Tag: Integrating OEE

How to Improve OEE – Any Questions?

Ask any Quality or Engineering manager and they will tell you that measurement systems are valuable tools to identify problems and opportunities.  The measurement system itself is not the answer – it is the data source, the EVIDENCE that drives the questions.  It is a part of the discovery and validation process to confirm the opportunity or problem and the effectiveness of the solutions to resolve it.

A well integrated OEE system should provide the data to answer the questions on everyone’s mind, “What do we need to do to improve?” or “Why aren’t we improving?”  The simple answer is, “We need to fix it.”  Of course the real question may not be, “What do we need to fix?” but, “Why did it break?”

Yes, we will likely have to replace the part(s) that failed to get the line back up and running, but what really caused the failure to occur?  What was the real root cause?  This introductory post to problem solving and root cause analysis will kick start some of the techniques used to solve problems effectively.

The Problem Statement:

The key to effective problem solving starts with identifying the problem to be solved.  This is typically a brief statement describing the problem.  For external concerns, the problem is usually stated in customer terms.

This post presents some simple examples of problems to be solved.  You will quickly discover that defining the problem may not be as simple as it looks.  We will discuss this in more depth in our future posts.

Root Cause Analysis

Identifying the real root cause(s) for the failure is the secret to successful problem solving.  The method you use to arrive at the root cause should allow you to confirm and validate your solution before taking action.  Here is an important point to remember:

Do not confuse symptoms with root causes.  

For example, you are driving down the road and suddenly find yourself struggling to maintain control of your vehicle.  Your expert driving skills allow you to pull over and stop on the side of the road.  You get out of the car and walk around to discover that you have a flat tire.  The flat tire is a symptom – not the root cause.

As luck would have it, a police officer who just happened to be following you in an unmarked car, notices your sudden erratic driving behavior and charges you with recklessness and careless driving.  Since none of the tires on the police car are flat, the officer presumes the condition of your vehicle is the direct result of your poor driving skills and bad habits after many years on the road.  Another point to remember:

Do not jump to conclusions

You, like many people, would argue that your many years of driving provided you with the experience necessary to avert danger.  The officer quickly recognizes that your many years of experience have caused you to lose perspective of the potential hazards of driving.  The officer advises that your driving record shows no record of any tickets or accidents and clearly suggests that you have had very few “experiences” with the law and minimal exposure to poor road conditions.

The officer proceeds to charge you, the operator, because you simply weren’t paying attention to the conditions and potential hazards of the road.  You are given a ticket to serve as a reminder to pay more attention to the road and to be mindful of your driving habits in the future.  Then to add insult to injury, the officer advises you to fix your tire and drive carefully. 

Unforgiving of the circumstances and since quota’s have to be met, the charges stand and you find yourself on your way to court.  As you sit in your vehicle, stunned that you just got a ticket for getting a flat tire, you are conflicted and fuming because the officer blamed you, your poor driving skills, and your bad habits for driving recklessly down the road!  The following tip will help you remember:

Operator Error is not a Root Cause

Many times, management is too quick to attribute the root cause to operator error.

5 WHY Analysis

One of the best methods for identifying the real root cause is the 5-Why approach.  The concept of asking the question “WHY?” five times is quite simple.  In practice though, you will find it may not be that easy.  Why?  Because the wrong answer will lead you through a continuing series of wrong answers that ultimately lead to the wrong conclusion.

There is always more than one answer – Which one is correct?

Referring back to our example of the flat tire, you now need an argument to absolve yourself of any blame for the incident on the highway.  In court, the judge asks, “How you plead to the charges before you?”  You answer, “Not Guilty your honor.”

  1. Why?  While I was driving down the road, I got a flat tire.
  2. Why?  Because all the air ran out of my tire.
  3. Why?  Because there was a hole in it.
  4. Why?  Because the tire didn’t have anti-puncture technology.
  5. Why?  Because the manufacturer didn’t design it properly.

Were it not for my expert driving skills, this situation could have been much worse.  As it was, using my superior driving skills, I successfully managed to maneuver my vehicle, without incident, to the side of the road, averting what could have been a disastrous crash.  Therefore, I request to be completely absolved of any and all wrongful doing and I am filing a class action suit against the tire manufacturer to cover court costs, lost wages, and damages as well as my emotional stress.

