Most production management people will need little convincing as to how an OEE software benefits the production department for operational excellence. Everything from scheduling, shipping on time, and even staffing depend on knowing what is happening on the shop floor. But what about the rest of the company? Do they really get the most out of an OEE software tool?
The shop floor is the heart of manufacturing where a lot of issues can occur every day. Therefore, sometimes even the most diligent production management staff cannot know of all the problems. The examples of such problems can be every slowdown, every upstream material supply disruption, every reason a machine didn’t start back up on time, etc. At this point, there is a smart “assistant” that can help you own your operations: OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) software.
Back to basics: What is an “OEE software”?
In today’s ever-changing business landscape, data is the main tool for successful organizations regardless of the industry. As business professionals, we need to obtain data and turn it into valuable insights for operational excellence. So that everyone in our organization can benefit from them. This is exactly when the need for an OEE software tool arises -for a user-friendly, a simple-to-use, a cutting edge OEE system. Before diving into the vast world of the benefits of OEE for the whole company, let’s start with what an OEE software is and how it works.
OEE software is a management tool the entire manufacturing organization can and will use. It helps manufacturers remain competitive by improving quality and achieving production targets. Everyone from the factory operator to the top-level manager can see in real-time exactly what is happening. Furthermore, they can identify where things are not working as planned. What used to be inaccessible and complex becomes easily visualized and accessible by everyone.
As an all-encompassing production tracking system, Evocon gives production professionals the visualization tools to manage their production process. So, you get that instant, readily accessible information you need and what your OEE is at any given time. Moreover, you get the chance to understand the variables behind the OEE calculation.
But how does the rest of the organization benefit? How can real-time production tracking software benefit all of the teams? How can an OEE software tool make their areas of responsibility easier to understand and manage? Let’s explore how your whole company gets the most out of OEE, step by step.
How an OEE software benefits the manufacturing organization
The implementation of OEE visualization and monitoring software often has advantages that you cannot foresee or anticipate. Generally these OEE software benefits cascade through your organization exponentially the longer the system is in place. The more consistent you are with your OEE software, the more stable the results are. The more team members are involved in the OEE process, the more benefits you get as the whole company, followed by many other benefits.
Improve safety with OEE
One of the most overlooked OEE software benefits is safety. Most operators don’t want their machine to stop operating any more than their manager does. They will often try to find a quick workaround to get the machine operational again. It may involve temporarily overriding a safety device, removing a guard, or other unsafe action. After all, they don’t want to appear as a problem or an unproductive employee. In most cases, these actions are with good intent but at the same time unsafe.
It is when operators operate outside of defined procedures that most accidents happen. Without an OEE software, you will never know most of this activity. And what you don’t know about, you can’t correct or retrain if needed.
Finally, if you aren’t monitoring the reasons for these stoppages, they can develop into a major problem with serious safety consequences. Safety statistics tend to improve the longer the real-time production monitoring software is in place.
With the user-friendly visuals of Evocon, data is easy to understand for everyone in your team. So you can monitor your production process, identify and foresee the problems, and take immediate action.
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If you are not registering breakdown reasons today, then we recommend reading How to start with machine downtime analysis?.
From reactive to preventive maintenance
When a machine or production line in your plant breaks down unexpectedly, the immediate reaction is usually to get it running again as quickly as possible. It typically means that someone makes a temporary repair and the machine is once again back in production. That repair is seldom a permanent or a long-lasting solution. Plus, the cause of the breakdown is probably never discovered. Even worse, your maintenance team is likely to forget about the temporary repair. Because they simply move on to react to the next machine breakdown. So, how can you get access to accurate data regarding maintenance?
With an OEE software monitoring your downtime, there is a history of unplanned stoppages with explanations added. This information helps initiate proactive repair and preventive maintenance procedures. Plus, it prevents some breakdowns altogether. It also means that operators become more involved and aware of machine stoppages and their causes.
At the very least, a record of the breakdown and repair would become a part of a permanent and a shared practice for future use. Moreover, you can use the data to analyze failures and discover their causes. Using this information you can decide which replacement parts you keep in-house and which you order as needed.
Once you capture all stoppages in real time, you give your maintenance department the information it needs to become proactive rather than reactive. By combining real-data with predictive analytics, it’s even possible to predict when a given piece of equipment will need repair.
When using Evocon, your maintenance team can even have their account with a “maintenance dashboard” that tracks all relevant breakdowns in real-time.
Would like to learn more about Evocon Dashboard? Please check out our article on Evocon’s personalized dashboard.
Accurate production planning based on OEE data
Most manufacturers have a production schedule, but how many of them consistently meet that schedule? And what is the basis of their production plan? Scheduling always happens before the execution of the scheduling plan. So it’s vital that you base your plan on real and accurate forecasting. If not, you will not meet the schedule, and it is of little value as a whole.
One of the OEE software benefits is that it gives you recent, real-time data to make an accurate forecast. And with it comes an achievable schedule and plan.
