As the poet Alexander Pope once said, “to err is human.” This is an easy phrase to recite when someone misspells a word in an email or trips over their feet. It’s a little more difficult to accept when the error involves losing profits because you accidentally created faulty products.
Human error is unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to minimize it as much as possible. Our tips for reducing errors in the manufacturing process will help.
Update to Automated Equipment
One of the simplest ways to reduce human error in manufacturing is to limit the human component. In other words, you can aim to use automated machinery as much as possible. There are several types of automation you can utilize in manufacturing. A few include:
- Fixed automation: Automation where machinery performs one function.
- Programmable automation: Automation where you can program machinery to perform different functions.
- Flexible automation: A programmable automation system where you can change the program quickly for a shorter turnover time.
When you know what type of automation will work best for your business, you’ll have an easier time deciding on types of equipment. For instance, let’s say you’re deciding between machinery with microcontrollers or PLCs. Microcontrollers are better for fixed automation, while PLCs are better for more complex automation.
But even the most automated company still has human workers and should. You should seek to reduce errors from the moment new staff members enter your payroll by improving your training systems. This will help build good habits and communication from the beginning.
Training shouldn’t end after employees get acclimated to their new position either. This is especially true if you introduce new equipment. Having refresher training courses will help keep processes fresh in employees’ minds to reduce easily avoidable errors.
Revise Your Reporting Policy
Sometimes, the best policy for reducing errors is to have contingency plans for when errors occur. After all, the only thing worse than an error is an unreported error that results in bigger problems down the line.
You should encourage employees to report errors that they catch right away and refrain from enacting harsh penalties to avoid this. This way, employees won’t try to avoid reporting them to save their jobs. In turn, it’ll be easier to catch errors.