There are many moving parts involved in any manufacturing business, both literally and figuratively. In terms of productivity, however, there are two main components every company must consider: machinery and labor.

Machines and employees must work together in a variety of ways in order to manufacture goods in an efficient and productive manner. Companies producing goods for clients or the consumer public must find ways to keep prices competitive and meet the demand for supply.

However, they must rely on others to make this happen. How can manufacturers ensure that their operations are functioning at optimal efficiency and that employees are performing at peak productivity levels?

There are many ways to go about addressing these issues, but you may be surprised to learn that machine monitoring can help you to better understand issues in your production cycle and the role employees play, either purposely or unwittingly, in hampering the process. How can machine monitoring improve employee productivity? Here are a few ways.

Optimal Machine Productivity
The first thing machine monitoring does is help to improve machine productivity. Your busy workers could be operating at maximum capacity, but if machinery isn’t functioning as it should, productivity could wane.

At the very least, utilizing machine monitoring software could help your manufacturing organization to pinpoint machine-based problems related to maintenance, processes, programming, quality and factors that have little to do with the human element of your operations. When you understand why machinery isn’t delivering the anticipated output, it could allow your employees to reach their productivity goals more easily.

The last thing you want is to take out your frustrations on employees that are working their hardest when, in fact, machinery issues are holding up the process. Giving employees the best opportunity to perform at peak capacity means ensuring that the machinery isn’t holding them back.

Tracking and Analysis
If you want to know why you’re not reaching production goals, you need to gather data about how your manufacturing plant is operating month-to-month, day-to-day, and even moment to moment.

Machine monitoring software allows you to measure output and gain insight into on and off cycles (when production is occurring and when it’s not), as well as break down data into categories like scheduled uptime (during hours of operation), scheduled downtime (when the plant is closed or planned maintenance occurs), and unscheduled downtime (when productivity wanes).

This data can not only help you to pinpoint problems with machinery, but also with human input. You’ll have to learn how to analyze data properly, but it gives you a springboard from which to begin your investigation of operational performance at every level. Measuring and reporting on machine performance can provide important data needed to assess employee performance.

There are multiple ways in which machine monitoring, notifications and manufacturing dashboards raise awareness. First, employees that know they’re being monitored are likely to put in extra effort. At the very least, they’ll pay more attention to what they’re doing, which is likely to boost productivity to a degree, if not significantly.

Machine monitoring and reporting also raises awareness at the management level. When managers are able to compare output and examine every detail of operations over time, it’s easy to spot patterns and inconsistencies. This is the basis for Kaizen events and making changes that will increase both machine and employee productivity.

Correlating Inefficiency
Once monitoring software is in place, it’s simple enough to begin the process of discovering where inefficiencies are occurring. Suppose you notice unscheduled downtime, when machinery is neither offline nor undergoing scheduled maintenance or repairs.

This is an opportunity to put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and go sleuthing. In some cases, the machinery itself could be the problem. However, you may also discover that poor planning, inefficient processes, or simple human error is to blame.

With this knowledge in hand you can plan better in the future, reconfigure processes to eliminate unnecessary steps, and consider how to train employees so that similar errors don’t reoccur. The more you know about why inefficiency exists, the more opportunity you have to improve operations.

Implementing Changes
With proper monitoring and reporting, you can get both an overview of your manufacturing operation and delve into more detailed examinations of parts and labor. This needn’t necessarily create an environment of fear for employees, who may feel like they’re constantly under surveillance.

Instead, present it as an opportunity for everyone to improve and become more capable and confident in their role. When problems can be identified and addressed, it is to the benefit of all. A manufacturing operation that runs smoothly and efficiently leads to fewer mistakes and less stress for employees, greater job security, and improved productivity and profit overall.