The most effective way to run a business is to be as efficient as possible. There are any number of steps to improve efficiency — some are intuitive like reducing distractions like cell phones from the workplace, and some are less intuitive, like the importance of cultivating a positive employee culture.
One of the most basic steps you can take in a factory or processing plant is to make sure your workspace is optimized for quick, direct labor. If you want an apple polished every minute, but you have to move each apple across the room by hand, then your layout is not optimized for efficiency.
One of the most helpful tools for ensuring the most efficient layout is the surge bin. A surge bin is an important component of any processing plant or factory. It allows you to store and distribute material at a steady rate.
Think of your surge bin like a dam: by regulating the flow of water, a dam ensures there is never so much water that there might be a flood. A dam also ensures that there will always be a reserve of water so that the river remains steady even in times of lower rainfall. It also allows for a safety backup. In the case of too much rain and natural flooding, a dam might be stoppered, allowing the flood to run its natural course before contributing more water.
In a factory, this has the benefit of allowing you to optimize the flow of material to an even, regulated speed to ensure that the people processing or packaging, or the downflow equipment, can handle the material at the most effective rate.
It also allows you to be methodical in your approach to using sensitive equipment. Certain machines have a small window of optimal capacity. In a tumbler barrel, for instance, the optimum load height is 50%, with three parts media to one part parts. The ratio is important because otherwise, the parts will strike one another. By utilizing your surge bin, you are able to quickly and effectively maintain the tumbling barrel’s balance.
But how do you know if you are using your surge bin to its fullest? Sometimes it will be easy. If you are using your surge bin to ensure an appropriate ratio of materials is discharged, then success is easily measurable.
Other times, however, this might take some trial and error, especially if people are involved. Keeping with the apple polishing example, see how fast your employees can polish the apples and at what point they stop being able to keep up. And even if they are able to keep up, do they fatigue more quickly?
The surge bin is a great tool for maximizing efficiency in the factory and processing plant setting.