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Friday, June 21, 2024

The Genesis of a Quality OEE Score: Breaking Things Down

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Also commonly referred to as OEE for short, “Overall Equipment Effectiveness” is more than just another manufacturing best practice. Many agree that it’s the gold standard for measuring manufacturing productivity – period.

An OEE score of 100% (don’t worry, nobody achieves a perfect score) means that you’re creating A) only the highest quality parts, B) as quickly as humanly possible, with C) little to no downtime to speak of. Quality. Performance. Availability. The intersection between these three concepts is where OEE was born.

But again – absolutely no organization can realistically expect to achieve an OEE score of 100%. Instead, this is much more of a goal to work towards. Getting as close to that point as possible is what you should be setting your sights on, rather than assuming that you can somehow get to that point by simply being savvier than your competitors.

Of course, all of this demands the question – what does a quality OEE score actually look like? If you can never achieve true perfection, how do you know if you’re on the right path versus simply being satisfied with the status quo? The answer here isn’t necessarily difficult to understand, but it does require you to keep a few key things in mind.

Understanding Your OEE Score: An Overview

Again, the most important thing to understand here involves how your OEE score is actually calculated.

The “Availability” portion takes into consideration both planned and unplanned stops. Performance, on the other hand, looks at both slow cycles and small stops. Finally, quality looks at defects – including any parts that need to be reworked. In a perfect world where you were able to achieve an OEE score of 100%, you would always be running during planned production time, as quickly as possible, with absolutely no defects to speak of.

With that in mind, an OEE score of less than 65% or so would mean that your manufacturing process has considerable room for improvement. You need to look at not only what is contributing to the frequent stops you’re probably experiencing, but also the lost production that you’re seeing in other areas as well.

An OEE score of between 65% and 85% would actually mean that you’re falling within the average range. There is still room for improvement, to be fair – but isn’t there always? You’d likely want to look for opportunities to automate your processes and additional training for your operators may be in order.

If you manage to hit an OEE score above that point, congratulations – you’re in the top tier of manufacturers. You’re probably running your machines at top speed without creating any defective parts at all, which is always what businesses should be striving for.

Having said that, there are always opportunities for improvement – and it’s imperative that you capitalize on them. The minute you think you’ve “done enough” to improve your manufacturing processes is the moment you’ve lost a game you never truly understood in the first place. This in and of itself is what OEE is trying to teach us: you can always do better, which means you should always try to make that effort.


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