When it comes to equipment downtime tracking in a manufacturing facility, OEE is far and away the most important metric to pay attention to. Short for “Overall Equipment Effectiveness,” it’s fairly straightforward – you’re tracking how many good parts you’re producing relative to the time it takes to produce them and how many instances of downtime you experience along the way.
The closer your score gets to 100%, the closer your facility is to operating at peak efficiency. Many people see almost instant gains when they start tracking OEE because it doesn’t just show them what is working – it shows them what isn’t, allowing them to act on that insight and make improvements as soon as possible.
Which, of course, demands the question – what happens if your OEE scores aren’t ticking upward since you’ve begun your machine downtime tracking efforts? The answer to that question requires you to keep a few key things in mind.
Continuous Improvement Means Continuous Monitoring
First, you must understand that absolutely nobody gets an OEE score of 100%. Even what are objectively the best facilities in the world don’t hit this number because it’s essentially an impossibility. Instead, look at it for what it is: a light to shine the way through the darkness, removing uncertainty about what you’re doing well and what you could be doing better.
If your OEE scores are NOT headed upward over time, there’s always a chance that you just don’t understand what your data is really telling you. Take availability, for example. Yes, every machine will have certain planned stops for things like routine or even preventative maintenance. But don’t take this for granted – planned stops will also ding your OEE scores.
The goal isn’t to write them off as “acceptable losses.” Maybe you’re experiencing too many planned stops and that is what is impacting your availability (and thus your entire score). Look for ways to make things like changeovers, inspections, or cleaning faster than they currently are.
Along the same lines, consider equipment that is running, but at speeds far slower than it should be. When most people look to improve performance, they turn their attention towards issues like micro stops. What they also need to be looking at is equipment that is running slower than it (theoretically) should be. Maybe the machine is too old to operate the way it used to, or it hasn’t been maintained the way it should be. Maybe poor quality materials are slowing things down. Either way, this is likely a reason why your OEE scores may be on the decline that you again overlooked because on paper, nothing appears to be wrong at all.
If you’d like to find out more information about what you should be examining if your OEE scores start to experience a downward trend, or if you just have additional questions about tracking machine downtime in general that you’d like to go over with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Thrive today.