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Overall Equipment Effectiveness FAQ's


What is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)?
OEE stands for Overall Equipment Effectiveness (also referred to as Overall Equipment Efficiency) and is a standard measure of performance which brings together the three most significant production metrics, Availability, Performance and Quality.

Why is Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) important to me?
Whilst many companies monitor and act upon downturns in availability, performance and quality, few look at the three together or fully consider the impact that changes made to improve one area may have on the others. OEE bridges that gap by unifying all three aspects of the production process into one single measurement.

Can OEE be applied to any process or manufacturing operation?
Originating in the cell-based world of manufacturing, OEE was initially designed to measure the overall performance of individual production calls, a cell being an individual machine, a group of operatives carrying out a process or any other ‘grouping’ for which a measurement was required. However, products like OEE Impact have taken that original concept a stage further, expanding it to take into account other production variables which make the measurement tool more flexible, functional and, most importantly, suitable for use in virtually any process or production environment. We like to classify OEE Impact as an OEE+ product as it takes (and complies with) the recognized OEE standard and adds to it!

How can I justify investment in an OEE tool without first identifying the ROI?
This is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ question – only a very coarse assessment of the potential for improvement and, from that, return on investment (ROI) can be made prior to the implementation of a system of this kind. However, from experience we know that you will start to feel the benefit almost immediately and, dependent on the solution that you select, will recover the initial investment costs within the first few months of operation. It’s a point to note that whilst many companies believe that they can’t significantly improve without major capital investment those companies, when measured, are only typically achieving 40% throughput with what they’ve got (world-class companies achieve greater that 80%!).

What type of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) solution should I be looking for?

The type of solution that you choose may very much depend on the manufacturing or process model that you operate:

Manual Operations or Processes
For companies whose manufacturing process is primarily non-automatic (i.e. manual labour or discrete processes with little or no automation) then a manual entry system may be the ideal solution. Gemba Solutions’ OEE Impact is typical of this type of system, offering a set of pre-defined forms onto which data can be manually recorded, an intuitive user interface through which that data can be entered and a vast array of reports and displays with which the recorded data can be viewed and analyzed.

Semi Automatic Operations or Processes
Where the operation or process to be measured falls somewhere between the two (i.e. where a mixture of automatic and manual processes exist) then a solution that supports both methods of data capture would be most suited. OEE Impact and CATS Impact both meet this requirement, OEE Impact offering a cost-effective but feature-rich solution and CATS Impact offering a more costly but totally comprehensive solution to meet virtually any OEE or MES requirement.

Fully Automatic Operations or Processes
Where manufacturing or process equipment is operated from which production data (running signals, product counts, fault signals, etc.) can be automatically gathered then a system which automates the data collection process should be considered. Gemba Solutions’ CATS Impact, the latest manifestation of the highly successful CATS product range, is such a solution, offering as standard interfaces for data collection into all of the most commonly used PLCs (i.e. Siemens, Modicon, AB, Omron, GE, etc.) and sub-systems (ERP, HR, etc.) found in the manufacturing and process arena.

How do I implement an Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Solution?

How should I select the area(s) on which to implement an OEE tool?
Our clients typically fall into one of two groups - those that aren’t aware of any performance issues and those that know they have room for improvement and are looking for tools that will assist in their measure and analysis. In each case the recommended approach may differ:

I’m not aware that I have performance issues …
Whether or not your aware of it your operation will have scope for improvement - and if you’re not currently measuring or analyzing it then how can you possibly know what you can or can’t achieve.

In this case we’d recommend the implementation of a pilot scheme based on a manual entry solution (the most cost-effective option) targeted at a known bottleneck or process/labour-intensive section of your operation. At worst the pilot will provide quality information confirming that things couldn’t improve and that you are, indeed, a world class manufacturing company (pat on the back!), at best it will do its job in identifying where your potential issues lie and where improvements should be targeted.

Once proven, the pilot can be expanded to encompass other areas of the plant or process identified as having potential for improvement. Where the capability exists for the automatic collection of OEE data from the plant the automatic data collection module can be added, removing the need to collect and enter data and increasing the accuracy and resolution of the data gathered.

We need to improve our performance…
Many companies have already woken up to the benefits that accurate measurement and analysis of performance data can bring, have started down the OEE path and already know where their current bottlenecks lie. For those companies that acknowledge a need for measured improvement then the question becomes what to use rather than where to target it The choice in this case may come down to Manual entry versus Automatic Entry, each of which offers its own advantages and disadvantages.

The key benefit of going for a manual entry solution rather that one offering automatic data collection is cost. However, when a  plant already has some kind of control network linking the key production process components (e.g. PLC network) then making use of that network and the information available on it will lead to an accurate, effective and long-term solution to measuring and continually improving performance on an ongoing basis.

For further details of what our OEE IMPACT and CATS products have to offer please visit our product websites at www.oeeimpact.co.uk and www.gembasolutions.co.uk/cats

For a complete list of Frequently Asked Questions please request via our "user request" form




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