Improving overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) results is one of the best ways to boost production performance, which can help a company increase its competitiveness. Monitoring and improving OEE leads to improved delivery time, reduced defects, reduced downtime, and increased efficiencies. Almost universally, high levels of OEE translate to improved margins and profitability.
However, manufacturers are often up against common processing problems that are obstacles to improved OEE results. Before talking about tips, take note of things that tend to get in the way of meeting production goals.
Manufacturing’s Common Production Obstacles
Pressures to meet production and delivery schedules, cost targets, and efficiency rates are stressful and real. To consistently achieve a company’s goals and objectives, personnel face some common processing line obstacles that impede efforts to increase OEE values. These obstacles include:
Material Jams and Equipment Failures
When a production line stops unexpectedly, it’s often because of unscheduled events such as material jams or equipment failures. This unexpected downtime means rising costs and depleted efficiencies.
Stopped or Slow Processes
Production lines only run as fast as the slowest activity, and when production reduces throughput and starts to bottleneck—or even stops it altogether—it can lead directly to rising costs and wasted time.
Missing Production Targets
If you’re dealing with excess product rejects, you’re also dealing with missed production targets and increased waste. This can mean cost hikes, low production volumes, narrowing margins, and lower OEE values.
When human error causes a problem, it is often the result of poor communication. Failure among team members to properly communicate increases mistakes and slows down production throughput, leading to unplanned downtime, lower production volumes, and higher costs.
To make smart, accurate decisions, you need up-to-the-minute line data when you’re managing and controlling production problems. Inaccurate, limited, or out-of-date data causes poor decisions and increased waste.
Five Tips for Improving OEE Results
Tracking OEE is a crucial element of any manager’s process. By monitoring and improving this metric, manufacturers can achieve and maintain high levels of productivity. Nevertheless, correctly using OEE is as important as making accurate calculations.
Below are five tips to help improve OEE results. Though there are many ways to improve OEE results, these tips directly address some of the most common causes of poor OEE performance. As a rule, formal, carefully planned projects designed to improve each of these areas yield the greatest benefits.
1. Prioritize Processes
When looking to improve OEE results, the first thing to do is prioritize. This means identifying the most critical process(es) or equipment that contributes most to margins and profitability. Calculate OEE for that process’s or equipment’s bottleneck.
2. Compare Similar Operations, Processes, and Equipment
OEE is the best way to measure total productive maintenance (TPM), but not if you’re taking missteps when you measure. For starters, make sure you’re comparing similar operations, processes, and equipment. Comparing OEE values for a line that has one changeover per day with a line that has three or more won’t get you information you can use.
3. Set an OEE Score Goal
Once OEE is calculated, what do OEE scores mean to your operations? If you’re tracking OEE for the first time, your goals are going to be different than those of an organization trying to take their world-class score to a perfect 100 percent.
If production performance for equipment is at 45 percent, an increase to 60 percent would be a victory, even if it’s not considered to be a “world-class” score. Going from 45-100 percent is a big jump. Don’t sabotage your OEE efforts by setting unrealistic goals.
A Basic Breakdown of OEE scores:
- One hundred percent means world-class. It’s when you’re manufacturing only good parts as quickly as possible, with no stop time.
- Eighty-five percent means world-class for discrete manufacturing and is considered to be an attainable long-term goal.
- Sixty percent represents a somewhat typical OEE score, even if it does show what seems like significant room for improvement.
- Forty percent sounds low, but it’s a common OEE score when a manufacturer starts tracking performance and is often a starting benchmark for improvement.
4. Improve Your Data
Do you still have manual processes for collecting data? If so, your data is likely inaccurate and out of date. Having up-to-the-minute data about downtime, bottlenecks, quality, and run rates helps managers identify and correct problems as they occur.
Unfortunately, manual systems are often incorrect, severely limiting data. Switching from manual to automated data collection is the only way to succeed in an Industry 4.0 world.
5. Include Operators During OEE implementation
Culture plays a critical role in achieving top OEE results. If it’s not in your company’s culture to engage with line operators during decision-making, you could be creating a barrier to maximizing OEE results.
All stakeholders gain a better understanding of production line operations when line employees are asked for their input and perspectives. Including line workers in the decision-making process not only helps them understand how OEE benefits them directly, but it also makes them feel like they’re valued, which in turn makes them more confident and motivated.
How Smart Factory Analytics Can Impact OEE Results
To monitor and improve OEE results, managers must focus on the key operating tasks that lead to high levels of productivity and performance. These tasks include meeting delivery schedules, reducing rejects and waste, lowering costs, and increasing margins. Worximity's Smart Factory analytics software provides managers with real-time operational data, which is the basis for on-the-spot correction of operating problems.
Worximity’s TileConnect data collection sensors are attached directly to equipment and gather performance data in real time while production is underway. This data is sent to the cloud, where our Smart Factory analytics software calculates performance metrics, including OEE. These results are then displayed on TileBoard monitors located throughout the factory. Should a problem occur, employees can see the developments and take corrective action immediately.
Worximity offers an in-plant system trial and OEE audit. We will set up data collection and analysis on one piece of equipment and calculate your process OEE values along with other performance metrics. Our consulting staff will assist with analyzing your OEE results and determine how your plant scores compared to industry benchmarks. Connect with Worximity today to discuss this opportunity.