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.