Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is a critical metric for measuring the efficiency of manufacturing operations. It considers three factors – availability, performance, and quality – to determine the effective use of equipment.
Where do we focus to win the biggest improvements?
To improve OEE, it's important to focus on these five key areas:
- Equipment maintenance: Ensuring equipment is well-maintained is critical to achieving high OEE. Regular inspections, preventive maintenance or, even better, “predictive maintenance,” and prompt repairs can help minimize downtime from unexpected breakdowns. Condition monitoring sensors and the data they generate can predict where failures may to occur so action can be taken to avoid such downtimes.
- Production planning: Effective production planning can help optimize production schedules, minimize set-up time, and reduce changeover time, as well as help increase equipment utilization and reduce downtime. Software solutions are available that provide operators with guidance and optimize changeovers between different set-ups or formats.
- Process optimization: Analyzing and optimizing production processes can help identify bottlenecks, reduce waste, and improve overall efficiency. This can involve implementing process improvements, such as reducing cycle times or optimizing material flow.
- Workforce training: A well-trained workforce can help minimize errors, reduce downtime, and improve overall quality. Providing employees with the necessary skills and training can also help increase productivity and equipment utilization. Operator guidance, including digital work instruction, which is available in a digital format, is increasingly familiar to the newer members of the workforce.
- Data analysis: Collecting and analyzing OEE and downtime data, and other key metrics can help identify areas for improvement and guide decision-making on where to focus. Implementing real-time monitoring and analysis can help detect issues early, well before a failure, and thus, minimize the impact on production.
By focusing on and ranking the areas outlined above, manufacturers can improve overall equipment effectiveness and achieve greater efficiency, productivity, and, most importantly, profitability.