Automated Production Reporting in Manufacturing

Saving time and money is a top priority for manufacturers across the industry and automatic data collection does just that. Manually collected data limits your facility’s opportunity to grow and be as efficient as possible.

Reducing machine downtime and producing unbiased and accurate results is vital to the success of every manufacturer. Manually collected data is not efficient because data is entered in the system by a human operator. Sure, your employees are the best in the industry, but human error is inevitable. Automated production reporting will take you one step closer to dominating the industry.

The Dangers of Manually Collected Data

The 3 main disadvantages of manually collected data is that the results are: untimely, inaccurate, and biased. As mentioned above, this is generally due to inevitable human error. You can’t control it- everyone makes mistakes!

Typically, manually collected data is entered into the system at specific times like the end of a shift. Within those times, the health and efficiency of a machine are unknown. When a machine goes down, it can take maintenance hours to respond, which can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. If the machine is down for longer, it can take insufficient amounts of time to keep jobs moving through the que.

It’s unfortunately very common for inaccurate data to slip through the system. Accidents happen, but they can be extremely costly. Written data can be difficult to read and when it’s misinterpreted and entered into the system incorrectly, it can be difficult to detect and solve.

Manually collected data is also bias because the person entering the data has influence over what and when information is entered. For example, if a plant is understaffed and the operator doesn’t tell the truth about the period of machine down times, the plant will ultimately lose money. These are hidden down times that will go undocumented. Bias is a very expensive problem.

Automated Production Reporting Solves Core Problems

Automation solves the 3 major problems of manual data collection. It is timely, accurate, unbiased, and now affordable. What used to be costly and unreliable, automated production reporting can now be used with Ethernet, on web browsers to easily share data, and is compatible with Structured Query Language (SQL). These advancements allow data collection to be shared within various databases quickly, easily, and affordably.

Choose the Best System

There are two ways to collect data from product machinery: communicate directly with the existing controllers or add a dedicated data collection device to each machine. Whichever option you choose, each system should include a data logger, database, report generator, and real-time updates.

The system you choose will ideally report data including part count, machine states (running, idle, etc.), and error codes. An operation cannot be efficient or effective if this specific data is not accounted for.

The Opportunities are Endless

You’ll more than likely have more data collected then you know what to do with, and that is a great problem to have. The possibilities are endless when an automated production reporting software is in place. Real-time data will open the door for revenue growth by reducing machine downtown and increasing productivity. These systems are accurate, efficient, and affordable- what are you waiting for? Ready to Thrive?


Benchmarking and Evaluating OEE

Overall Equipment Effectiveness, OEE, is a metric that pinpoints productivity and efficiency in manufacturing operations by comparing true productive time and planned production time. To determine how productive an operation is, it combines three main metrics: availability, performance, and quality.

As a benchmark and evaluating tool, it can be used to compare the performance of production within the industry or in-house. OEE is also used to track data and progress over time to help eliminate waste from an operation.

Evaluating and Measure OEE

What exactly is a good OEE score? Just like tests or exams in school, the best score you can receive is 100%, but that doesn’t happen very often. A score of 100% means that a facility is maintaining absolutely perfect production- no stoppage time, no back-ups, no mistakes. Perfect isn’t always practical.

A score of 85% is considered “world class” and is a more achievable goal than a perfect score. World class or best in class performers have high efficiency in all areas of availability, performance, and quality.

The most common OEE score is 60%, meaning that an operation is only productive 60% of the time.

Laggards are the lowest tier of manufacturers. A score between 30% and 50% indicates extremely low productivity levels which could be caused by downtime or equipment performances.

Minor Stop Index

The minor stop index is a vital metric that measures the number of minor stops per hour that last 10 minutes or less. On average, a production line experiences almost 9 stops per hour (that equals to roughly 7 minutes per hour of downtime!).

Contrary to popular belief, the best in class performers are responsible for more minor stoppage than others. This is because world class performers have put in the time and resources to solve major issues that minor ones, like bottles breaking or label jams, take up most of their time.

Minor stops are the most common problems in the industry that consistently need time and attention.

Improving OEE

The best way to improve overall equipment effectiveness is to identify all problems in your operation. You can’t solve any issues until you’ve found the root of the problem!

According to the Manufacturing Benchmark Study by Informance, best in class performers knew where 99% of their day went, while laggards had no idea where 16.2% of the went! This statistic is alarming to say the least. For more perspective, laggard performers are unaware of where 9 minutes of every hour goes. It’s impossible to improve OEE without identifying the key problems in your operation.

Focusing on reducing short, minor stops will help boost availability in equipment. Availability is a vital metric because it is a critical indicator that most affects OEE improvements.

You can be the best in class

It’s time to raise the bar and become a world class performer. Prevent shutdowns, reduce changeover, and eliminate equipment downtime with our team at Thrive. Our Downtime Tracking System provides real-time data and reporting to aid in increasing efficiency and meeting production goals!

What are you waiting for? Are you ready to Thrive? Schedule a free demo and take the first step to becoming world class!

OEE Metrics Reveal Increased Return on Investment


At the time being, how is your production line doing? Is it running efficiently? Any downtime? Can you identify the bottlenecks? Manufacturing lines are complex operations. The smallest manufacturers can struggle in knowing what is going on – imagine multiple production lines and multiple sites. With Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), one obtains a real-time view from a single screen of production lines’ efficiency and the entire manufacturing operation.