Clearly not satisfied, the judge requests you to take a 10 minute break to rethink your case.  On your return to the courtroom, you are prepared to present the following argument:

  1. Why?  While I was driving down the road, I got a flat tire.
  2. Why?  Because all the air ran out of my tire.
  3. Why?  Because there was a hole in it.
  4. Why?  Because there was a nail on the road.
  5. Why?  Because the government refuses to keep the highways clean.

Were it not for my expert driving skills, this situation could have been much worse.  As it was, using my superior driving skills, I successfully managed to maneuver my vehicle, without incident, to the side of the road, averting what could have been a disastrous crash.  Therefore, I am filing a class action suit against the government to cover for court costs, lost wages, and damages as well as my emotional stress.  To resolve this matter quickly, I request that all charges be dropped and I in turn will drop my counter-claim.

The purpose of the above example was to demonstrate how the answer to the question – WHY? – can lead to completely different conclusions.  On one hand we’re ready to sue the tire manufacturer and on the other, we’re ready to take on the government.  If there was indeed a nail on the road, how did it get there?

Don’t Assign Blame

Solving problems and getting to the root cause is not about assigning blame to someone or something.  You can’t blame the government or the tire company for the fact that there was a nail on the road.  It is to easy to assign blame and it happens everywhere, everyday.  Perhaps the nail manufacturer should be sued as well for failing to provide adequate protections should the nail become lost or misplaced.

The question that wasn’t asked is, “Why was the nail on the road?”  The answer may be that it likely fell out of a board or from a truck or trailer that may have been carrying construction materials.  Again, being careful with the answer, we don’t want to come to the conclusion that nails should be banned completely.

On the other hand, it may be worthwhile to advise that all companies and contractors must make a reasonable effort and take appropriate precautions and measures to ensure that all loads are secure and free from loose raw materials.  Any nails must be placed in a sealed container and secured to the vehicle for the purpose of transport.  A maximum fine of $2,000.00 may be imposed and made payable to the “Operator Error Trust Fund.”

Leading the Witness:  The solution BIAS

STOP! – if you think you already know the answer – Stop!  We know that the right question doesn’t always lead to the right answer as we attempted to show in our example.  Another major pitfall is thinking we already have the answer and we just need to frame the questions and answers to support that conclusion.  This isn’t problem solving, this is creative story telling.  Don’t lead your team into following what “appears” to be a logical conclusion – be prepared to prove it.

Don’t Assume Anything – Follow the EVIDENCE

At a minimum, follow the evidence.  What is the data telling you?  It’s time to start thinking like a crime scene investigator (CSI) or good lawyer.  Asking questions and continuing to probe for answers is the secret to uncovering the less obvious and, more than likely, real solution.

Many OEE equipment / software integrators provide the ability to record and track downtime events in real time.  This data is extremely valuable for trouble shooting and problem solving; however, they are not necessarily root causes.  The integrators provide the capability to readily identify what part of the process failed or what is broken.  While this may be the cause of the line down condition, it is not the root cause of the problem.

Do not confuse the Point of Failure (Source) with the Root Cause

Don’t fall into this trap:

  • Supervisor:  “The OEE system report showed that we lost two hours on the paint line last night.”
  • Maintenance:  “Yeah, I saw the report too.  This OEE system tracks everything!”
  • Supervisor:  “Why did the line go down?”
  • Maintenance:  “The A-Tank feed pump overheated.  The OEE system told us exactly which pump failed.  It saved us a ton of time.”
  • Supervisor:  “What did you do?”
  • Maintenance:  “Oh, we replaced it.  The line is running fine now.”
  • Supervisor:  “OK, that’s good.  Thanks.”

End of conversation.

So, WHY did the pump overheat?  Some questions just never get asked, but I’m sure the OEE will be just fine on the next shift.  We recognize that most effective TPM managers are sharper than this.  Our point is that not everyone is looking at the data from the same perspective.

We’ll discuss “How to Improve OEE” in more detail in our next post:  “How to use the 5 Why Approach.”

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

OEE Integration: Can you fix it?

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!

