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Ways to Analyze Real-Time OEE Data from a Remote Environment

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By Emilie A Lachance - December 21, 2020

In the midst of the current global health crisis, many companies are encouraging their employees to work remotely. These companies, many of which rely on workers being on-site, are scrambling to put the infrastructure in place to allow for remote work. Multiple strategies are emerging to deal with the ongoing pandemic and the resulting disruption in productivity. By implementing adjustments to shifts, investing in automation, and expanding production lines, companies can keep operations moving while enabling social distancing.

Not all workers have to be on-site, however. There are many workers who, given the right tools, can produce even more value working remotely than they were able to when they were on-site. SaaS-based production monitoring is the game changer here, and companies that invest now will not only reap the benefits of increased productivity while they adapt to current conditions but will also outperform competitors in the future.

Despite the complications of COVID-19, it is vital that manufacturing facilities continue to prioritize production monitoring to maintain continuous improvement projects and to enable managers and supervisors to do their jobs remotely whenever possible. 

Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is the top-level manufacturing metric that represents a range of productivity measures. Monitoring OEE provides unequivocal evidence that manufacturing operations are being improved across a range of factors and delivering real business results. Using real-time OEE data enables production managers to tighten decision cycles and shorten timelines of continuous improvement programs. 

Getting real-time OEE data is one of the easiest ways to monitor production and identify problems. Here are some steps to follow when monitoring real-time OEE data remotely. 

Step 1: Identify Which Metrics Are Increasing OEE and Which Are Decreasing OEE

OEE is calculated as the product of three general metrics:

  • Quality
  • Performance
  • Availability
    ==> Download our OEE Calculator Excel TemplateThe value calculated is given either as a decimal or as a percentage, with the goal typically being 85 percent and the average being around 60 percent. The theoretical peak is 100 percent; however, this is unlikely to ever be achieved in practice. Conversely, the low end of OEE values is around 0.4 or 40 percent, which offers room for significant improvement. 

Using the resources linked above and additional resources on the Worximity blog, such as this article, you should be able to compile a list of the metrics that contribute to OEE in your facility and think about tackling each one in turn. Implementing a solution like Worximity TileBoard gives you quick and easy access to real-time OEE data because you can adapt the TileBoard solution to monitor any of the metrics that contribute to OEE at your plant.

The first step to analyzing your real-time OEE data is analyzing the three metrics from which OEE is calculated and determining which metrics are strong (>80 percent) and which are suffering (<40 percent). If all metrics are low, this leaves room for improvement in many areas; however, if there is a specific area that is suffering significantly, managers and employees can narrow down what the problem hurting OEE could be. 

Step 2: Identify Precise Reasons Why the Lowest OEE Metric Values Are Suffering

Once you identify the specific metric that is struggling, it is time to narrow the problem down further. Each of the three main OEE metrics is a compilation of several other metrics that can cause them to either increase or decrease.

Availability

Downtime events of any kind will reduce availability and OEE, so tracking downtime to identify recurring causes will be helpful to decrease downtime and increase availability. Waiting can also hurt availability, be it waiting on unplanned maintenance or waiting on materials to arrive at a machine or line, from outside or within the facility. 

Performance

Long cycle times reduce performance. Each machine should be monitored to find out which machines or lines take the longest to complete a certain cycle, potentially identifying slow production in a certain area. This slowness can then be solved by performing machine maintenance, rearranging work areas to improve performance, or replacing the machine altogether. Evaluating a map of the facility and the routes that employees and materials take through it can also show where inefficient travel routes occur. 

Rearranging lines or the entire facility can decrease cycle times and help OEE. A tool like Worximity TileBoard can give you access to real-time OEE data and detailed performance metrics across multiple machines and lines. This information makes it possible to pinpoint low-performance areas that are impossible to identify any other way.

Quality

If quality is low, identifying which specific area of the facility, line, or shift produces the most defective parts can help you see where and when problems are occurring. Additionally, identifying which raw materials are frequently being made into defective parts can highlight the need for a new inventory system or a new supplier for material. 

Low-quality production can often be revealed by using remote monitoring technology such as Worximity TileBoard. As defective products make their way through production, they can often give off signals that there’s a problem—such as variable throughput in areas that receive defective inputs—and try to adjust to make a bad situation work. If you have access to real-time OEE data, you can spot short-term throughput trends that aren’t visible if you are doing analysis on an hourly, per-shift, or daily basis.

Real-time access to downtime and waiting events provides insight into overall OEE performance in real time, helping to drive improved business performance.

All of these discrete metrics and the compiled OEE analytics can now be available via a SaaS dashboard. This means that remote employees can drive business improvement from wherever they are.

Narrowing down further beyond the three main metrics of OEE will allow facilities to diagnose specific issues in real time because most or all of the metrics mentioned can be viewed any time, anywhere using tools like Worximity TileBoard. If they can’t identify which specific metrics are causing an increase or decrease in OEE, companies will be flying blind when attempting to improve OEE, and profitability will suffer.

Step 3: Discuss with Workers Within the Facility to Understand Why OEE Is Suffering

The final step—and arguably the most important when talking about remote OEE data monitoring—is to contact workers or supervisors on-site and discuss issues with them. Many managers, supervisors, and employees are shifting to working remotely during the pandemic, but some employees are still on-site. While data tracking and distribution continues to advance and improve over time, on-site employees will still have the best insight into exactly what is going on in a facility and what issues are arising.

Taking the precaution of double-checking that the data displayed is accurate will save time and prevent miscommunication. If some sort of anomaly or accident occurs that appears to hurt OEE, it is better to know this before taking any further action in an attempt to reverse the trend.

By bundling the implementation of a SaaS product like Worximity TileBoard with remote collaboration tools like Zoom, Slack, and cloud-based file sharing, your organization can make data widely available for analysis in real time. That data can then be evaluated by distributed teams in an efficient and highly effective manner.

As production metrics that drive OEE improvement are analyzed in real time, remote employees can team up with on-site employees to take action to drive the numbers in the right direction. First, determine the standards you need to meet to achieve your manufacturing objectives. Then you can determine the gap between your goals and your actual performance. When gaps occur, you can determine the root cause of your downtime, low productivity, or low quality.

Adapting to working remotely may be a difficult process at first, and it will no doubt require good communication within a company, committed leadership, investments in the right technologies, and training. But if your company makes smart use of software, it can still monitor KPIs such as OEE and act upon them in a productive way. 

You might be wondering how to get started and how quickly you can get to real ROI. The answer is our OEE E-book! You can gain all of the benefits described above by working with Worximity. We have years of experience helping companies like yours adapt to leveraging remote working technologies to drive real business results.

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