Unfortunately it is not the case that the world’s best-implemented disturbance follow-up solves the problem of efficiency losses. A lot of hard, focused work is also needed. Similarly, hard and focused work alone is not enough. You also need to have the facts and decision basis you get from a properly implemented downtime follow-up system. In order to achieve the increase in efficiency that is possible, changes must be made. A new way of working must be introduced into the existing organization and culture. This also means that the local culture and organization will have to change.
We need to be able to gain the commitment of the people involved and ensure the associated changes in behaviour. So it is not simply a technical delivery that needs to work in order for the system support to provide the facts and decision basis you need.
It is often change per se that is the big obstacle and major risk in terms of introducing OEE. It is very unusual for the technical delivery not to succeed.
Six key factors for success
Using our experience from installations in over 100 factories across the globe, we have drawn up a list of six critical factors. These factors are absolutely vital if improvements are to work and the use of OEE-measurements is to be successful over the long-term.
- Objective and vision
- Factual basis
- Action plan
These are the pieces of the jigsaw that have to be in place for any change process or introduction of system support to succeed. There is no one single thing that only applies to the introduction of production follow-up.
If you are well prepared, the work will proceed without a hitch. If you are less than well prepared, you will encounter a few more setbacks, and you will have to resolve these later on. If you are really badly prepared, you risk the entire introduction process being a failure.
The first three points (objective and vision, competence and motivation) are very much based on involving the staff at an early stage, delegating responsibility to them and highlighting good examples of how well they have succeeded.
Objective and vision is usually the area where you have the fewest problems at the start of a project. If you look after the project team and the person(s) who is/are really enthusiastic about the introduction, they will have lots of ideas about what you should do and how everything should look in the future.
The risk is that you will fail to inform the operators and technicians across the board about this, and these are the people we are expecting to work on ongoing reason coding.
Generally it is important that you consider both the main protagonists and staff across the board when making sure you have an adequate level of preparation in the various areas.
Objective and vision
Your main protagonists are seldom a problem. The risk is that staff across the board are not informed and do not see any connection with their day-to-day tasks.
In this context, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- What must be done in the project?
What does the timetable look like? How much of this should we bite off at a time?
If you start introducing OEE-measurements without having a broad base for these questions that includes at least a dedicated project manager and project team, you run considerable risk of finding, a month or so into the project, that you have created a lot of confusion, where you personally and your own staff are in the middle of new exciting things without having first explained what you have started.
Prior to the introduction of OEE-measurements, you often have to deal with expectations from two directions. You have been on the receiving end of a lot of money from top management, and you have created expectations in your organization through your objective and vision.
You yourself completely understand the situation and what awaits you. But do the rest of the team and the organization? If not, there is a big risk that you will end up in a stressful situation where you are unclear how you (“I”) must now sort it out.
The solution is to use adequate preparation to ensure a broad base of understanding. An excellent way of achieving this is to start with some manual production follow-up.
The team’s motivation to set about an OEE-measurement is very much a question of how well they persevere in new things. The key is positive feedback and to always highlight good examples that point up the progress and impact you are achieving.
If you do not address this, there is risk of it all becoming a short-lived fad, despite project plans and the competence of managers and staff.
Our experience is that, of all the six points, allocating resources is the single most important thing you must do. If you have a dedicated member of staff who devotes a fixed amount of time every day or week to this, you will have the scope needed to work on all the other points.
If OEE-measurements are to be sustainable over a longer period, increasingly stringent demands will subsequently be made on the level of detail and the accuracy of the decision basis.
Sooner or later you will have to progress from manual measurement and data collection, if you are not to get bogged down in a situation where meetings are completely taken up with speculation and argument. This results in the wrong focus, where time is devoted to discussion rather than to measures.
Short or long-term performance indicators can also be very important for this point.
This is actually a practical measure arising out of the first point: the successful formulation of how introduction of the system should be implemented and how to maintain it in use.
Here, roles and their responsibilities and ownership must be made very clear. If there are standardized work methods for daily procedures and production follow-up, these must be updated.
If you are not successful in this aspect during the introduction, you risk creating a degree of chaos, in that after a time you will not know who is to do what.
Another big risk if you leave out this point is that all of the working OEE-measurement system is liable to disappear over the horizon along with your single enthusiastic supporter when all of a sudden the latter is no longer a member of the organization!