Mistakes can happen, and errors are no stranger to the world of manufacturing. The more advanced and technological the manufacturing process becomes, the more apparent human error appears.
Although eliminating all manufacturing errors may not be a realistic option, there are ways to reduce the number of mistakes on the assembly line. Aiming to minimize mistakes is a step in the right direction, and we’re here to help you understand why errors occur and how they can be reduced to improve precision along your assembly line.
Why do manufacturing errors occur?
The simplest way to understand why errors occur is because humans make mistakes; there is an unfortunate natural unreliability in our actions. This unreliability can lead to problems in the manufacturing process — if the human element isn’t considered.
Most assembly lines have individuals responsible for verifying the quality as they come down the assembly line. However, relying solely on human inspectors to detect errors in the assembly process is inefficient.
Rather than focusing time on detecting errors, manufacturing and assembly line processes should be designed to prevent mistakes before they occur. Luckily, there are several ways to develop a manufacturing process that reduces the overall rate of errors.
Appropriate Training and Qualifications
The process of training workers and operators within a manufacturing facility should never be limited to the way their job should be completed and the tools required. Training requires a thorough understanding of the overall processes involved and an understanding of why the job is completed the way it is.
Jobs along an assembly line do not function independently; instead, they are part of a chain of processes and tasks which come together to produce a final result. By understanding how one job fits in with the overall manufacturing process, workers will have a much better understanding of how errors on their part can affect other connected functions.
Training should not be limited to the classroom or online videos and tests. It should involve as much hands-on experience as possible to improve worker preparedness and become familiar with the conditions in which they will be working. When workers are adequately trained and qualified to perform their job, the chances of error are significantly reduced.
Communication is Key
Communication is one of the most important aspects of any workplace, and manufacturing facilities are no exception. Communication allows workers to convey information, instructions, and opinions between them and is one of the best tools to reduce errors.
Communication and feedback can help clarify things that some workers may misunderstand, and it’s a great way to collaborate with others to bring unity to the team. Communication should always remain universal and should be able to take place easily across the entire system to increase precision manufacturing.
A specified mode of communication should be outlined so that all workers from all shifts and groups can easily communicate critical information to one another promptly. Lines of contact should always be open between workers and management. Everyone should feel comfortable expressing their concerns so that solutions can be offered as quickly as possible. Implementing a universal communication system can certainly reduce the chances of errors along assembly lines and manufacturing facilities overall.
Human Management Systems
Human management systems spanning the company allow individuals to have a bird’s eye view of the entire manufacturing process and track its aspects. Social management systems are essential to monitoring performance and identifying risks before they propagate through the assembly line.
A sound management system increases the cohesiveness, unity, and integration of all processes to ease all systems’ tracking and management. Whether the project is related to manufacturing or not, a strong project management team should always be in place to oversee all aspects of the system and ensure smooth functioning and accurate final results. Human management systems should remain the central focus of all manufacturing facilities to judge current manufacturing processes, offer solutions, and reduce errors.
Assembly lines and manufacturing facilities are home to many types of machinery, each of which requires regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. Production is highly dependent on powerful machines, which is why routine maintenance operations are crucial.
Rather than merely waiting for technological malfunctions to occur, perform regular maintenance to reduce the chances of significant and costly machine failures. Operators who work closely with different machines are encouraged to contribute to their care because they usually know how they function. All machinery should undergo regular maintenance to detect any deficiencies and repair them before they begin to affect assembly line processes, product quality and increase the error rate.
Poka-Yoke is a system designed to help reduce the rate of errors in the manufacturing industry. Poka-Yoke mechanisms stop mistakes before they occur — or make them very inconspicuous — decreasing the need for rework.
Many different types of Poka-Yoke devices exist. These electronic devices can serve many functions — such as not activating the assembly process until the right part has been installed in the correct position. Processes remain at a halt until errors are corrected, significantly reducing the rate of errors in the assembly process.
Without appropriate supervision, things can go awry. All areas of the manufacturing process should be supervised. All supervisors should be helpful and resourceful to ensure greater productivity and accuracy of work. Supervisors should aim to provide all workers with accurate instructions and briefings before beginning their work and the risks to avoid. Supervisors are essential for reducing errors by keeping an eye on all processes and correcting any mistakes as soon as they appear.
Incorporate the Human Element
As mentioned, humans have a natural tendency to be inconsistent. Even with all the precautions and efforts taken, humans can fatigue and fail. For this reason, all processes in the manufacturing environment should take the human element into account.
Understanding and taking humans’ shortcomings into account when designing manufacturing processes is vital to reduce the risk of severe and irreparable errors. Manufacturing processes should be designed as thoroughly as possible, with minimal mental calculations and physical strain to avoid workers experiencing muscle fatigue and mental exhaustion.
Individual workers and their respective tasks and duties should be regularly evaluated to ensure that the process is free of errors. All assessments and evaluations must look at the individual workers and the task at hand to determine if any changes or improvements need to be made to reduce the error rate.
All processes and tasks should be evaluated to ensure that they are not too mentally or physically exhausting for those who complete them. They must be redesigned to lessen the workload, or the work broken-up over several shifts. Strenuous and laborious work can impact human performance and increase the risk of errors, which is why all individuals should be evaluated regularly.
Errors in the manufacturing process can impact the quality of the products that result from them, which can negatively impact customer satisfaction. However, the rate of errors can be reduced if manufacturing facilities implement a few simple changes, such as careful supervision and regular evaluations, and maintenance.
We know that errors in the manufacturing process can be costly, and in many cases, avoidable, which is why we offer tools and equipment of the highest quality to help get the job done right.
To learn more about how to reduce errors in your manufacturing line, call Delta Regis tools at 1(888) 733-3142 or contact us here.