thumbnail post
Uncovering the Real Story About Your Business That OEE is Trying to Tell You  

Obviously, every manufacturer out there makes peak productivity a top priority – regardless of what it is that you’re actually manufacturing. If you’re able to produce only the highest quality parts, as quickly as your lines will allow, with little to no stop time to speak of, you’ve done exactly that – which is also what OEE or “Overall Equipment Effectiveness” is all about.

But at the same time, OEE is more than just another metric and it goes above and beyond a standard best practice. It may be one of the biggest sources of insight you have into the opportunities that can improve your manufacturing process. Because if you’re able to dive beneath the data to uncover the true story hiding in plain sight, you have everything you need to identify losses, benchmark progress and more – all at the exact same time.

The True Power of OEE: Breaking Things Down

To get a better idea of all this in action, consider things within the context of one of the most important factors that influences OEE: quality. Any Overall Equipment Effectiveness measurement always takes into consideration something called Quality Loss, which is when you end up manufacturing parts that do not meet quality standards.

Obviously, knowing that this is happening is important. But knowing WHY is the more critical part of the equation and to get that insight, you have to go deeper than just a number on a metric sheet.

Quality Loss could involve scrap and parts that need to be reworked. It could be good parts that weren’t able to successfully move through the manufacturing process for some reason. Those two issues have very different solutions and until you know exactly what you’re dealing with, you don’t know which to implement.

The same is true for availability. Just because your availability isn’t currently 100% doesn’t necessarily mean you have a problem on your hands. You could be dealing with planned stops like changeover time or plant shutdowns, breaks, lunches or even periods when there are no orders. Whether those things are taking longer than they should be is another story, but you can’t discount the fact that they exist altogether.

All of this is a long way of saying that Overall Equipment Effectiveness is every bit as much an art as it is a science. Yes, there’s a tremendous amount of data involved but until you truly understand what that data is trying to tell you, you don’t have access to the insight you need to make better and more informed decisions moving forward.

Once you do unlock that level of understanding, however, you can begin to measure those metrics that are truly important to you. At that point, you’ll have everything you need to improve your manufacturing processes across the board – which is how the competitive advantage that you’ll use to fuel the next decade of your business’ success will be born.

If you’d like to find out even more information about the true narrative hidden beneath your OEE stats, or if you’d just like to talk to someone about your own needs in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and contact Thrive today.

 

 

thumbnail post
The Dramatic Impact That OEE Can Have Across Your Entire Production Line

If you had to make a list of all the key metrics that your business should be concerning itself with on a daily basis, OEE would be right at the top.

Short for Overall Equipment Effectiveness, you’re talking about the single biggest opportunity you have to not only identify losses, but to do so in a way that also helps you intelligently benchmark progress, holistically improve the productivity of your manufacturing equipment and eliminate as much waste as possible, essentially all at the same time.

Make absolutely no mistake about it: OEE is more than just another best practice. It’s not a trend or a passing fad. It’s a chance to inject a shot of adrenalin across your entire production line in a way that is far too important for you to ignore.

Breaking Down the Incredible Impact of OEE

Part of the reason why OEE matters so much is because even something as simple as downtime tracking can mean so many different things depending on the situation.

Yes, you know that your lines aren’t running as effectively as they should be. You may even know which piece of equipment was offline and when. But do you know WHY? Do you know what events led to that moment of downtime? But more than that, are you able to interpret the data you’ve already created in a way that doesn’t take an advanced computer science degree to understand?

Probably not – which is why OEE is invaluable. It lets you dive deep into important factors like:

  • Availability. This part of OEE takes into careful consideration things like both unplanned and planned stops, giving you a critical level of context where one never existed in the past.
  • Performance. This allows you to carefully examine things like slow cycles and small stops.
  • Quality. This gives you additional insight into concepts like defects, which absolutely includes parts that eventually needed to be reworked.

The closer each of these scores is to 100%, the more effective your operations are running. So you don’t just know WHY you aren’t operating how you should be. You also know which of these areas you need to pay more attention to, and which are essentially taken care of.

