The Major Factors That Impact Your OEE Score  

Otherwise known as Overall Equipment Effectiveness, OEE is a standard used to measure the overall productivity of your manufacturing environment. If you’re able to achieve an OEE score of 100%, it means that you’re only manufacturing high quality parts, as quickly as you can, with as little stop time as you can manage.

Now, the most important thing to understand about all of this is that nobody achieves an OEE score of 100%. It’s not necessarily realistic given the complex nature of the manufacturing environments that you’re talking about. But the simple fact that you’re always making meaningful efforts to improve that score – to get it as high as you can – goes a long way towards making sure you’re unlocking the maximum potential of your equipment, your people and ultimately your business.

With all of that in mind, there are a variety of factors that ultimately impact your OEE score – some of which are not necessarily immediately obvious. By understanding these factors, you can mitigate risk from them as much as possible.

What Impacts OEE? Breaking Things Down

One of the major factors that will likely impact your OEE score comes down to preventative maintenance. Keep in mind that one of the things that you’re really paying attention to when it comes to OEE is all of the time used for value-added production. Absolutely anything that takes away from that should be included in your OEE calculations because you need the most complete picture to work from at all times.

Now, that’s not to say that preventative maintenance is bad – because it absolutely isn’t. Indeed, you always want to capitalize on any opportunity you have to stop a small problem now before it has a chance to become a much bigger one down the road. It’s simply that you have to face the reality of the situation – meaning that if preventative maintenance takes away from the time used for production, it needs to get included in your availability calculation.

Another factor that impacts your OEE score comes down to lunches and breaks for your employees. Again, this is true for the same reason outlined above – if those lunches or breaks take time away from your ability to unlock the full potential of your manufacturing lines, they too should become a part of your availability calculation.

But as was true with preventative maintenance, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Nor is it something you can avoid because obviously your employees deserve breaks. However, it’s still important to include them in the availability portion of your OEE calculation so that you understand where those losses are coming from, regardless of how unavoidable they may be.

In the end, OEE is about making sure you have the best information to work from when making decisions in the moment. By taking factors like those outlined above into consideration, you go a long way towards accomplishing precisely that with your OEE calculation.

The Biggest OEE Mistakes You Should Try to Avoid

One of the most important things to understand about OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) is that, while it’s undoubtedly important, it’s not a silver bullet and shouldn’t be treated as such.

That is to say, an OEE score of 100% doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re running the most efficient production line in the world – nor is an OEE score that high a realistic goal to begin with. Instead, OEE is simply a way to benchmark the meaningful progress you’re making on a daily basis. As you eliminate waste and improve efficiency, that score should be slowly but steadily increasing.

Because of that, there are a few important mistakes that you need to avoid to really extract the most insight from your OEE measurements moving forward.

The OEE Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make: An Overview

By far, the biggest mistake that organizations make when it comes to OEE involves focusing more on the score itself and less on the underlying losses.

You may measure OEE for the first time and hit a score of 90% and think to yourself that you’re in really good shape. From a certain perspective, you are – but that doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for improvement that you can take advantage of.

The real value of OEE comes from how it helps you understand not what is currently working, but what could be working better if you take the appropriate actions. From that perspective, your scores in terms of availability, performance and quality are less important than what they reveal to you about availability losses, performance losses and quality losses.

Rather than putting all of your attention on a percentage, always try to extract something meaningful from the discussion about the sources of these losses. Once you know that, you essentially know everything you need to take steps to reduce them – thus improving the efficiency of your operations across the board.

Another mistake that you should work hard to avoid involves collecting too much data as it pertains to OEE. The beauty of OEE is in its simplicity – meaning that you need to avoid “asking too much” from your data beyond the straightforward narrative that can’t help but reveal itself. Data volumes are already exploding, to the point where businesses invest in sophisticated analytical solutions just to even attempt to make sense of it all. You don’t need to make things worse by forcing your equipment operators to essentially do two jobs at the same time.

When in doubt, keep it simple. There can absolutely be “too much of a good thing,” and huge volumes of data fall into that category. At a certain point, you’ll hit diminishing returns. Rather than collecting so much information that you become bogged down by it all, practice the old idea of “less is more.” It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

If you’re interested in learning more about the biggest mistakes pertaining to OEE that you should be working hard to avoid, or if you’d just like to discuss your own needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.