OEE Where do we Measure – Part II

We have stated that policies and procedures will have an impact on your OEE implementation strategy.  One reader commented on Part I of this post stating that “OEE should be measured at the ‘design’ bottleneck process / piece of equipment that sets the pace of the line.”  While this is certainly an effective approach, the question is whether or not company policy or procedure supports the measurement of OEE in this manner.  Nothing is as simple as it looks.  Take this to the boardroom and see what kind of response you get.  We’re flexible.

As such, this becomes yet another consideration for what is being measured, how the data going to be used, and what is the significance of the results.  While we didn’t elude to a multi-series post, the comment was indeed timely.  The risk of not understanding the data could result in other inefficiencies that are built into the process that could mask either upstream or downstream disruptions.

Inventory – Hiding Opportunities

Whenever we think of the “bottleneck”, we instantly turn to the Theory of Constraints.  The objective is to ensure that the bottleneck operation is performing as required – no disruptions.  In many cases, process engineers will anticipate the bottleneck and incorporate buffers or safety stock into the process to minimize the effect of any potential process disruptions.

On one hand, the inventory, whether in the form of off-line storage or internalized, by using a buffer (or part queue), will in essence minimize or eliminate the effects of external disruptions.  On the other hand, there is a premium to be paid to carry the excess inventory as well.

While buffers or part queue’s can serve as a visual indicator of how well the process is performing, assuming the method used to calculate the queue quantities is correct, our previous post was eluding to the fact that many manufacturers incorporate contingency strategies into the process after the fact such as inventory that was not part of the original process design or reworking product on line.

Incorporating a rework station as part of the manufacturing process because the tooling or equipment is not capable of producing a quality part at rate may eventually be absorbed as part of the “normal” or standard operating procedure.  As such, it is important to manage standardized operating procedures in conjunction with Value Stream Maps to avoid degradation from the base line process.

OEE can serve as an isolated diagnostic tool and as a metric to monitor and manage your overall operation.  Company policy should consider how OEE is to be applied.  While most companies manage OEE for all processes, they are typically managed individually.  Many companies also calculate weighted department, plant, and customer driven OEE indices.

Regardless of the OEE index reported, it is important to understand the complexities introduced by product mix and volumes when considering the use of a weighted OEE index.  The variability of the individual OEE factors compounds the understanding of the net OEE index even more.

We have provided FREE Files for you to download and use at your convenience.  A detailed discussion is also provided in our OEE tutorial.  See the “FREE Files” BOX on the sidebar.

We look forward to your comments.  If you prefer, please send an e-mail to leanexecution@gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you.

Until next time, STAY – lean!

OEE Integration – Where do We Measure OEE? – Part I

OEE Integration Part IX – Where do we measure OEE?

Our recent posts have included numerous examples to calculate OEE correctly. We also discussed integration of OEE as an effective metric for managing your processes and ultimately how to analyze and use the data to improve your profitability.  We spent little time discussing where this measurement should occur.  OEE can be measured for both manual and automated lines as well as any stand alone operation.

The OEE factors (Performance, Availability, and Quality) are process output results.  The expectation, of course, is to manage the inputs to the process to assure the optimal result is achieved.  Availability, Performance, and Quality can be measured in real-time during production. However, the results should be subject to a due diligence review when production is complete.

At a minimum, it makes sense to measure OEE at the end (output) of the line or process but this is not always ideal.  The complexity of OEE measurement occurs when single or multiple sub-cells are constrained by an upstream or downstream operation or bottleneck operation.  The flow, rate, or pace of a process is always  restricted or limited by a  sequence / process constraint or bottleneck operation.  Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so too is the line speed limited by the bottleneck operation.

We contend that the “Control-Response” loop for any process must enable immediate and effective corrective action based on the measured data and observations.  Measuring OEE in real-time at the bottleneck process makes it an ideal “Trigger Point” metric or “Control-Response” metric for managing the overall process even in “isolation” at the bottleneck operation.  Any variations at the bottleneck correlate directly to upstream and downstream process performance.

A disruption to production flow may occur due to a stock-out condition or when a customer or supplier operation is down.  While these situations affect or impact the OEE Availability factor, external factors are beyond the scope of the immediate process.

Real-time OEE requires that these events and others, such as product disposition, are reported in real-time as well.  External events are more difficult to capture in real-time and by automated systems in particular.  Operator interfaces must accommodate reporting of these events as they occur.

