Optimising your equipment’s efficiency is an essential element of continuous improvement for manufacturers. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is a powerful way to achieve this. Get the implementation right, and OEE can be used to pinpoint problem areas on your line and, ultimately, help you make the necessary changes to improve production.
However, there are some common mistakes that could be holding you back from unlocking the full advantages of OEE. The good news is that many are easily avoidable, or quick to fix.
Below, we reveal the most common mistakes and the steps to avoid or remedy them:
1. Mistake: Focusing on the OEE score, not the losses
This is perhaps the biggest mistake companies make with OEE. Monitoring your OEE score on its own is not all that helpful to improving production. It tells you the “what” but not the “why”. The true value of OEE comes from identifying the underlying losses – Availability Loss, Performance Loss and Quality Loss – and where they come from. By focusing on these losses and taking action to reduce them, your OEE score will increase. But most importantly, your production capacity will improve, and you will be running a more competitive manufacturing business.
Takeaway: First and foremost, think of OEE as an improvement measure, rather than a KPI.
2. Mistake: Using OEE to compare unrelated processes and plants
When you have an OEE score, the temptation is there to begin comparing it to scores from other equipment, processes and even other plants. But the fact is these comparisons don’t mean anything unless you are comparing the same equipment, running the same product, in the same environment. For example, why compare the OEE score from a production line with 10 changeovers a day to one with just two changeovers? These comparisons are only a distraction.
Takeaway: Compare with care. Focus on OEE as a tool to measure improvement and manage progress over time for a particular asset.
3. Mistake: Not engaging operators in the process
Operators are essential to the OEE process; they are the ones who will be monitoring and using the data to make changes and improvements. Without engaging operators, you run the risk of OEE being seen as “just another” KPI, abstract metric, or worse, a tool to blame individuals when things go wrong.
Takeaway: Engage your operators in the OEE implementation process from the start. Provide training to help them understand how it will guide their tasks and why it’s important to the company. Without their buy-in, OEE is just another number.
4. Mistake: Excluding changeovers in your OEE calculation
Because changeovers are an unavoidable part of production, you might be tempted to exclude them in the OEE calculation, instead focusing on unscheduled downtime as the only cause of availability losses. However, it’s important to remember that changeover time is lost production time – it’s time that could otherwise be spent producing an output. In many cases, there’s huge potential for changeover times to be reduced. Therefore, while excluding changeovers from your OEE calculation will increase Availability (and your OEE score), it will hide the opportunity to increase production by streamlining changeovers.
Takeaway: By including changeover time in your OEE calculation, you can identify opportunities to streamline changeovers and increase production.
5. Mistake: Implementing OEE across the whole plant
There’s no value in calculating the OEE for a whole plant. You might know that the plant has high availability or quality losses, for example, but it won’t pinpoint where the losses are. Rather, OEE is best used on a single piece of equipment or production line to measure performance and analyse the losses. By focusing on a single asset, with the breakdown of availability, performance and quality, you can hone in on the opportunities for improvement.
Takeaway: Implement OEE on one machine, and then roll it out to more as needed. By starting with a pilot run, you can ensure your staff see the value behind OEE and will get onboard.
6. Mistake: Your data collection is too slow
One way to calculate OEE is to collect a combination of automated and manual data, put it into a spreadsheet, and watch the magic number appear. However, this method is not only cumbersome and time-consuming, it’s also extremely ineffective. By the time you have identified the issue and worked out how to improve the process, you will have lost hours of production capacity.
Takeaway: If you want to unlock to the full benefit of OEE, use software to automatically collect and report on OEE in real-time. This can automatically feed through to an OEE dashboard so that managers and operators can see the KPI instantly. With the right data at their fingertips, operators will be able to see where to reduce losses and improve performance.
Implementing OEE might seem overwhelming at first, but with some time, planning and support from the experts, you can ensure you are getting the maximum value right from the start.
Need help with OEE data collection and monitoring? Matthews Australasia can help you measure and visualise your OEE to increase operational efficiency and plant performance. Contact us today.
Check out these blogs in “lean manufacturing & OEE” for more information.
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