Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is probably one of the most widely recognized measures of manufacturing operations effectiveness. It is one of those metrics that is a “must calculate,” and can be a powerful method of evaluating the productivity of production systems to improve manufacturing operations. The OEE formula has become a significant KPI across many industries, influencing equipment and production improvements.
Unfortunately, often this measure is under-utilized. It isn’t enough to simply collect it, publish in reports and move on to the next reporting task. Taking a closer look at how OEE is measured, how it can be improved, and how it can become a central part of your continuous process improvement program, however, can be a way to unlock greater value.
Achieving bench-mark OEE is challenging, and requires the need to consistently follow a meticulous program. Although many production teams are already familiar with OEE and how to calculate it, they may be missing the mark on how to capitalise on the data collected.
The infographic at right visualizes the following points, which includes three steps to better take advantage of the power of OEE to improve your manufacturing operational excellence, and is summarised below:
1. Automate OEE Data Collection
While many manufacturing processes are now automated, often the information that we could extract from machines is not. Ironically, we run around trying to capture information that is available from within our machines through other channels, such as relying on team members using manual methods. This is an ineffective use of time and often the statistics gathered doesn’t capture enough detail, therefore not representing the full situation.
Consider a team member that’s been asked to note down stoppages on a single line during a shift. The operator may not consider a very short stop necessary to note down because there was no need to call maintenance. When you analyse these numbers later to better understand downtime, you will not have the full details in order to address the causes of each stop.
Alternatively, OEE or manufacturing execution systems software relies directly on the machine to extract the data, and can plug straight into the PLC, HMI or OPC layer. This method is significantly more effective. The data we gather from our production environment is far more valuable when it’s accurate and collected in real-time.
2. Apply OEE Metrics to Business Process Improvement
The value of OEE must be recognised from top management down to the plant floor to be successful in driving process improvement. Shared goals and objectives help to shape the direction and a common focus is required to improve business processes.
Assigning OEE champions with the power to make changes and solve problems as they occur is an essential part of enhancing the team effort. The assigning of responsibility and performing regular production reviews simultaneously empowers individuals and advances the plants’ performance.
This is where OEE begins to create value and inspire change – by identifying issues, engaging operations personnel and measuring against agreed goals and objectives.
Including OEE data in the planning and budgeting process additionally helps to build a business case around where money should be spent.
3. Display the Data Visually
The quickest way to success is visually displaying real-time progress on the plant floor. Andon boards are a great example. This keeps the team focused and motivated. Big screen monitors, production progress bars and dashboards that support Lean can be enhanced when OEE data is clearly visible, enabling the required changes to be made quickly. Considering many people respond to visual stimuli, green, yellow and red status indicators bring an electric excitement to the shop floor.
Manufacturers that identify the most critical metrics, and deliver the right information to the right people at the right time will be empowered to make better decisions and become more competitive. Manufacturing operations management software can strengthen the effectiveness of automating and leveraging the benefits of measuring and analysing OEE at a strategic level.
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