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.