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
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
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
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
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