Leading Companies Are Implementing Shop Floor Management Software to Drive Improvements in Productivity Metrics, Including Efforts to Improve OEE. The most advanced modern factories rely heavily on technology, and more factories look to become smart factories every year. In fact, according to Deloitte, 73 percent of U.S. factories were moving forward with Smart Factory initiatives as of late 2019.
Deloitte predicts that, through the use of Smart Factory technologies like shop floor management software, “productivity will likely grow at a compound annual rate of 2.3 percent during 2025–2030.”
Shop floor management software tracks machinery performance and delivers visibility into productivity metrics across a factory floor. When used consistently, it can pinpoint issues inhibiting productivity and identify opportunities for productivity improvement. Because OEE is an overarching manufacturing productivity measurement, improving the factors that contribute to OEE can help production teams improve OEE itself.
Quick Review: What Is OEE?
Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is a lean manufacturing and continuous improvement metric. It is arguably the most important manufacturing metric. Why? Because OEE, represented by either a percentage or a decimal, consolidates multiple manufacturing key performance indicators (KPIs) into a single overarching score.
The score is used to represent the overall efficiency of a single machine, a production line, or an entire shop. It can give an indication of manufacturing performance without requiring manufacturers to examine multiple KPIs. This is why savvy production teams are investing in shop floor management software to improve OEE. OEE is a function of availability, performance, and quality. You can learn how to calculate OEE here.
5 Ways to Improve OEE
There are five major ways that shop floor management software can be used to improve OEE.
Monitoring Run Time
Tracking run time is an easy way to get an idea of where to improve OEE. If long downtime events are being recorded often in any area of a facility, there is likely room for improvement. Reducing downtime and waiting periods between manufacturing processes is an easy way to increase run time (availability) and therefore improve OEE.
Documenting Cycle Times
Recording the times it takes to complete each individual cycle will give an accurate value for average cycle times, which can be used to calculate performance. The “cycles” can be scaled from an individual step in the manufacturing process to the manufacturing of an entire product, granting a range of scope. Most importantly, monitoring cycle times with shop floor management software will record the conditions associated with each cycle, including the time of day, the shift, the product created, and the location in the facility.
With this information, employees and management can look for patterns in conditions for both the fastest and slowest cycle times, allowing them to find both problems in production and the most efficient ways to manufacture a product. Using this information to reduce cycle times can help to dramatically increase performance and OEE.
Tracking Products Produced and Defective Products
Tracking the total amount of products produced is standard practice, but it is also important to track the number of defective products produced. Tracking defective products produced will also identify which conditions they were produced under, similarly to the documentation of factors for cycle times mentioned above.
Knowing where and when the most defective products are produced may indicate where machine maintenance or employee retraining is needed, which will help to decrease the manufacturing losses associated with producing useless or defective products. Decreasing the number of defective products produced will directly increase quality, causing an increase in OEE.
A section of shop floor management software dedicated to monitoring raw material inventory levels is a great option to have. When inventory levels reach a certain low level, new material can be ordered to try to avoid periods in which downtime occurs due to a lack of material (availability). Waiting for material to arrive can cause extended downtime, sometimes for days, leading to decreased profits, drastically reduced runtime, and a significant drop in OEE—sometimes even to 0 percent.
The ability to use shop floor management software to track and identify the flow of material through the facility and between lines can be quite valuable in streamlining production. If the routes and paths through the facility during production are mapped and throughput at each step is monitored, inefficient floor layouts can be identified. Finding more direct and efficient routes for products to travel—or even rearranging the facility floor entirely to provide better flow—can help save time and decrease average cycle times (performance), thereby improving OEE.
Use Any or All of These 5 Ways to Improve OEE
All of the improvements above can be realized with shop floor management software—some fully automated, some with minimal input from operators or managers. If any of these methods are used and their results monitored and acted upon, improvements will be seen in efficiency, profitability, and OEE.
You can use a shop floor management tool like Worximity to quickly improve the factors that are contributing to lower productivity in your shop and therefore improve OEE. A great way to start is with our 30-Day OEE Assessment program. You can take advantage of it below!