OEE is a metric based on Availability, Performance and Quality and is used to help manufacturing companies improve their performance. Small improvements in OEE scores can produce substantial improvements in efficiency and profitability and deliver good Return on Investment (ROI) for the process monitoring and improvement effort.

OEE is a proven manufacturing management methodology that determines the profit dollar value of decisions while connecting plant floor to income statement. In real-time, the OEE can quantify if the company is making or losing money on a per-part and per-machine basis accurately. ROI and Real-time OEE reporting will help identify ways to save both time and money.

Performance identifiers include minor stops, bottlenecks, and speed loss, areas that can be harder to measure by estimating the situation. Availability includes unplanned downtime, scheduling, and utility issues. OEE will also include operator error; process upsets, and supply chain management.

By utilizing OEE for making business decisions, a business can increase efficiency and find a quick ROI. Some facilities have identified payback in a matter of weeks; they are leveraging OEE and specifically downtime tracking at an excellent level. Though there is no promise ROI will be in a matter of weeks, using OEE to make business decisions and then leveraging those to improve, they typically find ROI can be achieved in a matter of months.

Role of OEE in Lean Manufacturing

The Lean methodology focuses on removing non-value-adding activities and waste to reduce complexity and cost. The Lean approach provides foundation for operational excellence by process standardization, worker empowerment and instills a culture of continuous improvement.

All employees are involved in continuously reviewing and improving efficiency throughout a process or value chain when Lean techniques are in place. Lean techniques may include visual controls to help operators identify the right times to adjust equipment, or preventive maintenance to reduce the number of equipment failures by proactively maintaining equipment.

OEE, a measurement used in Total Productive Maintenance programs, is a metric commonly found in Lean Manufacturing. The OEE metric and Lean process can help manufacturing answer three questions:

  • How often is the machine available to run?
  • How fast is the machine when running?
  • What is the count of acceptable parts made?

In addition to the three questions are six areas of losses that can affect the OEE and its three components. Breaking down the losses to these categories helps the Lean manufacturing team prioritize improvements.

Breakdown Losses

Breakdown losses falls under the OEE “availability loss” and Lean’s “unplanned stops” – sudden or unexpected equipment downtime that makes the machine less available. Contributing factors may include:

  • Major mechanical failures
  • Electrical system failures
  • Structural failure

Set-up & Adjustment Losses

Set-up and Adjustment Losses are an availability loss that falls under Lean six big loss of “planned stops”. The degree of loss depends on factors such as:

  • Standards process
  • Tooling consistency and quality
  • Skill-level of operator

Idling & Minor Stoppages

Production is interrupted by a temporary malfunction or when the machine is idling. This is an OEE performance loss and falls under the Lean “small stops”. Contributing factors include:

  • Defective products resulting from a line shutdown
  • Operator on other machine or other tasks
  • Temporary equipment malfunction

Reduced Speed Losses

This stage refers to the difference in equipment design speed and the actual operating speed. It is an OEE performance loss and a Lean “slow cycles”. Factors include:

  • Mechanical problems
  • Risk of making unacceptable parts at higher speeds
  • Operator training

Process Defects

Process defects occur during the stages of production – from machine start-up, warm-up, and “learning phase”. This stage is an OEE quality loss and “production rejects” in the Lean stages. The degree of loss depends on factors such as:

  • Maintenance of equipment
  • Tooling
  • Raw Material
  • Operator skill level

Reduced Yield

Losses in quality caused by malfunctioning equipment or tooling. An OEE quality loss, the degree of loss depends on factors such as:

  • Maintenance of equipment
  • Tooling
  • Raw Material

Newest Features

Continuous improvement is more than a buzzword. It’s how you operate, and it’s how we operate too. But shiny and new doesn’t mean much if you can’t actually use it, which is why we focus on adding features that hit home.

Here’s a list of our latest and greatest improvements, fresh from our brains to your dashboard.

June, 2018
VP Dashboard:
This is a graph that can take you places. See every location’s performance in a single report, so you can compare the plant as a whole and compare individual lines that produce the same product.

April, 2018
SKU Performance: 
Find out which products or SKUs are troublemakers and which are rock stars. This new report provides details on downtime minutes, occurrences and finished goods.

March, 2018
Updated Launchpad:
Your launchpad now has the skinny on SKU, finished goods and efficiency. Take things to the next level by prominently displaying this page in the plant for an effective at-a-glance performance report.

January, 2018
Automated Reason Code Assignment: 
We’ve got your back. “No Reason Entered” will automatically be assigned after a set threshold, allowing for a more accurate total downtime calculation. Have a longer planned downtime between shifts? “Not Scheduled to Run” will automatically be assigned after a set threshold, saving your operators time and hassle.

November, 2017
Daily Digest Emails by Shift: Get the news when you need it instead of waiting for daily reports. Set up your daily digest emails by shift.

September, 2017
Text & Email Alerts by Shift:
Everyone needs a break now and then. When you’re off the clock, your alerts can be too.

August, 2017
Require Comment from Operators:
Need more details? You can now require an operator comment for specific reason codes. Simply set up your preference in the Reason Code Manager tab.

June, 2017
Additional Reporting on Historical Details Page:
Drill down to the heart of the matter. Select any reason code at any level and run reports to compare.

April, 2017
Immediate Downtime:
The operator interface now shows immediate downtime and line status, because you need to know now, not after the fact.