What you’re left with is ultimately a much more vivid picture about what is REALLY going on across your production line than ever before. One that allows you to dive beneath all that data your business is creating to uncover the true story hidden underneath. And with a tool like Thrive, you can do so in a way that literally anyone in your business can use and capitalize on.

Truly, what could be more important than that?

If you’d like to discover even more ways in which OEE can have a dramatic impact across your entire production line, or if you’d just like to discuss your own downtime tracking needs with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.

thumbnail post
How to Implement OEE in Your Workplace  

Generally speaking, OEE (or overall equipment effectiveness) is about measuring manufacturing productivity in a way that makes sense in the context of your unique business. There is no “one size fits all” way to run a factory floor. Only by understanding why you’re experiencing stop time, why you’re not hitting the quality markers you need, and why you’re not moving as quickly as you’d like will you be able to put actionable steps in place to improve things as much as possible.

OEE is an effective way to tackle all of these issues at the exact same time because if you understand your situation, you can measure it. If you can measure it, you can improve it. Thankfully, implementing OEE in your own workplace is fairly straightforward – you’ll just need to keep a few key best practices in mind.

Implementing OEE: An Overview

Overall, implementing OEE in your own business means having access to the tools necessary to generate the insight needed to understand and improve upon those factors outlined above.

But again – no two manufacturing businesses are created equally. For the best results, you need to settle on an approach that works for you and you alone.

This means defining what OEE means to you BEFORE your project begins. What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish? Which issues are you constantly dealing with that you’d like to get more insight on? What metrics matter most to you given your long-term goals as a company? The answers to these questions will absolutely fuel the majority of your decisions moving forward.

Then and only then, you can put into place the types of tools you need to capture the OEE data necessary for the goals you just set for yourself. For many organizations, downtime tracking solutions like Thrive’s will be a lynch pin to this process. It’s a viable way to get a better understanding of why you’re experiencing downtime, sure – but it’s also a core part of how you’ll calculate availability, performance and quality. Those three ideas are at the heart of OEE and you need to put a priority on them moving forward.

Once you have detailed data about downtime, you can dive deeper into why these issues are occurring. Suddenly, things that were once murky become clear and unambiguous in a way that allows you to finally act on this intelligence. You can then do the same analysis of quality and other factors, painting a clearer picture of exactly what you’re dealing with.

At that point, you won’t just know which aspects of your operations are working – more importantly, you’ll know which ones AREN’T. Given that superior level of insight, making improvements requires little more than implementing the right changes at exactly the right time.

Contact Thrive today to learn more about how to implement OEE in your workplace and discuss your specific needs with an expert who truly understands your business.

 

thumbnail post
What Do Tightening Tax Laws Mean for the Resources You Need to Operate, and How Can Downtime Tracking Software Help?

Even though many states are loosening restrictions and are starting to open back up again, the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic are far from over. This is particularly true in terms of the impact on how you’re able to do business – something that probably won’t be “going back to normal” anytime soon.

Thanks largely to issues like COVID-19 surpluses, experts are already predicting that tax laws are going to tighten in the near future. This is true in light of the fact that the federal government has already sent orders and restrictions to regular taxpayers. Some are suggesting that this may actually cut you off from the resources your plant needs to operate at a time when you really can’t afford to have that happen.

Luckily, you do still have an asset that you can depend on – and a powerful one, at that. Downtime tracking software is about to become more valuable than ever before, for several key reasons that are more than worth exploring.

Tax Laws, COVID-19, and Downtime Tracking: What You Need to Know

To speak to the subject of tax laws, one of the most important that you’ll want to pay attention to moving forward has to do with Section 179. This is a provision in the tax law made possible under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that allows business owners like yourself to deduct the full purchase price of qualified equipment from their organization’s gross income.

Likewise, a bonus depreciation of 100% is also available on certain business assets that meet the provision’s criteria, which you can read more about right here.