OEE: A Balanced Approach to Improving Productivity

One of the truly great things about OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) is that it gives you a complete, holistic look at your production lines as they exist at the moment.

As a metric, it’s calculated by taking a closer look at three essential factors: availability, performance and quality. Hypothetically speaking, say you were able to achieve an OEE score of 100% (don’t worry, nobody has an OEE score of 100%). This means that you’re only producing high quality parts, as quickly as possible, with little to no downtime to speak of.

Sounds great, right? But the key thing to understand is that OEE is about so much more than just a number or a percentage. Each of those aforementioned elements give you a much-needed sense of perspective about how close you are to unlocking the full potential of your manufacturing process. That’s why you need to be willing to dive beneath the number – you need to take a more balanced approach to what that number is trying to tell you in order to meaningfully improve productivity in all the ways that you need.

OEE and the Bigger Picture

If nothing else, OEE is all about the “bigger picture” – meaning it’s a great way to give you a true “bird’s eye view” when it comes to how well you’re doing and where you could be doing even better.

Performance losses, for example, will include all of those elements that cause your various production processes to operate at less-than-maximum speeds. Some of these, you absolutely need to act on as soon as you can – including things like machine wear, working with substandard materials and more. But depending on the context, some of these things you may be okay with. Slower cycles may be dictated not by inefficiencies but by the part being manufactured. Small stops may be required by virtue of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish at the moment.

The same is true of something like availability losses. Obviously, equipment failures and unplanned maintenance are things you should work to get control over. But you can only improve the amount of time it takes to complete a changeover so much before you begin asking for something that isn’t actually realistic. You’re still employing human beings, after all.

All of this is to say that you should resist the urge to look at your OEE score as a definitive look at how your production lines are currently doing. Instead, you need to consider the context that brought you to that score at this particular moment. Absolutely nobody has an OEE score of 100%, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that this is the goal you’re working towards.

Instead, start to see OEE for what it really is: an opportunity for meaningful, continuous improvement. If you’re able to fully buy into that perspective, there really is no limit to what you can accomplish.

To find out more information about using OEE as a more balanced approach to improving productivity, or to get answers to any other specific questions you might have, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.


The Major Benefits of OEE for Automotive Manufacturing  

At its core, Overall Equipment Effectiveness (otherwise known as OEE for short) is all about unlocking the full potential of your manufacturing lines whenever possible. As your OEE score inches closer to 100%, it means that you’re only producing A) high quality parts, B) as quickly as possible, with C) little-to-no stop time to speak of.

Of course, it’s also a best practice that brings with it unique advantages to every industry – with automotive manufacturing being chief among them. In fact, there are a number of clear benefits for automotive organizations in particular that are more than worth exploring.

The Power of OEE: Breaking Things Down

The automotive industry is nothing if not competitive – organizations are constantly looking for ways to reduce production losses to help preserve their razor-thin profit margins at the exact same time. That may very well be the biggest impact that OEE has on automotive manufacturers – not only does it instantly clue you into why you may not be producing as many parts per hour as you should be, but it does so in a way that helps to increase the very competitiveness of the business as well.

Another one of the major benefits of OEE for auto manufacturers has to do with how it allows them to finally unlock the peak performance from the machinery they’ve already invested so heavily in. From the moment of your solution’s deployment, the performance of the machines that you’re tracking will begin to increase exponentially. To that end, it isn’t just great for helping to achieve the full potential of new machines – it also helps maximize the ones that have been in use for years, too.

But truly, maybe the biggest benefit that OEE brings to auto manufacturers has to do with how it finally puts them in a position to not only measure their efforts, but to make better and more informed decisions regarding the future direction of their company, too. Keep in mind that if you’re not measuring something, you can’t be truly certain of what’s working and what isn’t – meaning that you can’t improve it, either.

Therefore, it’s critical to not just understand which production processes are efficient or not. You also need the context surrounding those inefficiencies, thus putting you in a better position to actually do something about them.

That in and of itself is the beauty of OEE – it helps you uncover the actual “truth” of your production processes, all so that you can get rid of what isn’t working and double down on what is as quickly as you’re able to. Every day, you’re uncovering new opportunities to improve your operations that may have otherwise gone undiscovered. To that end, the improvements you’re able to capitalize on after embracing OEE are essentially without limit.