Reporting PITFALL – After-the-Fact events

If a quality defect is discovered several days after reporting production and all parts are placed on hold for sorting or rework, the QUALITY Factor for that run should be changed to ZERO.  In turn, the net OEE for that run will also be ZERO.  If the system is not changed, the integrity of the data is lost.  This also exemplifies that real-time data can be deceiving if proper controls are not in place.

“Where do we measure?” is followed by “When do we measure?” The short list of examples provided here are likely events that are far and few between.  If this is a daily occurrence, consider adopting the banking policy of, “adjustments to your account will be reflected on the following business day”.  Your process / system is in need of a rapid fix.

OEE is one of the few vital signs or key performance metrics for your manufacturing operation.  As such, measure where you will reap the greatest benefit and focus your attention on the process or operation accordingly.  OEE is as much a diagnostic tool as it is a monitoring tool.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

Vergence Analytics
Versalytics

OEE Integration – Where do we Start?

Where do we Start?

We mentioned in our previous post that OEE may be an initiative that your company chooses not to do. We doubt that too many corporations would support that view entirely, however, it may certainly influence how extensive the implementation / integration strategy is.

So, where do we start?  Start with an assessment of some of your key processes to determine which one(s) may be good candidates for a deeper OEE review and analysis.  The purpose of the initial assessment is simple – just as healthy patients don’t need to see the doctor on a daily basis, perhaps a high performance process doesn’t necessarily need an overly complex OEE system.

Our most recent experience was working with a fully integrated and customized in-house solution.  The data available at any instant in time was incredible and the number of reports available was even more extensive.

The short story is, the greatest opportunities for improvement extended to the elimination of stock outs during production and the development of a more effective maintenance program.  We recommended and implemented a modified visual inventory management system and a more rigorous maintenance program that could be performed on the non-production shift.

The improvements to the net OEE were noticeable immediately and continue to show positive trends.  Maintenance work could now be performed more thoroughly and problems could be resolved with permanent corrective actions as opposed to patches and short term repairs that were implemented during the production shift.

So getting started now is as simple as collecting baseline production data using whatever reporting system you already have.  Hopefully you are able to access data by hour, or at least by shift.  We recommend downloading one or all of our spreadsheets available in our free downloads BOX on the side bar.

If you have access to your downtime sheets or a data base that can provide this information, now would also be a good time to start reviewing what data is available to you.  You should be ready to perform an initial assessment as fast as the data can be entered and reviewed.

Your initial data assessment will provide at least a small glimpse of the current process and it’s potential.  We have discussed OEE calculations in depth in our previous posts.  Please review our post categories if you need a refresher.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!

OEE Integration: What Software should I use?

OEE Integration Part VII – What Software Should I Use?

Many readers have noted that we have avoided recommending a specific OEE software solution.  The reasons for this are as varied as the number of companies looking to implement OEE in their facilities.  Our experience suggests that every manufacturing facility has differing or varying needs.

A recent Google search produced as many as 136,000 results for the term “OEE Software”.  So it would appear that there are literally thousands of potential solutions available to support your OEE implementation ranging from off the shelf to highly integrated software technologies.

Our goal is to share our OEE experiences and help you to understand the various elements of OEE.  By sharing our insight, experience, and knowledge, we serve to provide you with the information you need to make a well informed decision before purchasing or implementing a system for your organization or company.

OEE Solution Options

There is no “one size fits all” solution.  It is important to assess your current OEE performance and determine what solution is best for your situation.  At a minimum we would recommend a solution that provides both OEE data in real time using operator friendly shop floor display technology and a database platform to collect and store the data for later analysis and possibly to support your production reporting processes (ERP).

Note that we did not state the type of display technology – this could range from a simple hand chart on a white board to a plasma display driven by a real time computer system.  Our recommendation does not stress the need for high technology; it simply suggests you need something.

By way of analogy, in an emergency room, a doctor will assess every patient.  While some patients require a simple test or a stitch or two, others may end up in an Intensive Care Unit with all types of monitoring equipment connected to their bodies to monitor and manage their current condition.  Different situations require different degrees of invasive technology or intervention

Could it be that you may find OEE is something you don’t have to do at all?  We’ll discuss this in more detail later.