Asset optimization is the key to accurate planning. With OEE software monitoring your production equipment, you’ll know right from the beginning if your estimate is feasible. And once you maximize your OEE, you can make a rational decision on the best course of action. Taking steps to improve OEE using real-time data and to understand where the real problems exist is almost always better than the alternatives. It includes increasing overtime, adding shifts, acquiring new equipment, or even outsourcing. An example of this is how one of Evocon’s clients discovered that they were grossly underperforming in regards to material planning. After fixing this, they were able to operate in 2 shifts, instead of 3.
Most manufacturing companies operate considerably under the 85 OEE score that is considered exceptional. And many facilities fall under a score of 60, leaving a lot of room to improve, without the significant additional expense. As your score becomes higher over time, so does the reliability of your planning.
Supply chain you can rely on
Real-time production tracking can help manage your supply chain by giving you measurements that are accurate and realistic in your current state. Many people think of the supply chain as the movement, transformation, and storage of materials. However, the flow of information is what controls that flow of materials and goods.
One of the overlooked OEE software benefits is that your supply chain will become more predictable. And the more detailed your input, the more reliable that data becomes. What if you could reliably cut a day off of your scheduled delivery of materials? Or shave a day off of the order to cash cycle? What would that do to your cost of carrying inventory? If you can involve your supply chain partners in some of the problem-solving activity, your relationship with them will become a truly collaborative one that benefits both parties.
With Evocon, you can provide trusted supply chain partners with production data collected. And together, you can determine the best delivery cycle times. Furthermore, managers and suppliers will be able to see in real time any event that has slowed or stopped your manufacturing processes. So, they can take action such as adjusting raw material buys.
Supercharge your sales with OEE
Maximizing sales is almost always the goal of any manufacturing company. But what if sales suddenly increase by 30% in a month? Does your company have the capacity or even the ability to handle it with current equipment? To aggressively pursue any incremental sales increase, your sales team needs to know that the shop floor can deliver as promised.
The point is that without real-time monitoring, nobody knows if they can meet a certain level of production or if it will be profitable. But with cloud-based production software, sales associates can view production output from a single line or the entire plant over any period desired. They can even do it off-site at a client’s facility. You can also use reports to view machine utilization. And in collaboration with your production management, you can define realistic expectations.
After an OEE system has been in place long enough, your manufacturing bottlenecks become apparent. So, you can prioritize process improvements based on sales projections. Where previously, incremental sales may have resulted in overtime, increased headcount, capital expenditure or new equipment, now the production teams can make improvements to operations and output by discovering the “Hidden Factory”. By using the data from an OEE system, you can direct lean manufacturing efforts first to areas that you see are at capacity in their current states.
Sales departments also want to introduce new product lines to the factory floor which usually involves either adding a new production line, increasing the number of changeovers needed or a combination of both. OEE software with real-time input provides meaningful, recent data to make the correct decision. If, for example, you need more changeovers, it helps determine optimal lot sizes. Most importantly, whatever choices you make, you can monitor for consistency and quality.
Finance in the digital factory
One of the greatest OEE software benefits that you get from Evocon is objective and real-time machine data. And you can use this to make decisions on how to best spend capital. Firstly, you decide which piece of equipment upgrade or replacement might return the greatest income from the operation. Then OEE is precisely the type of information your finance managers need to help make that decision.
To maximize insight, Evocon includes a customizable personalized dashboard that you can use to get a view of all monitored equipment at once or to drill down to a specific machine. The ability to create reports that show defect rates, uptime, output, performance, time used, or any other number of variables will make capital expenditure decisions much more data-driven.
Some Evocon users use a weighted average of value added by each line and integrate that with the OEE data. This aids in the decision of where to spend resources to maximize profit potential.
Return on investment (ROI) is another area of interest to your finance department. The ability to measure utilization and output across any period needed gives insights into where and how you can make changes to maximize your production equipment. And if you use Evocon, then our dashboard provides instant feedback and software-input data to make this analysis.
What is more, you can make evaluations for capital expenditure items on accurate data generated from the previous hour to last year, or any other customized period desired.
Opportunities and Best Practices
Each functional group in your organization requires different sides of the production data. Your sales team wants to know how fast operators accomplish changeovers to accommodate promised deliveries. Maintenance engineering is concerned with time lost by machine breakdowns, as is the production manager. Everyone is concerned when the output of a particular piece of equipment becomes the bottleneck in the process. With simplified but reliable real-time reporting, different functional departments can meet and problem-solve using the same data shown in different ways.
You achieve the greatest OEE software benefits when your Continuous Improvement Manager pulls together all interested parties from each of the above areas. They then align their targets and goals. Moreover, they use the data from an OEE software to focus on improvement efforts where it is needed most. And by tracking the data continuously, they know precisely where to start with problem-solving.
Don’t ever forget to include what is probably your most valuable resource – the machine operator. When you empower machine operators with real-time software data and results, you will be surprised by how fast they find solutions all by themselves. The operator always knows the machine and the process better than anyone else. But quite often they don’t have the visualization tools needed to identify what is wrong.
Using Evocon, lean manufacturing becomes a realistic target rather than an abstract goal. Receiving real-time data helps you see the big picture. Reliable data enables success through immediate corrective action and collaboration within your organization. Operational excellence takes time, effort, and diligence. Evocon is ready to assist you in this transformation process.
Would like to start your OEE journey today? You can get started with our 30-day free OEE trial and start improving your production management with Evocon today.