Cierpa blog - OEE meten

Without good measurements both at the start and during the improvement process it is impossible to find waste and to implement improvements. So how do you measure OEE in a production line? 

What does OEE measure exactly?

OEE measures the difference between ideal production and current production. When a production line operates 24 hours each day, delivers perfect quality and works at top-speed, we get an idea of the ideal line production. However, what’s the real production and what causes these differences?  OEE is focused on three points:

  1. the availability of the machine
  2. the performance time
  3. the quality of the products

OEE searches for missed opportunities. What waste occurs and what is the underlying reason for it? This principle applies equally to a machine and an entire production line. 

OEE in a production line

To measure and apply OEE in a production line, we follow these steps.

  1. Look for the most suitable measurement point of the production line.
    A production line has many steps.  A product can be weighed, put in a bag, the bag gets sealed and ten bags are put in a box. Because the entire line is connected, there’s no point in measuring each step separately. Choose a single spot in the line and make it the measurement point. The optimal measurement point in the line depends on the situation. It’s possible you already know which step isn’t optimal. Alternatively, a consultant can help you to determine the best spot in your line. Cierpa can advise you on it too.
  2. When the measurement point is known, a measurement method needs to be chosen.
    At first, it’s easy: a paper-based scorecard can be filled in manually. This way your people will get a good feel on OEE. The data is then transferred into the system. Another method is digital scoring on the spot. User-Friendly OEE software contains a digital scorecard. No dual input is necessary, and a comprehensive overview is available at the end of the shift. There’s hardly any extra work for the operators, and there’s instant insight into OEE. Real-time measurement offers the highest level of detail but requires careful technical implementation. That’s why real-time automatic measurement is mainly suited for companies that already started using OEE.
  3. Waste is identified and handled.
    OEE data identifies which recurrent obstacles prevent optimal functioning and producing. With visual and clear reports it’s apparent to everybody, from operator to plant manager, where the focus should lie. That’s where the improvement process really starts!


5 Tips for successful OEE in a production line

  1. Start small, don’t implement on all production lines at once. Get a feel for the process first.
  2. Train your team well. OEE needs to be a team effort, not just a management effort. Make sure all participants understand what OEE does and what the team can accomplish by using it. Make the employees the owners of the process.
  3. Attach OEE to performance management and introduce KPIs that can be managed daily, like quality or output.
  4. Choose tangible goals. After two to three weeks, you can set a goal for the first three months.
  5. Use a three-month cycle. After three months, choose a new OEE deployment, a new target, and a new analysis.

Measuring OEE in a production line isn’t a process that happens behind a desk. Even on the work floor, it’s clear how the line works. The big plus is that everybody shares the concerns, and improvements on the line will be a joint effort and a collective success. In a short period, a culture will develop in which improvement changes are discovered and embraced, which make it possible to work LEAN!