Once you have installed a system that can automatically detect when your machines are down, you have two options. First is to limit the practice to only that – tracking when your machines are not working and for how long. The second option is not to stop at “when”, but find out why. This aspect, unfortunately, is quite often overlooked and companies lose most of the value of machine downtime tracking.
Unlocking your factory’s true potential
When we at Evocon talk about machine downtime tracking, we mean registering why your machines are down. Behind all those breakdown causes there is an enormous potential to improve your production process.
Do you know what is actually happening on the shop floor?
The first and most important benefit that machine downtime tracking gives you is transparency. By registering reasons for all stops the credibility and value of collected data increases significantly. Note that if you are missing reasons for 10% of the production stops, you already have a limited view. A good analogy is a picture puzzle – miss one or two pieces and you have an incomplete picture.
When tracking machine downtime correctly, you see clearly what is happening and what the problems are. Having this insight into the production process gives you a platform for informed and fact-based decision making. So, make sure you don’t settle with 90% of downtime reasons registered, aim for all of them. As is often the case, an improvement in one area leads to advances in other areas.
Increase your OEE 10-20% in just a few months
Tracking downtime of your machines brings about an improvement that is often overlooked. This improvement is an important one and can increase your productivity in just a few months.
After you implement a routine in your process that makes operators register all production stop reasons, it creates a change in how they perceive the work shift and its performance. Operators become more aware when and why machines stop. This improves the general working discipline, because there is a new incentive to fix problems. If you combine this with daily check-ups of work shift performance, you can quickly get an increase of 10-20% in OEE.
You can read our tips on how to create the habit of tracking machine downtime: “How to start with production downtime analysis?”
The hidden potential of machine downtime tracking
Once you are successfully registering all stop reasons, you can start to deepen your understanding about your OEE and downtime.
Based on our experience, it is common to discover stops that should not exist in the first place. These stops can be extra pauses, longer lunch breaks, additional pauses during product changeover and so on.
A simple example is a work shift that starts later and ends earlier than planned. If you lose 10 minutes for these reasons in every work shift and you are running two shifts every workday, this amounts to about 10 000 lost minutes in a year, per machine. This is roughly 21 shifts per year! Add a few other unnecessary stops, the number of machines or production lines, and we are looking at massive losses in availability and productive work time.
Having said that, the true potential is behind all the other stop reasons that your operators register. These can be technical, organisational, maintenance, setup or other issues. Knowing and analysing this data can open up completely new possibilities and resources for your company. Many of our users have been able to change how they do their production simply by tracking their downtime reasons.
Going from three shifts to two
Some changes and discoveries are more profound than others. When we heard what one of our users achieved just a few months after implementing OEE software, we were astonished.
They came to us because the pressure to invest in new machinery was increasing due to growing demand. Management knew that there were problems in their processes, but were not entirely sure what were the reasons and how much inefficiency they caused. Before making any new investments, they wanted to find out exactly how their current machinery was used. With that goal in mind they started to track their OEE, downtime and its reasons with Evocon.
A couple of months later, when all stop reasons were registered and they could see the whole production process visualised, they saw their biggest issue. It was completely different from what they initially assumed. Instead of investing large sums into new machinery, they only had to solve a problem with internal material logistics.
Soon after they implemented the changes in one of their factories, they went from working in three shifts to two. That is without making any new investments. This potential is the main reason why tracking your downtime matters.
Being unaware of what is actually going on in your production is something that can seriously affect your ability to stay competitive in the marketplace. The potential that you can uncover by tracking the downtime of your machines is too significant to miss out on it.
Whether you are just getting started or are looking to improve your current process, contact our team, and we will be more than happy to help you unlock your true potential.