The act of making adjustments that make interaction more effective and improve systems is known as process optimisation.
Process optimisation is crucial to achieving greater efficiency, regardless of the industry or sector to which it is applied, as improvement techniques are essential for perfecting manufacturing and design tasks. In this article, we will look at what it is and the benefits it provides.
What is process optimisation?
Process optimisation is a set of activities aimed at increasing the productivity of the system, as well as improving the various steps and techniques. It can be used in most manufacturing operations for almost any production process, such as the optimisation of a new lubricant in a production process achieved by our team, in order to achieve greater efficiency both in the final product and in all its stages.
The goal is to produce great results, with the highest possible quality, using as few resources as possible, including time. In this respect, process optimisation often includes the elimination of unnecessary steps and the introduction of innovations.
It has much in common with continuous improvement, the aim of which is to continuously improve processes, products or services.
This is not only achieved by using models, analyses, prioritisation and measurements that increase productivity, but also involves optimisation of equipment, improvement of processes, protocols, application of new methods and techniques, industrial innovation, layout of facilities, transport and so on.
In fact, process optimisation often involves the introduction of improvements in a number of areas, such as machinery, control loops, quality monitoring, maintenance scheduling, etc., resulting in processes that are generally more efficient.
Steps to carry out process optimisation
The first step is always to identify what needs to be improved. Process optimisation usually covers three main areas:
- Equipment optimisation, i.e. ensuring that all tools work as efficiently as possible.
- Optimisation of operating procedures, i.e. standardising operating procedures based on what is most efficient and delivers the best results.
- Control optimisation, i.e. ensuring that the control loops that manage the processes do not overlap and are as efficient as possibl4
2. Analyse current workflows
Workflows should be carefully examined from three perspectives:
On the one hand, determine whether the staff is adequate and possesses the necessary skills. On the other hand, it will be necessary to evaluate the processes in order to discover the obstacles that are preventing them from running smoothly. And finally, consider whether the tools and technology being used can be improved.
3. Modernise technology
Once the current workflows have been mapped out, it is time to modernise and improve the technology being used. For example, by implementing process improvement, automation and upgrading obsolete equipment and materials with innovative developments.
Automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks is one of the best ways to improve quality and consistency, ensure compliance and reduce costs, while freeing employees to focus on more complex activities that further advance process optimisation.
4. Monitor and control
Once all the improvements necessary for the optimisation of industrial processes are in place, it is time to keep the changes introduced under control and ensure their smooth running and efficiency.
Methodologies to promote process optimisation
The optimisation of industrial processes can be approached using different strategies. However, there are two working dynamics that are very effective, as we will see below.
Continuous improvement, also known as Kaizen, is one of the most widely used quality management methods in industry. It aims to improve productivity, quality, costs and delivery times gradually and iteratively, rather than with a single, large-scale transformation.
Continuous improvement comprises these phases:
- Collect suggestions and identify problems.
- Implementing suggestions to solve problems.
- Monitoring and learning by evaluating the effectiveness of new applications and developments.
Performance support is a method for improving production processes based on learning by doing. It consists of creating learning situations adapted to practical needs at times that require it. For example, when finding innovative solutions.
Benefits of optimising industrial production processes
Process optimisation linked to continuous improvement is a philosophy that eliminates inefficient ways of working to achieve greater productivity and time savings, both at the individual and organisational level. In addition, end products can be brought to market faster, with the resulting competitive advantage.
Thanks to a thorough and regular analysis of industrial processes, problems can be detected and solved in advance, future failures can be predicted, product quality can be improved and workflows can be streamlined accordingly.
In addition, process optimisation also has an impact on key product characteristics such as performance, service life, ease of use and safety.
When you add all these benefits together, what you get is increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, turnover and, of course, product profitability.
With the help of our material innovation experts, you can achieve the process optimisation your products need to achieve higher quality and efficiency. Looking for a solution? Contact INFINITIA Industrial Consulting and tell us about it.