Five Tips For Improving Manufacturing Facility Productivity

A new productivity guide from Tork is inspired by kaizen, the Japanese management philosophy that advocates all employees be engaged in improving a business.

Manufacturing facilities can increase their productivity by following the principles of kaizen, according to Equipped to Improve™ – A Guide to Improving Productivity. This free digital resource was developed by Essity, the global manufacturer of Tork® professional hygiene products, in collaboration with kaizen expert Jonas Svanäng.

kaizen productivity

Svanäng has studied kaizen firsthand and has applied the learnings at more than 100 global organizations. The digital guide offers the following tips for how to seamlessly implement a culture of continuous improvement and contribute to a sustainable competitive advantage:

  1. Focus on small changes. The kaizen approach is to make incremental changes that fit your current operations without having to completely overhaul your processes. Don’t start by asking big and daunting questions like “how can we improve our overall productivity?” Instead, identify smaller problems and take small, achievable steps towards resolving them.
  2. Empower your employees. Kaizen is about continuous improvement by everyone, every day and everywhere in the organization. Your operators are closest to the problems on your shop floor and most probably the ones who know what changes need to be made, but when their suggestions aren’t heard, motivation decreases.
  3. Ensure organizational buy-in. Kaizen is not a one-time fix, but an ongoing process. Which is why you need to engage everyone in the pursuit of improvement, every day, in all areas and departments. And make sure that your organization understands the importance of kaizen to your bottom line.
  4. Speak with data, manage with facts. Managers need facts and figures rather than guesses to be able to objectively analyze issues, quantify the benefits of suggested improvements, and get buy-in from management. So try to convey to your operators and team leaders the need to speak with data.
  5. Cleaning is checking. Autonomous Maintenance and Planned Maintenance Routines are pivotal in increasing the overall equipment effectiveness of your plant and its machinery.

“The goal of kaizen is to establish a culture of continuous improvement by changing behaviors,” said Svanäng. “When your company adopts a kaizen mindset where employees are given the opportunity to influence their workplace, it will lead to more motivated employees.”

Machine operators work closest to the areas where problems or unnecessary obstacles arise. Therefore, they play an integral part in preventing and improving productivity within the business.

Recent research from Tork shows that 89 percent of machine operators believe that “continuing to improve our preventive maintenance routines is important in my company” and 87 percent agree that “preventive maintenance reduces breakdowns of machines and lost production time.”¹

“We want to help companies improve preventive maintenance routines, especially those moving towards autonomous maintenance, by contributing with smart and innovative products that can improve efficiency and reduce waste,” said Jenny Turner, Marketing Director for Industry for Essity’s professional hygiene business. “Because we know small changes as part of continuous improvement initiatives can have a significant impact on quality, cost and delivery.”

To help optimize autonomous cleaning routines in industrial environments, Tork offers an assortment of professional wiping cleaning products as part of the Tork Performance® system. The system includes a variety of robust wipers, cleaning cloths, and dispensers that offer a range of mounting options, allowing them to be placed within convenient reach of the operator. As many as 89 percent of machine operators agree that “having robust, professional industrial wiper dispensers placed exactly where I need them would support efficient cleaning and preventive maintenance.”¹

You can learn more about how to implement a kaizen way of working at your manufacturing facility by downloading Equipped to Improve – A Guide To Improving Productivity.

¹ Source: Tork machine operator research carried out by Psyma (July 2019)

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