OEE and APQP – New Equipment / Program / Process Launch

In parts I – III we discussed the role of leadership to define policies and procedures.  We also discussed developing the infrastructure of your team through training and development.  However, this still doesn’t put OEE at the forefront of your company.  If the goal of your company is to achieve world class performance, it is easier to make sure the process can achieve this level from the start.

In this respect, although most OEE implementations focus on current processes and equipment, we recommend a parallel integration of new initiatives, such as OEE, into the Advanced Product, Process, and Quality Planning stages of a new program launch.  This will be referred to as APQP activity for the discussion that follows.

OEE is rapidly becoming one of the key criteria to be met for new equipment purchases or process launch activities.  This also presents an opportunity for the leadership of the company to take an active role in defining the process performance expectations and, more specifically, OEE for any process procurement / purchasing activities.

Advance Process and Quality Planning (APQP)

The objective of APQP activities is to ensure the engineering and quality aspects of the product meet the customer’s requirements for its intended purpose or function and that the manufacturing process is capable of making a quality product at rate.

New program launches present a fresh platform to clearly define the process performance objectives specifically with regard to OEE.  This also presents an ideal opportunity to explore and develop the technologies that will or can be used to provide OEE data in real time – by design.

The OEE data collection, monitoring, and reporting technology also forces the formulation of a clear policy and definition for OEE.  The system can be used as part of the equipment validation process and, in turn, also used to verify the performance expectations of the process itself.

Another advantage of pursuing OEE objectives at the onset of your APQP activity is that the equipment and tooling suppliers can be included in the development process.  This will provide adequate time to define the scope of the project and OEE criteria, including how OEE will be measured and training your suppliers accordingly.

The introduction of statistical process control (SPC) into the automotive industry many years ago caught many tooling suppliers by surprise when statistical evidence of process capability for the parts produced by the tool was required before they would be paid.  This led to many additional hours of “rework” to improve the tools.  Suddenly, feasibility assessments, product design reviews, and gage or fixture designs gained more significance and were brought into the forefront of many discussions before the next set of tools were ever designed or built.

The same has occurred with the introduction of OEE.  While OEE has been around for a number of years, it too is growing in popularity as a true manufacturing metric.  For this reason, it is imperative that the equipment or tooling supplier understands what comprises the definition of OEE.  A machine running multiple parts must support multiple changeovers or setups, varying machine rates (cycle times), and quality criteria.  It is important to define who is responsible for the various aspects that may affect or impact each factor of OEE.

We will discuss this in more detail in our next post.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

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