Until next time – STAY Lean!

Vergence Analytics

OEE Integration – Part VI

In the automotive industry, an effective quality system forms the basis of many standard operating procedures used in the manufacturing environment. Specifically, the major automotive OEM’s require that suppliers implement an effective quality system that conforms to the TS16949 Technical Specification and be able to demonstrate compliance to these requirements.  This is one area where a fully integrated OEE system can shine.

In this regard, the quality system is also responsible for a signficant portion of the infrastructure that exists within a manufacturing facility as well.  The process used to integrate the many requirements to support the quality function can and should be used to support the implementation and integration of OEE into your organization.

Your OEE data / system can be used to demonstrate compliance to many of the requirements of TS16949.  Process efficiency, preventative maintenance, quality, standardized work, and training effectiveness are a few of the areas where OEE data can be used to demonstrate continuous improvement.

We will examine the various areas where OEE can be used and aligned with the TS16949 standard.  Integrating OEE into the very infrastructure of your organization is a core requirement to ensure its long term viability as key metric.  We would encourage you to review the TS16949 standard for yourself to determine where and how OEE can be used.

The standard is a quick read, at approximately 40 pages.  It would also serve as a good refresher to determine what is really required.  We recognize that customer specifics are also part of the overall quality system, however, our intention at this time is to focus on the core TS16949 technical specification.

We will be ammending this post as we delve further into the specific details.  Integration of your OEE system must be supported by a solid infrastructure if it is going to yield the benefits you are looking to achieve.

Until next time – STAY Lean

OEE Integration – Part V

Defining overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) criteria as part of the scope of work or purchase order agreement is quickly becoming standard practice throughout the automotive industry and manufacturing in general.

OEE Assessments

OEE criteria should be performed for every new purchase.  Often times, a high speed machine may be incorporated into a mixed technology production environment.  It is also possible that the machine or equipment under review is not the perceived production constraint or bottleneck.  This should not exclude the process from an OEE assessment.

Although LEAN manufacturing encourages single piece flow, it may be more feasible and cost effective for a machine to run independently.  This situation could occur in instances where business has grown within a commodity base and now the capacity of the machine must be shared across multiple product lines.

Engineering and Finance must consider the optimum production model that will yield the most cost effective strategy and subsequent process routing.  This assessment is best supported using Value Stream Analysis and Standardized Work procedures to fully understand the planned costs associated with inventory at all levels or stages of the process (raw, work in progress, and finished goods), labour (direct and indirect), and burden or overhead.

Lastly, it is important to understand the real or full potential of the equipment or process being purchased or developed.  Future business costs and opportunities for future growth are important considerations for any capital investment.  Press shops or metal stamping suppliers recognize open capacity to drive current and future business growth demands.  Idle machines don’t make money.  Open capacity is money lost.

The Purchase Agreement

To eliminate any misconceptions or lack of understanding, OEE expectations must become an integral part of the purchase agreement.  This can be accomplished by creating a Statement of Work, incorporating the requirements into a tooling, machine, or equipment standard, or, at a minimum, as purchase order line item stipulating the OEE criteria to be satisfied as a condition of purchase.

The objective of these tools is to ensure that all parties are aware of the their obligations and responsibilities to deliver a robust process that meets the OEE objectives.  We recall an incident (after the fact) where the scope of work clearly stated that machine setup or change over time was to be calculated as part of the availability factor.  For the most part, the equipment met the required performance and quality criteria, however, the supplier assumed availability only pertained to the downtime experienced while the machine was running.  This, coupled with downtime during the run, resulted in a less than satisfactory availability factor and resulting OEE index.

In this case, the equipment supplier lost a significant percentage of their final payment for failing to meet the OEE criteria defined in the purchase order and statement of work.  Setup is a planned activity directly related to the production of parts and greatly affects the available capacity of the machine or equipment.

We recommend defining the criteria for each individual factor and the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).  The values you choose for each factor will depend on your operation or the process under review and may include considerations such as low versus high volume or inventory costs, make-to-order versus warehousing / storage.

For buy-off purposes, we expect a new process to provide a minimum of 90% Availability, 95% performance, and 100% Quality.  We will not accept any process that is less than 85% for a dedicated process.  Mixed model production equipment may be subject to different criteria, specifically regarding availability as tool change complexity increases.

