to implement a spare parts management program. Having a system like this in place can help you reduce downtime when issues arise, can help to reduce the expenses associated with equipment repairs, and help to keep your business ahead of the game. (You can learn more about the benefits of a spare parts management program here.)
If you already have a spare parts management system in place, it’s a good idea to revisit this system to ensure that:
- Your strategy is still up to date based on your facility’s current systems and equipment
- The parts you have on hand are the ones you’ll likely need
- You have invested in parts for any new pieces of equipment you’ve implemented
- You have replaced parts that have been used during previous repairs
6. Established Procedures for Plant Shutdown Management
Plant shutdowns are sometimes inevitable. Whether or not they’re planned, they have a huge impact when it comes to efficiency.
While you may not be able to prevent plant shutdowns entirely, you can increase efficiency in these instances by being well prepared to manage the shutdowns when they do occur. Having a well thought out plan in place will help to ensure that your facility can get back on its feet as quickly as possible after a planned or unplanned pause in plant operations.
Steps Towards Increasing Your Plant’s Efficiency
There are dozens of factors to look at when it comes to facility efficiency, but these are a handful to start with if you’re a plant manager looking for efficiency enhancements that have the potential to provide a significant return on investment.
If you rely on industrial heating equipment and you’re looking to improve efficiency, the team at American Heating Company can help! We manufacture some of the most efficient thermal fluid heaters on the market. They require minimal maintenance, last for decades, and can be customized to suit your facility’s specific needs.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions or inquiries about improving efficiency. We work with plants and facilities in numerous industries and we’re passionate about helping our clients and customers find ways to stay ahead of the game when it comes to efficiency.
Interested in learning more about why efficient industrial heating is important? Find out why it’s well worth it to invest in increasing efficiency.
Curious about how our heating equipment can help your facility reach its efficiency goals? Learn about some of the key advantages of our state of the art industrial hot oil heaters and heating systems.