The good news is that downtime tracking software absolutely falls under that umbrella – meaning that if this isn’t something you’ve already been experimenting with across your enterprise, now would be an excellent time to start thanks to a cost of entry that is far lower than ever before.

But even going beyond that, the purchase of downtime tracking software may very well be your best opportunity to get “back on your feet” once COVID-19 has finally left us behind. At its core, downtime tracking is a viable way to figure out why you’re not working as fast as you should be. You know more than just “I was supposed to produce 500 parts in the last hour and I only produced 400.”

You don’t just know what is happening – you know WHY it’s happening. This provides you with the meaningful, real-time insight you need to actually fix the problem as quickly as possible – thus allowing you to get the most out of the resources you need to operate, regardless of how scarce they may become in the future.

If you’d like to find out more information about what tightening tax laws mean for the resources you need to operate, or if you’re just looking for additional insight into why downtime tracking software can actually help with this issue, please don’t hesitate to contact Thrive today.

Not only will we go over your options about buying out your system, but we’ll also help you write off 100% of that purchase when tax season rolls around yet again!

thumbnail post
How Small Manufacturers Can Use The OEE Metric

Implementing OEE Small BusinessAwareness of the importance of the OEE metric has been growing among small business owners and managers. Many small manufacturers are looking to implement this metric to maximize their equipment efficiency. However, implementing the OEE metric properly can be a big change. Thankfully, small manufacturers are more agile than larger manufacturers, so they can streamline and restructure their operations more quickly. The main challenge that small manufacturers face is not the time it will take to implement OEE, but the fact they literally cannot afford confusion or poor implementation. Read on to learn how small manufacturers can efficiently implement OEE.

Learn How To Measure OEE Accurately Beforehand

OEE can be calculated using a simple formula. The formula is as follows: OEE= Availability x Performance x Quality. Availability can be calculated using unscheduled time and unplanned downtime. Performance can be calculated using the total number of units produced and the target number of units produced. Quality, of course, is comprised of the number of units that meet quality control standards.

Separate Unscheduled & Unavailable Time

It is important that small manufacturers separate unscheduled and unavailable time. Unscheduled time does not need to be taken into account when reducing downtime. Unavailable time is what comprises OEE downtime. There are several categories of unscheduled time, and only time that falls into these categories should be not be considered. If there is a lack of customer orders, then this time is unscheduled, not unavailable. If there is a lack of resources or personnel caused by forces outside of the company’s control, then this is also unscheduled time. Finally, time spent on research and development work, which may be minimal for a small manufacturer, also counts as unscheduled time.

Calculate OEE Using The Maximum Theoretical Production Speed

Small manufacturers often have not optimized their processes to the same degree that large manufacturers have. This may make it tempting for these small manufacturers to use a target production speed that is lower than the theoretical maximum when calculating OEE. This makes optimal efficiency much easier to achieve. However, OEE calculated with less than the theoretical maximum production speed is not truly optimal efficiency. This may not seem like a big deal, but hitting supposed optimal efficiency (which isn’t really optimal) can breed complacency, which can be a killer for a small manufacturer. A large manufacturing concern can afford stagnation. A small manufacturer needs to focus on sustainable growth, which can come from properly optimizing their business.

Don’t Procrastinate

There will certainly be a learning curve when first measuring OEE and striving to optimize a small There were no Copyscape matches found. manufacturer. Many small businesses, especially small manufacturers, operate on very thin margins. There will inevitably be some inefficiency and confusion when first trying to achieve full OEE. However, a well-thought-out implementation will start paying dividends in short order.

thumbnail post
Industrial Internet of Things- Challenges in Manufacturing

The industrial internet of things, IIoT, is when “smart” sensors are used to boost and upgrade manufacturing and industrial processes. IIoT allows machines to produce real-time analytics and data to help improve communication within your operation. While there are many benefits of IIOT, there are also some challenges within the manufacturing industry.

