Is it Time for a Process Audit ?

by Shelly Coleman, Marketing and Sales Coordinator

When was the last time you thought about how things were running in your foam plant?  Do you want to improve efficiency and increase profits?   If so, a process audit is a good place to start.  A process audit is a focused inspection of internal systems and processes to determine if they are efficient and effective.  Here are a few indicators that it might be time for a process audit in your plant:

Extrusion production floor

New product development:  Establishing a solid process at the beginning and keeping it up to date will be sure to find any trouble quickly.

No quality program: When  pressed for time, do you  make products without a thorough quality review? Keeping an  eye on quality will increase customer satisfaction and reduce scrap.

Reduced production efficiency: Sometimes a process audit will find new areas for small changes that can boost productivity. A continuous improvement process should be part of any operations plan.

Not sure where you should start?  Here are some tips that might help:

  • Identify areas for improvement: Follow your process from the beginning to the end, including your foam extrusion and foam thermoforming departments.  Are there starts and stops?  Are there delays?  Look for weak points in your current process and work with operators to develop new  processes to eliminate these problems.
  • Ensure quality production: Look at your current foam sheet requirements and production output. Are your operators adjusting the machine for limitations of the foam sheet or machine? Examine the process.  Can adjustments be made to streamline this process?  Can you standardize changes and track issues for resolution?  Making small changes can sometimes yield bigger results.
  • Scrap reduction: Are you monitoring your scrap rates?  Do you have a plan in place for reducing that number?  Scrap is a hidden cost that can be avoided with  the proper process. Work with your team to determine a tracking procedure and then schedule time to evaluate progress and adjust when necessary.
Tech on computer at the extrusion line

Many companies offer process audit services, but are they familiar with the unique requirements of the foam industry?  We understand the intricacies of foam production and put  that knowledge into practice every day in our foam plant.  We can offer insight on making your foam manufacturing plant more productive.  Give us a call and let us  help you to see how  you can optimize your foam plant. 

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