As we talked about in the last blog, a big factor of OEE losses is downtime. We will now go more in depth into causes and solutions in tracking and reducing your plants downtime.
Employees’ Effect on Downtime
Another thing to think about when reducing your OEE is how your employees affect your downtime. This leads to looking at line operators, maintenance employees, and supervisors. The first thing to question is, “Are they properly trained?” If you aren’t training your employees correctly then you can end up with losses due to misunderstandings. This can come from line operators not knowing the full capability or speed of the machine. Maintenance employees may not know what preventative maintenance is necessary or wait until something goes down to start maintenance. Supervisors may not be delegating or using their time as effectively as they should. Making sure that your employees know what you are wanting them to do, and getting everyone on the same page has a huge benefit on reducing your losses overall and not just in downtime.
Preventative Maintenance Vs. Reactive Maintenance
Scheduled and preventative maintenance can save you a lot in preventing breakdowns and improving your OEE. One benefit to scheduled maintenance over unscheduled is that you can plan it during non-operational hours. If this is the case, it doesn’t need to factor into your OEE. The only time it is relevant is when it interferes with your production time. However, if demand requires you to increase your production hours you may need to reevaluate your scheduling. If your competitor doesn’t do their maintenance during their production time, why should you? Ultimately, being ahead of the maintenance game can keep you on par with your competition, or even put you ahead.
Tracking Vs. Tracking Most Effectively
Even if you are already tracking OEE yourself you may be able to do it easier and more accurately. Automated OEE tracking is more reliable and accurate than trying to track OEE yourself. It also is likely to catch losses that you otherwise wouldn’t have caught yourself. It easily fits onto each of your machines so that you can pinpoint exactly what places in your plant need priority. This allows you to make a hierarchy of improvements addressing the biggest losses, and most savinging potential.
Hierarchy for Change
Setting up your hierarchy is crucial to improving your OEE the fastest and, saving you the most money the earliest. Looking into the frequency of losses, even minor, is more important in some instances than more major losses that only occur a few times a day. In many cases these frequent losses are easier fixes as well. Using software instead of tracking yourself can help you to find total losses as opposed to just per instance. Your hierarchy of improvements should be based off the total losses so that each improvement can have the largest impact possible, as you progress down the list.
Improving your Plant’s OEE
Once you know the total losses in your plant you can begin to evaluate costs to fix. The order in which you can begin fixing them can then be based off of what you can afford; as well as what will save you the most. As long as you are making changes and working to improve your OEE, you will be seeing savings towards further improvements for your plant. Remember that technology is constantly changing as are consumers. To get the biggest effect out of OEE you need to continue working towards improvement while accepting that you will never be perfect. As long as you are taking the steps to improve, the benefits will only continue into the future of your industry. Aiming for a high OEE in the 90% range is a good goal, but every 1% that you can improve can mean a savings of thousands of dollars for your company.