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5 Causes of Factory Disruption

5 minute read - Posted by Daniel Wagstaff on Feb 25, 2019 6:00:00 AM

The manufacturing industry is traversing a stimulating period of growth and development, as more and more technological advances are making it easier for businesses and their employees to deal with the challenges of the industry. One of the main concerns of manufacturers, regardless of geography or sector, is factory disruption and how it can impact the safety and wellbeing of employees, but also business continuity. Factory disruption is not only a concern in itself, but also because of the numerous effects it can have on activity, effects that can range from health hazards to serious financial losses.

In 2018, the manufacturing industry drove 11.6% of U.S. economic output, as manufacturing goods represent half of the products exported by the United States. Yet regardless of its importance as an industry and the financial benefits it generates, manufacturing is still struggling to find a way for effectively dealing with factory disruption. Whether we are speaking of a natural disaster or an event that happened within the factory, disruptions are complicated to handle, especially if your business has not taken all the precautionary steps. Today we are going to discuss the most common 5 cases of factory disruption and what your company can do to minimize the damages or even prevent disruption from happening. But before we look at the causes, let’s find out more about why it is important to have all the information and how to process it in case of a disruption or an emergency.

Why Does the Cause Matter?

Most businesses usually only focus on the aftermath of a disruption, thinking that emergencies can always occur, and the best way to deal with them is to do everything you can to repair the damages. And although there is nothing wrong with trying to fix what’s broken, a much more suitable approach is to take all necessary precautions for preventing it from happening. Therefore, being aware of the most common causes for a factory disruption will help you better draft and implement your plans, such as adjusting your alert notification software to respond to all possible causes.

The cause of a factory disruption dictates the steps you will need to take in order to avoid future events from happening, or to minimize the damages done to your activity, the more you know about it, the easier it will be to prepare your business. Also, with a clear picture in mind, you can thoroughly calculate the costs of a factory disruption and its impact on your finances, as well as the inefficiency levels of your overall activity.

5 Causes of Factory Disruption

Given all the negative effects a factory disruption has on employees but also on the production process, drafting a methodical report based on disruption causes, both in the industry and within your company, is a wise business decision. Your business continuity and emergency response strategies will be much easier to implement if you have developed them based on in-depth metrics tailored to your factory’s goals and production requirements.

1. Issues with the Flow of Materials

The correct flow of materials is an important aspect of all production and assembly lines, as it helps sustain a flawless process. And although a lot of factories are highly automated, one of the main causes of factory disruption remains the improper flow of materials or parts needed in the production process. Therefore, anything from the replacement of pieces on an assembly line, the inability to change routing parts, or the delivery of parts to an incorrect work station can cause a factory disruption. The best step you can take in order to prevent it is to constantly train your employees and keep them up-to-date with all changes in the manufacturing process. Also, make sure you are conducting regular maintenance procedures on all your machines, and gather information about all aspects of the production process.

2. Machinery or Software Errors

Although advanced technologies and new software developments for manufacturers have changed the industry for the better, factory disruptions can still occur even in the case of companies implementing them. In fact, poorly implemented software, machinery and technologies that are not checked regularly or smart equipment that is not handled properly can lead to a wide range of factory disruptions. If the production of your business relies on automated processes and software, in order to avoid factory disruptions, you need to make sure that your maintenance sessions are performed with accuracy and regularly.

Also, make sure that all your employees are trained and up-to-date to any changes in production processes related to machinery, software, or equipment, and gather feedback from everyone involved.

3. The Lack of a Comprehensive Communication Solution

Factories – either big or small – have a lot of employees involved in different processes and part of different departments. This means that both internal communications and emergency communications need to be conducted with the help of a performant mass notification software that can provide your business with all needed solutions. If your employees are able to communicate with each other and with upper management regardless of the situation, factory disruptions can be avoided, or the damaged minimized.

4. Changes in Customer Demand

Sometimes customers change their minds about an order, or desire something personalized that will take longer time to produce. Those situations can lead to a factory disruption or a disruption in one of your departments, if not handled appropriately. If your activity allows it, you can use 3D printing techniques to address the demands of your customers, and not disrupt your usual processes for a personalized order. You can also create a team that will be in charge of handling personalized orders so that you can have a more structured understanding of how to cater tho those needs.

5. The Lack of Monitoring and Reporting

Gathering and analyzing feedback and data from all your ongoing processes is mandatory for assuring that no factory disruptions will affect business continuity. Monitoring all maintenance operations and any other activities that have to do with the production process is also something that should be done not only on a regular basis, but also based on a well-crafted strategy. Using an emergency notification software means you also need to gather all data engaged in the communication processes, and analyze it in accordance with the needs of your factory and the goals of your business.

Knowing and understanding the causes of factory disruption, and also having methods at hand for avoiding future disruptions and minimizing the damages of current events is the one of the most important aspects a company should consider, alongside the health and safety of employees. If you are managing a factory of a larger scale, you can create a team that will handle all factory disruptions aspects, from causes to solutions implemented in the aftermath of a crisis. Make sure that all your employees have knowledge of your strategies and know whom to contact in case they need to report an issues or ask a question.