Availability includes change over or setups.  Increased model mix and low volume production may reduce availability.  This assessment should be determined in conjunction with detailed change over / setup instructions.

Typically, Quick Die Change or Tool Change strategy is deployed for most, if not all, new programs.  The investment in these techniques increases your agility as a supplier and maximizes your machine up time.  A rapid change-over / setup strategy can significantly reduce the dependence on high volume production to sustain profitability.

Suppliers to the automotive industry have certainly felt the impact of low or significantly reduced volumes over the last quarter of 2008 and certainly the first quarter of 2009.  An effective tool change strategy to maximize up-time and support low volume runs has never been in demand more than now.

The 95% performance factor takes into account operator functions outside of the normal machine process cycle.  A standardized work process will enable you to determine what performance level is achievable.

If Six-Sigma is your objective, then anything less than 100% quality at machine buy-off is a formula for failure. 

In Conclusion

So when should OEE integration start?  At the onset of every new program and the OEE criteria should be incorporated into the purchase agreement.  This will ensure that OEE becomes and remains an integral part of the process.

In the past, many tools were bought-off by simply running 300 pieces or in other cases a minimum of 8 hours.  The only true measure was up time throughput and the quality of the product.  Today, there is more to running an efficient operation than simply having the ability to produce parts.  Safely producing a quality product at rate – effectively – is the mission.

More on this topic to follow.

Until next time – STAY lean!

OEE Integration – Part IV

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!

OEE Integration – Part III

The primary components of your OEE infrastructure are People and DATA.  The people are the life of the OEE system, all else is support.  Data collection and management technologies play an important role in the OEE process, however, they are data collection / process / delivery systems that are programmed to provide reports as requested by the people that use the system.

So, now that we have determined that people are the drivers of the system, the core task then is to provide the people with the education and training they need to be an integral part of the OEE process.  Remember, the people ultimately analyze and make sense of the data using a variety of technology solutions.  Your team is also responsible for recommending actions to improve the current processes based on the data.

Training

Trained and qualified personnel are at the core of any initiative and are fundamental to the success of the program in general.  Our recommendation is to ensure that all personnel across the organization, from the shop floor to the executive leadership, understand the principles of OEE and how it will become an integral part of the company culture to sustain and drive continual improvement.

The executive leadership must embrace the concept of OEE and determine the policies and procedures that surround its measurement and support the actions required to execute improvements to the system and processes accordingly.  To this end, we also recommend that the training is performed by personnel within the organization and not necessarily by executive or senior management.

Consultants serve as an excellent resource to facilitate the initial training and to provide the necessary tools or materials to assure its success.  More importantly however, consultants serve as catalyst to facilitate the integration and implementation process.  A consultant would best serve your interests by supporting a “train the trainer” methodology.

Executive and senior management are responsible for defining the policies and procedures of the OEE management process or system.  While OEE goals and objectives may be determined by management in conjunction with the team, or some of its members, the team is ultimately responsible for the development and execution of the action or improvement plans.

For this reason, we recommend that employees are trained by their immediate supervisor, team leader, or each other (peer to peer).  The objective of peer to peer training is to engage all employees in the training process by encouraging each employee to teach a portion or segment of the training module.  Of course this latter approach assumes that you have training materials available to support this activity.

Training with your own staff will affirm the commitment of the company and the employees will appreciate the presence and development of in-house expertise to make the OEE initiative a success.  This approach also assures that ownership remains with the users of the system – the company.  The best way to teach someone is to give them the responsibility to teach others.  Those who assume the responsibility to teach will certainly become better students as well.

This approach may strike you as a protectionist measure to preserve our integrity as consultants.  To the contrary, our objective as consultants is to serve as a catalyst to develop the infrastructure of your organization using a strategy where the system is ultimately self-sustaining and integral to the culture of your operation.

Over the past few posts we have developed a strategy for engaging your teams in the OEE process.  As we have indicated throughout our series, there are a variety of technology solutions available to measure OEE, few however, provide the tools to develop the infrastructure in your organization to make them effective.

We will pursue this strategy further in future posts.

Until Next Time – STAY lean!