How to Unlock Value on the Manufacturing Floor by Digitizing Your Continuous Improvement Program

Written by: Emily Himes
1/25/2023

Read Time: 3 min

The problems manufacturing organizations have greatly evolved over the past couple of years. Today, heightened supply chain concerns and labor shortages are among the most pressing issues affecting manufacturing plant floors, but most surveys of senior manufacturing leaders show that they don’t feel confident in overcoming these constraints. The inflexibility of antiquated manufacturing systems makes it difficult to tackle these challenges. Competitive pressures and production complexities make it more important than ever to leverage high-value solutions to better understand your data, increase efficiency, meet production and cost targets deliver expected cost reductions.

Providing companies with the tools to bolster their Continuous Improvement (CI) programs allows them to provide actionable and timely information to frontline workers, encouraging them to identify and target their efforts at the highest priority issues. The results of focusing on these key bottlenecks are extended across the enterprise as frontline workers feel empowered to unlock financial and operational improvements.

What Does Digitalized Continuous Improvement Look Like?

Tracking problems, no matter when or where they arise, is essential. And focusing on the correct problem – which may not be the loudest or most obvious one – is the real key to unlocking change. But traditional manufacturing software is often hindered by fragmented processes and siloed systems. Digital closed-loop systems are much more agile – allowing manufacturing floors to focus on critical bottlenecks and identify the root causes of time loss. This helps streamline the process to concentrate solely on the issues that limit plant output.

Bottleneck Analysis

Bottleneck analysis allows you to automatically identify top constraint priorities and uncover opportunities to dramatically increase efficiency. Knowing where to focus your organization’s time and effort is an integral part of maintaining seamless production processes. Many organizations can identify their primary bottleneck; however, they do not understand why it’s a bottleneck. Gaining insights on whether the issue is tied to downtime, product mix, quality, or cycle time enables rapid improvement and increased throughput.

Just like today’s manufacturing and supply chain concerns, bottlenecks are dynamic. Once they have been identified, understanding their relationship to one another can be a manual and challenging process. A primary bottleneck might evolve into a secondary one depending on the day, meaning organizations must know when to shift their focus from one concern to another. By implementing bottleneck and performance analysis, manufacturing plant floors can increase efficiency by up to 20%, resulting in millions of dollars in impact.

Performance Analysis

After you identify the bottlenecks slowing your production, analyzing root causes is the first step in eliminating them. By focusing on patterns when losses occur, teams can better understand their problems and adjust their processes accordingly. Performance analysis helps manufacturers focus on the critical issues that matter the most, allowing them to focus resources on the few areas that can unlock major financial impact.

How Can I Use Those Recovered Losses?

By identifying where you are losing the most production time, your continuous improvement team will know both where to focus and the likely results on a unit, line, facility, or even the entire production network. Once you know where you’re losing production hours, you can put them to use in the way that works best for you, such as adding production volume, reducing overtime shifts, cutting back on waste, or delivering the cost reductions your company needs. Additionally, by driving productivity and measuring KPIs such as production efficiency and reduced scrap, a CI program can help your organization realize a dramatic increase in sustainability.

Supercharging your CI program with advanced tools can help you remain competitive by increasing service levels, reducing costs, and boosting efficiency. ThingWorx DPM is a more streamlined way to make sense of your manufacturing process by prioritizing bottlenecks and targeting root causes.


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Learn how senior manufacturing executives are using DPM to bolster their CI programs to face today’s unique challenges. Click Here
Tags: Thingworx Industrial Internet of Things Smart Connected Operations

About the Author

Emily Himes Emily is a Content Marketing Specialist on PTC’s Commercial Marketing team based in Boston, MA. Her writing supports a variety of PTC’s product and service offerings.