Five Quick Ways to improve OEE

December 6, 2013 3:16 pm
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We’ve all done it: Getting lost in the detail and forgetting to come back up to a helicopter view. Usually because you think you know your operation too well. This is the first in a series of articles designed to help you stop and think “Am I focusing on the right things?”

Firstly we look at OEE. Make sure you haven’t overlooked these areas.

Planning Rules

Too often a business can get in a planning routine not because of rules but because of habits. Does your plan really reflect the optimum running sequence to deliver the best performance? Are volumes and run lengths really optimised? When was the last time you challenged the supply chain on this?

Tip Rather than 4 average size runs per week, how about 3 optimum and 1 non optimum runs, the net gain is likely to improve your OEE.

If you are not using the right performance levels to plan production the operations team will drift from the plan, causing enforced changeovers or under production.

Tip A half day workshop with your operations, technical and supply chain teams. Pick a production line and develop the planning rules you want to operate within.

Waste and Giveaway

The time you use to generate waste (or giveaway) is time you could be making good products. Chasing volume without effective control through your factory is a recipe for failure. In a process constrained factory, gaining control of giveaway adds directly back to your OEE and improves your material variances.

Tip Make sure you understand the capability of your equipment and SPC and start chasing that giveaway.

Ask Bob…….or Betty

Bob is the operator who works on the line every day. They see the process repeatedly and quite often help provide inspiration on how to do something differently.

Tip You do not need a complex CI process to walk down the lines and talk to the operators about how you could make their job easier.

Standard Operating Procedures

Start-ups and Shift Changeovers are OEE’s worst nightmares. Different teams often have their own ways of running the lines. To compound this, engineers also change setting to improve performance when required. Therefore, performance lost at these times can often be 15%-25% more than usual running.

Tip Establish the correct settings on one line and install SOP’s by using a cross shift team. When the line is not performing do not change the setting but find the true fault.

Slicker changeovers

Don’t talk about SMED until you are confident your teams all know what their role is during a changeover. Trying to jump from nothing to applying lean tools often fails as the Journey is too complicated for the shop-floor to understand in one go.

Tip Get organised, ensure owners are identified for all tasks in a changeover. Ensure your team leaders are communicating with their operators when a changeover is coming. A 2minute warning allows them to mentally prepare the tasks they are going to complete. Make it fun, get a countdown Clock or Alarm, have a quickest pit stop board. Then introduce SMED.


Written by Paul Eastwood, Director

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