If you’d like to find out more information about the major benefits of OEE in the world of automotive manufacturing, or if you’d just like to discuss your own situation with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.


The Importance of Using Similar Processes When Looking at OEE  

One of the truly great things about OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) is that it really is one of the most versatile metrics that you can track in terms of improving production. A lot of businesses use OEE scores across not only different production lines and sites, but across divisions, assets and even products, too.

While this can absolutely bring you a lot of useful information, it’s also important to recognize that all of these situations may not be appropriate for a strict one-to-one comparison. You should make an effort to only use OEE scores when taking a closer look at processes that are inherently similar to one another. This is true for a host of different reasons, all of which are worth exploring.

Understanding What OEE is Really Trying to Tell You

Maybe the most critical thing to understand about using OEE scores to compare one process to another is that it’s really only valuable when conditions align as closely as possible.

For the sake of example, let’s say you use OEE to benchmark the productivity of a production line that regularly goes through 10 changeovers a day. Yes, you’re absolutely going to learn a lot of valuable information about where your inefficiencies are, where you could potentially eliminate waste, and more.

But if you then use that metric to compare it to a production line that only has four changeovers a day, is that really a meaningful observation? Is it safe to say that the latter production line is inherently more efficient than the former, or does the nature of the product being manufactured dictate fewer changeovers? Could it be a case that some parts are simply harder to produce than others?

This, in essence, is why it’s so important to resist the urge to use OEE to compare too many dissimilar processes. On the surface, you may see that Production Line A has an OEE score of 85% while Production Line B has an OEE score of 75%. The very nature of those processes may be too dissimilar to properly compare, however. At that point you’re only getting farther away from your goal, not closer to it.

Instead, you need to see OEE for what it really is: an opportunity to “improve” within the context of whatever it is you happen to be taking a look at. So rather than using it as a mechanism to compare one production line to the other, instead use it as a chance to measure progress over time. Use it as a chance for self-reflection – the moves you make should cause your OEE scores to tick slowly upwards over time. So long as that is true, you’re definitely headed in the right direction.

If you’d like to find out more information about the importance of using similar processes when taking a closer look at your OEE scores, or if you have any additional questions you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact Thrive today.


Why OEE Software Became Critical During COVID-19  

Being able to track the Overall Equipment Effectiveness of your production lines has always been of paramount importance. Obviously, you always want to take meaningful steps to make sure that you’re producing A) only good parts, B) as quickly as possible, C) with as little downtime as you can handle.

But in early March of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began to quickly sweep the world, OEE became exponentially more critical. During that time, the situation was evolving rapidly and actionable information about what to do, how to do it and how to keep people safe was at a minimum. Organizational leaders had to think fast and walk a fine line between the health of their employees and the future of their business.

Many of them turned to OEE in order to do it.

Why OEE Matters During a Pandemic

In the initial weeks of the pandemic, most non-essential businesses found themselves shut down with employees sent home indefinitely. Even when many areas did deem manufacturing organizations as essential – meaning they could open back up again – they were doing so at a limited capacity.

At that point, waste is simply not something you can afford to deal with. Every minute that you have the opportunity to open up and get those production lines running is a minute that you need to be operating at peak efficiency, no matter what.

This is why those organizations who have been using OEE all along to systematically improve their manufacturing process as much as possible were able to hit the ground running as the pandemic set in. They had insight into their losses, they had a viable way to benchmark progress and they knew how to extract the most value out of every last piece of equipment on the floor.

OEE also proved itself to be important because of the entirely new sets of decisions that most organizational leaders now faced. If you can only have 50% of your employees on the shop floor at any given moment, how exactly do you pick who stays and who goes? If you can see the performance of individual operators and how well they’re using and interacting with their equipment, suddenly you can prioritize labor allocation in a much more informed way.

But even with vaccines rolling out across the country and an end to the pandemic finally (potentially) in sight, none of this is going to take a back seat anytime soon. OEE will continue to matter because it takes into account ALL losses – and it gives you the information you need to eliminate them as much as possible. Those businesses that continue to let OEE be their guide won’t just get back on their feet again once everything “returns to normal” – they’ll also have the basis of what will become a major competitive advantage for themselves in their industry. Likewise, they’ll be uniquely prepared for a similar disruptive event should it take place in the future, which may very well be the most important benefit of all.


