Women inspector checking production line

10 Ways Plastics Manufacturers Can Cut Costs, Keep Quality High, and Deliver on Demand

Aug. 6, 2018
Here are 10 ways you can cut costs, keep quality high, and deliver on demand.

The breadth of products you make as well as the endless number of applications for your products, means that the markets you serve are complex and constantly changing. You face unique demands around quality, timeline, regulatory compliance, and cost. 

While reducing costs and maintaining high quality may be enough to keep you afloat, you’ll need to do more to grow your business and edge out the competition. 

Here are 10 ways you can cut costs, keep quality high, and deliver on demand:

  1. Identify your most common quality issues. You’ll be able to contain the scope of tainted products. This will help you minimize recalls and reduce your non-compliance exposure.
  2. Establish full tracking around mold/die management and maintenance. With complete visibility into these processes, you’ll make much smarter use of your tools for a greater ROI on your investment in equipment. 
  3. Use attribute-based finite scheduling. Let’s face it: scheduling is incredibly complex for plastics and rubber manufacturers. Doing your finite scheduling on an attribute-based model can help you minimize changeovers and cleaning times.
  4. Report on inventory movement in real time. Find a solution that offers barcoded labeling and packaging to help you ensure you’re always delivering the right materials to customers. 
  5. Empower your operators. Give your operators a control panel that allows them access to manufacturing execution system (MES) functions that guide them through critical tasks. 
  6. Track overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) in real time. Here’s another area where a modern manufacturing system can really help you. Look for a solution that also tracks flow rate, cycle times, and other production data. This is key to driving continuous improvements. 
  7. Don’t forget about inventory levels. Bloated inventory levels don’t have to be part of the cost of doing business. You can gain a competitive advantage over many of your peers by using technology to optimize inventory. You’ll not only save money, but also avoid the delays and disruptions caused by stockouts. 
  8. Connect your entire supply chain in the cloud. On-premise supply chain management (SCM) solutions tend to produce data siloes that keep stakeholders from seeing the complete picture. Cloud-based SCM, on the other hand, can deliver real-time self-service capabilities that foster greater collaboration.
  9. Go deeper with your supply chain planning. When you can forecast demand reliably and balance it with capacity, you’ll have a much easier time delivering on SLAs—even in a highly volatile market.
  10. Increase the flexibility of your master schedule updates. The right technology can help you make timelier course corrections.

If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your manufacturing business—but we’ve only scratched the surface. See how the Plex Manufacturing Cloud can help you become a world-class, award-winning plastics manufacturer. Download our solution overview.

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