As we are all aware, inspecting or measuring parts does not change the quality of the product. Likewise, measuring and reporting OEE alone does not solve problems or improve performance. While it is fair to say that increased focus and measurement of any process usually results in some degree of improvement, these are typically attributed to changes in human behavior due to observation and not necessarily real process improvements.
Using OEE to identify opportunities in your operation is the equivalent of turning the light on in a dark room. Although the room hasn’t changed, we certainly have a better understanding of what it looks like. As such, OEE is a vantage point metric that can be used to illuminate our understanding of the process and identify opportunities to drive improvements.
It is essential for your team to develop and utilize effective problem solving skills to successfully identify systemic and process root causes for failure and to develop and execute permanent corrective actions to resolve them. Our experience suggests that the lack of solid and proven problem solving skills coupled with poor execution is the leading cause of failure for new initiatives such as OEE.
We introduced an approach to improving OEE in our “Improve OEE: A Hands On Approach“, post (03-Jan-09). Although we identified some of the tools that could be used to solve of the problems, we didn’t spend much time going into the details. Over the next few posts, we’ll discuss some of the ideas in a little more detail.
The real problem for most companies is identifying what the real underlying root cause of the current “failure” mode is. Without a good understanding of the root cause, the solutions developed and implemented will not be effective, only serving to temporarily cure the immediate superficial symptoms.
Using effective problem solving skills to analyze the OEE data and to develop and execute permanent corrective actions will assure sustainable and ever improving performance.
Until Next Time – STAY lean!