Integration and Implementation

Integrating information technology and operational technology within IIT is a complicated challenge. Implementing this technology can be even more difficult when all existing machines within an operation are working perfectly fine. When a machine is working, it can be hard to justify a massive expense. You cannot simple pick and choose what IIoT technology you’d like to integrate- it’s essentially all or nothing. This technology would have to complete replace current existing equipment.

Finances

As we briefly stated about, finances are a major challenge with IIoT technology. It’s a massive expense that is simply not practical or possible for many small businesses. IIoT is still considered new technology and the data to back it up can be hard to find. Without seeing the number of operations industrial IoT technology has helped, it can be hard to shell out the cash.

Security

Security is perhaps the biggest concern with IIoT technologies. Security breaches affect not only the operation itself, but the employees within the operation as well. As with any system that stores and analyzes data, IIoT technology is very vulnerable to hacking, along with other security concerns. If, for example, the system or machines are hacked, production could be delayed or halted entirely. Cyber security is also very limited with IIoT which is another main reason that companies are so hesitant to implement it.

Connectivity

Connectivity, or lack thereof, is a challenge that IIoT technology has to overcome. When any system becomes wireless, a myriad of issues follows closely behind. Wireless connection also leaves more room for security issues when not integrated and monitored properly.

Come and Thrive

Is it possible to overcome the challenges that the industrial internet of things technology presents? With the right team and operation, yes.

While industrial IoT brings on many challenges, it has several benefits as well. Real-time analytics and data make IIoT highly effective and efficient within day to day operations. Operators will be able to manage the facility more effectively by keeping machines operating to increase production. Real-time information is also extremely beneficial within logistics and supply chain management. Data can be collected more quickly and predict any issues that could affect inventory.

Have more questions about the challenges you could face with IIoT technology? Give us a call and we will help you thrive: 1 (888) 499-7772.

thumbnail post
Technology Trends within the Manufacturing Industry

2019 has proved that the manufacturing industry is continuing to grow and evolve at an explosive rate. As a result of improving technologies, operations are operating more efficiently to save money and boost production. The top 4 manufacturing trends in 2019 are:

1) Industrial Internet of Things

The industrial internet of things, IIoT, is one of the top manufacturing trends in 2019. IIoT is comprised of “smart” sensors that are used to enhance manufacturing and industrial processes and equipment. Industrial IoT allows machines to produce real-time analytics and data to help improve communication and efficiency within your operation.

In its simplest form, industrial IoT is made up of two main components: smart sensors and cloud (wireless) computing.

Many manufacturers believe that IIoT technology will drastically increase profits for manufacturers within the coming years. Industrial IoT technology continues to be fleshed out, but the future is certainly very bright.

2) 3D Printing

While 3D printing is not entirely new technology, it has continued to develop since its creation. 3D printing allows for faster and less expensive production which can save companies time and money. Sounds pretty good, right?

3D printing also allows companies to produce certain items on demand and in-house- no need to bother storage. This technology makes cost-effective, on-site and in-house production possible!

3) Collaborative Robots

Also known as cobots, collaborative robots are made to work side by side with their human counterparts. These incredible pieces of technology continue to aid in production speed, enhance accuracy, and replace unnecessary human labor. Cobots will not completely replace human labor but enhance it. These robots simply work alongside employees to boost production and internal efficiency.

4) Cyber Security

As the industry continues to solidify itself into the digital era, the need for a tight cyber security plan is at an all time high. A cyber security system can help protect your overall operation, the employees within your operation, and confidential customer information. Cyber security breaches can happen to any company, large or small. The most common cyber security breach is hacking, which can not only halt production, but completely shut down a company.

Efficiency realized with Thrive

2019 has been an integral year for technology advances within the manufacturing industry. Success aligns with the four trends that will continue remain prevalent being industrial IoT, 3D printing, cobots, and increased cyber security.

At Thrive, we eat, sleep, and breathe efficiency. Our automated downtime tracking software measures efficiency within your operation in real-time, so you will stay up to date. Ready to Thrive? Request a free demo today!

thumbnail post
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?