Improve Manufacturing Productivity Today

Amazing improvements in manufacturing productivity can be achieved through small daily increments. Each day, ask three simple questions (one each for Information, Decision, and Action) that lead to one specific action.

Improving Manufacturing Productivity

A highly successful plant manager once said that one of the secrets to great manufacturing is to do simple things exceptionally well. In other words – great results can come from mastering a simple technique and applying it consistently.

This page outlines a powerful way of using this exact idea to reduce downtime and increase output (i.e., improve manufacturing productivity).

Three Simple Steps

One of the most powerful ways to reduce downtime is for each of your line teams to identify and fix one problem each day. One small, incremental win that can be identified and fixed within the same day – today. The key to success is to follow these three simple steps to make it happen:

  1. Information: Use plant floor Information to identify your losses.
  2. Decision: Review the losses and determine where to focus. Make your Decision based on the biggest loss or easiest win.
  3. Action: Agree on one Action that can be completed during the shift to reduce the loss.

Does it work? Absolutely! In many cases, OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) has improved by 10% or more when managers consistently apply this strategy over a period of at least three months.

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Three Simple Questions

The best way to make this happen is to head to the factory floor and ask three simple questions (one for each step) that lead to one specific action. Here are some examples:

Improve manufacturing productivity by asking three questions that reduce waste in a lean manufacturing environment

Top Process Improvement Tips

  • Be Supportive: Help your team answer the questions. Coach them. Motivate them. Make it your mission to help them focus in a positive way – the only way to fully harness their skills, knowledge, and abilities.
  • Be Specific: When asking for information, ask for specific numbers. If production is “pretty good today”, what does that mean? Great manufacturing is precise, so be precise with your data.
  • Keep it Real: Sure – every machine can be improved if it is redesigned, but can you accomplish that today? Keep the actions real and deliverable.
  • Follow up: When your team agrees on an action, write it down and follow up to ensure that it’s completed – and to check in on the result. Not every action will result in improvement, but that is OK. Your goal is to create a habit of actively seeking out small wins that add up over time.


1. Learn more about how our product, Vorne XL, can help you eliminate waste and significantly improve OEE.

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