Overall equipment effectiveness, or OEE, is typically used in production operations. OEE is now becoming more popular as a strategic management tool for improving and connecting the enterprise to the plant floor. For several years, many have sought out better ways to connect top-level decision-making to factory production operations.
The Director of Manufacturing Solutions for Parsec Automation Corp., Corey Vodvarka believes there is a better way to make this connection using overall equipment effectiveness: “OEE is more than a calculation, it is the cornerstone of strategy in continuous improvement. OEE is a way for strategic leaders to promote action and streamline accountability in the plant. Taking advantage of OEE accomplishes both of these tasks by allowing operations to reach production goals and executives to inspire teams.”
Vodvarka provides the following example to explain his point of view:
If you ask an operator to take note of each stoppage during a shift on a single line, and those stoppages average less than a minute, the operator may not consider those stops as “official downtime,” and would not see them as being noteworthy. The operator probably wouldn’t call maintenance to get the line back up and running, either. These types of discrepancies in perception show the need for manufacturing operations management software, which pulls data from the machine and can capture OEE information in a more effective and helpful way than humans.
However, capturing this data is not enough, Vodvarka says. Even if the information is collected properly, if not analyzed immediately, it may be too late to make changes to effectively improve your operations. “Production requires challenges to be caught and fixed as they arise, in real-time,” Vodvarka explains. “If performance is down, and negatively affecting production, the team must be poised to fix it. This is exactly where manual efforts can fall short.”
This is why the strategy surrounding OEE must connect directly to value, or it will fail. Managers have to ensure objectives are met, shape the team, and build the focus needed to improve business processes.
The first step to measure team effectiveness, Vodvarka says, is to connect top floor goals to plant floor operations via OEE, benchmark current performance, and assign someone to commit to optimize overall efficiency. “Remember, the aim is to add value by leveraging OEE to improve business practices,” he says. “Consider assigning direct responsibility to an ‘issue champion’ who can perform regular production reviews and advance plant performance.” This person should share and establish a common focus to identify loss and prioritize effectively, and identify actionable changes that can be applied to problem areas.
“This is precisely where OEE generates value and incites change,” says Vodvarka. “By identifying issues, engaging operations and exceeding expectations… As a measure of productivity, OEE uniformly connects a network of plants, reducing critical areas of waste and redundancy. The result is vital visibility into every system on the plant floor in one, simple tool. Islands of automation are eliminated as OEE creates a common conversation among systems, capturing the business intelligence leaders need to make essential decisions.”
To find out more about OEE and how to measure the performance of your own systems, request a demo of Automation Intellect today.