If you are in a manufacturing business, you have probably heard of or read about OEE.  You might even know what OEE is and what it stands for.  If you do, this post is covering old ground and you can skip to the pictures.

If not, we are here to break it down- what does it mean, why do you need it, what will it do for me, and how do I get it?  

OEE is an acronym for Overall Equipment Effectiveness......ok, but that didn't quite break it down, did it?  In short, OEE is a singular measure of the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of your production line or entire factory, or possibly your entire multi-factory organization.  One simple, easy to understand number that tells you how you are doing today versus yesterday, versus last week, or versus last year.  Moving that number up means you are making positive changes in the workings of your business- you are making more money!  

So, clearly, just publishing a number doesn't make your line or plant more effective all by itself.  What is key is looking deeper to see the processes that feed into that number.  Those varied and layered processes measure key data from your machines and lines, and extract from those machines and production cells the causes of productivity loss.  OEE works along the principals of "Big Data"- it collects masses of information and by analyzing it along with all the other factors it has access to, it can detect patterns that would be hard to detect manually.  Perhaps it may find the unnecessary extra 5 minutes for job changeover that is inconsequential to a single machine but is huge when you have many machines.  It could find that a machine or process is 20% more likely to suffer a breakdown when running at a certain speed, or when the ambient temperature is higher than 80 degrees.  Or, it may find that isolate quality problems to raw materials from a certain supplier.

The point is that the business process applications that contribute to the calculation of the OEE number isolate and identify problems with the three factors that impact your bottom line- AVAILABILITY, PERFORMANCE, and QUALITY.  

AVAILABILITY measures how much of the scheduled time each machine/cell/process/line/plant is ready to run.  Downtime tracking and cause identification is a key component- is it down because there is no product to run?  Because of a changeover?  Because of an unplanned downtime event?  What are the extenuating factors surrounding the unplanned downtime?  How long did it take to get resolved?

PERFORMANCE compares the speed or production rate that should be possible for the product being run with the actual rates or speed.  Do you have a bottleneck in your process?  Has wear and tear or maintenance issues caused systems to not perform as expected?  Are expectations reasonable?

QUALITY measures what percentage of the product is acceptable or 'good'.  If your quality numbers are low, does it correlate to a particular product line?  Or, does it correlate to the temperature or humidity in the facility?  Or, do quality issues correlate to certain operators or machines?

These are only examples. OEE works best when you can collect large amounts of contemporaneous data that it can analyze and sort, to seek out the ways to improve operations and therefore drive that single OEE number upwards.  And when that number goes up, so does your profit. 

OEE projects can have very short ROI's.  Contact us to discuss and explore how OEE might work for you!  Our software partner, Inductive Automation Ignition, provides a flexible, powerful platform upon which we can build your OEE one area or cell at a time, in a cost effective manner and in accordance with the needs of your organization.  There is no obligation to talk and brainstorm ideas.