Turning Data Into Insight and Insight Into Action With Downtime Tracking

Obviously, downtime that is allowed to occur for ANY reason is a major concern for manufacturers everywhere. Sure, you may recover from the event and get things back up and running again in an hour or so. But you’re still dealing with an hour of lost capacity that can never, ever be regained.

There was a time when manually recording downtime events on paper was “enough”, but rest assured those days are long over. Not only can the right downtime tracking solution give you more visibility into these downtime events than ever before, but they also put you in an incredible position to turn data into insight (and insight into action) across the board.

Downtime Tracking: Putting Your Data to Work For You

To get an idea of just how important this is, consider what you can do with a downtime tracking solution like Thrive. From moments after your initial deployment, you’ll be able to automatically capture both start and stop events, along with the context surrounding unplanned downtime events, via a solution that can connect directly to any machine on your shop floor.

So right away, you’re already increasing the visibility of your downtime events and are getting alerted to them far faster – allowing you to do something about them as quick as you can.

But diving deeper, you’re also getting more accuracy than ever before. You don’t have to wonder whether or not the duration of a downtime event is correct, for example, because you’ll know beyond the shadow of a doubt. As time goes on, you’ll be able to see the common downtime categories and reasons for each type of event as it occurs. You won’t just know that there was a pause in productivity – you’ll be able to separate planned stops from unplanned stops, see issues like material shortages or manpower shortages, uncover the specific reasons for technical issues and beyond.

At that point, you have most of what you need to prevent these types of issues from happening again in the future. If your data is giving you the insight that 80% of your downtime instances have to do with manpower shortages, you know you need to bring more people into the fold. If planned maintenance or shift changeovers are taking too long, you’ll be able to quickly find out why so you can put a stop to it.

That’s why data is so important in a manufacturing environment – it’s not just about WHAT is happening, but WHY. Once you know that, you have the insight you need to take the best action possible given the circumstances. This in and of itself more than justifies the investment for most people.

If you’d like to find out more information about turning data into insight and action with downtime tracking, or if you just have any additional questions that you’d like to discuss with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact the team at Thrive today.


How a Manufacturing KPI Dashboard Can Uncover the True Story Beneath Your Organization

Though the technology behind a manufacturing KPI dashboard may be sophisticated, the overall goal is anything but: it’s a resource designed to give you a real-time view into your manufacturing process, presenting critical information from machines, sensors, systems and even people in the most user-friendly way possible.

In a general sense, they’re designed to help organizations like yours not only monitor production but also optimize it in a way that allows you to make meaningful gains in terms of quality and efficiency, too.

But in a macro sense, they also give you key insight into the specific operations that matter most to you. Not only can you see all of your historical performance data with just a few quick clicks of your mouse, but you get to compare it to current data just as easily. This is a perfect chance to really uncover the true story playing out beneath your organization, allowing past results to shed insight into where you may be going moving forward.

Putting the Manufacturing Dashboard to Work For You
Obviously, the major benefit of this type of manufacturing KPI dashboard is that you can complete visibility into your production lines from anywhere, at any time, and on any device. You can see exactly what is working and, more importantly, what isn’t. You can understand where your bottlenecks are and take steps to mitigate risk from them as much as possible.

Thanks to the sheer volume of data you have access to, however, you can compare factors and monitor how the relationship of one element of your business impacts the other. You can also use analytics to uncover trends and patterns that further illustrate the relationship between different departments or even different pieces of equipment.

The added benefit of this is that it makes sure the right person always has information at exactly the right time. Someone in the head office may want to look at trends pertaining to those metrics that matter most to them, like cost savings opportunities or risk management. Someone on the factory floor might not care about that at all, instead choosing to dive deeper into production quality. A department supervisor may want to take a closer look at the status of a particular machine, or even scrap levels.

The most critical thing to understand is that a manufacturing dashboard allows you to do all of this and more, all at the exact same time.

Have you ever been watching a movie and you were so invested in the story that you were able to predict the ending before it happened? Obviously, when you pay $15 for a movie ticket, that’s a less than ideal outcome. In the world of manufacturing, you don’t want to deal with those types of surprises. When you understand are invested in the true story happening with your organization, you can see exactly where it’s headed – allowing you to take the meaningful steps today necessary to make that vision of tomorrow a reality.

