The case of the low OEE

By KC Boxbottom in Optimization on May 14, 2014

Laura called. She was upset. "KC," she said, "my OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) is way down and I don't know what to do. Help!"

"Sure," I said and was on my way as we hung up the call.

"What's going on, Laura?" I asked when I got there.

"Glad to see you here, KC. This is our automated system to collect OEE. It works well, displaying data in real time on a panel at the line and back in the office. My line seems to be running well but my OEE is at about 21 percent and I know that just ain't right."

I saw the problem, as soon as I eyeballed the data.

"Fiddlesticks on low OEE," I told her. "You're measuring it wrong. You run 40 hours but calculate OEE on 168 per week. Your availability can't exceed 24 percent by that measure. That caps your total OEE, even if performance and quality are perfect.”

Some people think that OEE should always be calculated based on total hours, that is 168 hours. They reason that the 128 hours not worked on nights and weekends represent capacity that could be used if needed. That's true but makes it impossible to compare OEE between lines, plants or industries that run different schedules.

Calculating OEE based on planned production (or actual if you work more than plan) will give you more meaningful data. Unless the data is meaningful, it will not be used.

 

KC Boxbottom, packaging detective, is on the case to solve tough packaging puzzles. He is the alter-ego of John Henry, CPP. Known as the Changeover Wizard, Henry is the owner of Changeover.com, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He produces a free monthly newsletter called Lean Changeover, which contains articles and tips on changeover and related issues. Reach him at [email protected].

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