Organizational efficiency is an assessment of how effective a facility is at reaching goals and objectives, such as safety targets or production thresholds. Improving overall organizational efficiency takes time, but these five targeted efforts help the process, so you can reap the benefits.

1) Identify Directed Department Goals

Objectives are easier to track and achieve when you narrow your vision: Rather than full-facility changes, determine targeted goals to improve specific conditions or concerns. Multiple departments may benefit from similar goals, but different goalposts may be necessary depending on the challenges faced.

For example, if the main objective is to reduce accidents throughout the facility, create and track more precise plans specific to each department. These department-specific focuses can work together to meet one larger safety target.

To identify your starting point, examine your safety logs and audit records, compare safety protocols against similar facilities in the industry, and examine OSHA and other regulations to ensure you’re meeting the standards set forth by safety entities.

2) Audit Your Resources

Evaluating facility resources can improve day-to-day efficiency, increase overall output, and boost safety. If you’re relying on outdated machinery, the production floor may come to a halt too often for anything from removing jams to costly, time-consuming repairs. When machines require more maintenance due to age, it cuts into production time, reducing overall output, thereby further reducing efficiency.

Similarly, examine available tools: Are there not enough tools available to meet demand, or are they old or damaged? Ensuring staff have the necessary tools available improves processes, increases productivity, and reduces frustration.

A Red Tag event may be an ideal opportunity to remove outdated, broken, or unnecessary tools from the work floor. Don’t stop at replacing broken tools or machines: If wait times for tools are extensive, you may find that the purchase of additional tools speeds up processes due to reduced downtime from waiting for turns. When adding new or additional tools to the production floor, get feedback from employees, then examine the budget, weigh the benefits, and determine the potential ROI.

Improving storage options can reduce clutter, which can shave time off of facility processes by making tools easier to find when needed. Ensuring tools and supplies overflow are properly stored also improves overall facility safety, preventing accidents and reducing instances of OSHA violations.

3) Provide Clear Visual Cues

Floor marking tape, floor signs, and other visual communication tools provide necessary instructions for staff and visitors. While directional cues are important for helping people find their way, targeted signage can improve efficiency by removing questions about processes, including important safety information to reduce injuries or accidents, and can share timely notices in case of temporary closures, procedure changes, or new information.

  • Repeat message floor marking tape provides specific cues in various locations throughout a facility, from reminders for pedestrians and forklift drivers to safety information to ensure compliance and prevent accidents or injury.
  • Custom floor signs provide messages tailored to your location: Create cues to streamline procedures or provide notice in problematic areas as small steps toward more efficient processes, overall.
  • Virtual lines and signs offer the benefit of interchangeable gobos for added flexibility: Swap signage as needed to keep up with demand.

4) Host Refresher Training Opportunities

No matter the visual cues, process updates, or tool purchases, efforts will fail without proper—and recurring—training. From annual refresher training sessions designed to reinforce protocol to introducing new methods to existing and new employees, instruction and review are important parts of improving organizational efficiency.

Training should occur for new staff, temporary hires, regularly as part of the facility safety efforts, when processes or requirements change, in response to repeated safety violations or accidents, or when the need arises. Training processes may differ depending on need: A group session led by a facilitator may be ideal for new hires or targeted learning, video training can fill knowledge gaps on an as-needed basis, and easy access to manuals, training materials, or expert advice can meet individual needs.

5) Focus on Continuous Improvement

A cornerstone of the 5S/Lean Methodology, continuous improvement aims for momentum, versus stagnation. Keeping an eye on further improvements based on needs, and evaluating the progress made to determine effectiveness, keeps safety top of mind. Consider which areas are not performing optimally—examine signage and communication tools, manufacturing processes, safety procedures, office protocols, customer satisfaction, and more—and look toward ways to improve.

To implement a continuous improvement model:

  • Create goals based on measurable results
  • Execute stepped changes to ensure you don’t create a house of cards with untested updates
  • Track the progress as improvements are made
  • Adjust or expand changes as necessary

In time, this continuous improvement strategy may help improve overall organizational effectiveness.

Organizational efficiency can mean different things depending on the location or goals, but improving overall productivity or performance often comes down to identifying organizational pain points, providing clear communication and training opportunities, and looking toward continuous improvement rather than a set it and forget it attitude. For more industrial safety and productivity tips, explore our Resource Center.