The Importance of Visibility Across Your Manufacturing Process  

Every single day, the sheer volume of data that your manufacturing business is creating is growing exponentially – and that is one trend that is not going to slow down anytime soon.

Inside this data is the insight you need to make the best decisions possible given all of the various challenges you face. From which lines are devoted to which products to employee allocation to asset utilization – you name it, the information you need to take control over all of it is right there inside that data, waiting to get out.

Of course, sometimes this can be easier said than done – particularly if you don’t have a process in place to draw that insight from the data itself. This, in essence, is why visibility across your manufacturing process is so essential – it helps make sure that you’re actually able to act on data, as opposed to just letting it sit on a server somewhere.

The Power of Visibility: An Overview

In a general sense, data visibility refers to how easy it is for you to monitor, display and analyze data from all of the various sources you’re working with. In other words, it’s about making sure that you have the most vivid picture to work from. You don’t just know the end result of all of your manufacturing efforts. You’re not just limited to basic facts like “this worked” or “this didn’t.”

You always know exactly what is going on, why it’s going on, and what tangible benefits you expect to get as a result. If one of your lines suffers an issue, you don’t just know what happened. You know why it happened, at which point you also know exactly what you need to do to STOP it from happening again in the future.

In a lot of ways, this is why a downtime tracking solution like Thrive is one of the best investments you can make. Not only do you get a chance to increase visibility across your manufacturing process today, but you can also take a deep dive into your historical performance as well. You can compare and contrast the way things are to the way they were, making sure that you’re always on a trajectory to unlock the way you HOPE they will be.

This level of visibility holds the key to everything – from making sure that your equipment is functioning at peak efficiency to guaranteeing that you have enough employees on hand to better allocating training funds and beyond. It’s about giving you as much insight as possible into not just your process but your business, all in the name of acting on that as much as you can moving forward.

If you’d like to find out more information about the importance of visibility across your manufacturing process, or if you’re just eager to see what type of impact a downtime tracking solution can do for your business, please don’t delay – contact the team at Thrive today.



The Major Advantages of Downtime Tracking for Construction Manufacturing and Related Materials

On the one hand, you probably don’t need to be told that you should be tracking instances of downtime in your construction business. Regardless of how short the events are, downtime still means lost revenue for your business – so it’s in your best interest to keep a watchful eye on this as much as possible.

But that doesn’t mean simply jotting down some comments in a notebook. Today’s downtime tracking solutions can bring with them big benefits for construction manufacturing and related materials organizations in particular that you should definitely be aware of moving forward.

The Core Benefits of Downtime Tracking for Construction Companies

One of the major reasons why downtime tracking is so important to construction businesses in particular ultimately comes down to the idea that time is money.

When an unplanned downtime event occurs on a construction site or in a similar environment, absolutely no value is being produced to speak of – but despite that, overhead costs continue to grow. People that you’re paying are standing around, unable to do their jobs… but are still getting paid. Clients are growing impatient because they’re not getting the results they were after. The list goes on and on.

In fact, according to one recent study, an unplanned downtime event can cost as much as $260,000 an hour in some cases once both “real” and “hidden” costs like the above are accounted for.

So why is downtime tracking so important for construction manufacturing? Because while you can never totally eliminate the possibility of something going wrong, the faster you can find out WHY it went wrong means that you’re able to fix the problem as quickly as you can.

Another major reason why downtime tracking is so important in construction manufacturing ultimately comes down to the lifetime value of your equipment. Armed with accurate and actionable downtime data, a maintenance manager can now prioritize things like preventative maintenance as much as possible. They can help prolong the life of your equipment as long as they can, all to make sure that A) that piece of machinery is still functioning at peak efficiency, and B) to push that inevitable equipment replacement cost down the road as much as possible.

Even when a piece of equipment DOES need to be replaced, it’s far easier to justify if you’ve been tracking its performance over the long-term. You’ll have cold, hard numbers that you can turn to in order to say “look, this is holding us back. It’s breaking down far too often, which is costing this amount of money. By continuing to maintain it, it won’t save nearly as much as it appears, and it should be replaced.”

This is the type of insight you’re not going to get anywhere else, which is why downtime tracking is and will always be worth the investment.

If you’d like to find out even more information about the major advantages of downtime tracking for construction manufacturing and related materials, or if you’d just like to discuss your own technology needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your partners at Thrive today.