Difference Between OEE for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers: Practical Implementation Tips

By: | Updated: Nov-19, 2023
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OEE is a measurement of factory performance and a helpful tool for improvement. It can be used by small manufacturers to make their businesses run more efficiently, but it’s not always easy to implement. This article will provide some practical tips on how to make OEE work for you and your business.

Implementing OEE is a process

The implementation of OEE is a process, not an event. It’s important to understand that if you want to implement OEE successfully in your manufacturing environment, it will take time and planning. You can’t just flip a switch and expect everything to work perfectly right away–you need the right data and people who know how to use the system effectively.

It’s also important for managers and supervisors at all levels of your organization (from production floor workers up through plant management) to understand this point: implementing OEE means changing how we manage our processes from being reactive (problem-solving) into being proactive (continuous improvement). That shift requires training on both sides–for those with more responsibility over others and those who have less responsibility but still need training in order for everyone involved with implementing OEE systems together successfully.

Difference Between OEE for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers: Practical Implementation Tips OEE for Small and Medium-Sized Manufacturers: Practical Implementation Tips

Understand your current process

The first step in improving your OEE is to understand the current process. To do this, you’ll need to identify the parts of the process that aren’t working well and those that are working well.

For example, let’s say you have an assembly line where workers are producing widgets at a rate of 1 per hour. You can see from this data that there are several areas where time could be saved:

  • The worker who assembles each widget takes 5 minutes per unit to set up his tools before each run (he has 5 tools). This means he spends 10% of his time doing nothing but setting up equipment instead of actually assembling widgets.
  • Another worker needs 8 minutes between each batch because he needs to clean off his station before starting another batch; this accounts for another 6% loss in productivity due to cleaning up after previous runs instead of just moving on immediately after completing one batch successfully without any errors or defects needing immediate attention from management staff members overseeing operations on site at all times during shift hours, so they can respond immediately if anything goes wrong during production runs;

Identify the correct data to measure and track

Identifying the correct data to measure and track is a crucial first step in any OEE implementation. In order to understand what’s happening with your equipment, you need to have a clear picture of each factor of OEE: availability, performance and quality.

For example, if you’re using your company’s existing ERP system to monitor production activity and track machine utilization rates (the Availability Factor), but don’t know what kind of parts are being produced or where they end up after leaving your facility (the Performance Factor), then it will be difficult for anyone trying to improve these metrics–or even just make sense of them–to do so effectively without additional information about both availability and performance levels across all machines at any given time.

Define what makes a good, bad and perfect day for your facility

First, you need to define what makes a good day in your facility. This is different for every company and depends on the key drivers of OEE in your manufacturing process. For example, if you are producing automobiles, then the number of vehicles produced per hour may be one of those key drivers; if you are making pharmaceuticals or chemicals, then yield might be more important than throughput. Once these metrics have been identified (and agreed upon), then it’s time to set goals for improvement based on historical performance data.

Once we know what our goal is (and why), we can start measuring whether we’re getting closer towards achieving that goal over time by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) daily or weekly, depending on how often they change.

Once we’ve identified what makes a bad day in our facility (and why), then we can start measuring whether we’re getting closer towards achieving that goal over time by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) daily or weekly, depending on how often they change.

Identify specific activities that are contributing to OEE factors in your business

The first step to implementing an OEE system is identifying the specific activities that are contributing to OEE factors in your business. This can be done by reviewing the data from your current systems, such as machine hours and employee hours, or by conducting a time study of each process step.

Once you know what is causing problems, use this information to help improve the process. For example: if a particular step takes too long because one person is doing all the work instead of splitting it up among several workers; or if there are frequent machine breakdowns because maintenance isn’t being done on schedule; or if employees aren’t communicating effectively with each other during shifts (or at all). Improvement is a continuous process–you’ll never reach perfection! Using OEE as a way to measure effectiveness helps keep everyone focused on making improvements over time.

OEE can be implemented successfully in any manufacturing environment 

OEE is a process, not an event. It’s not something you can implement in one day and expect to see results immediately. In fact, it should be treated like an ongoing project that requires constant improvement and maintenance.

OEE is a way of life. All employees must follow the same rules when it comes to OEE as they do with other company policies: they need to understand what they’re doing wrong (or right), how it impacts their performance, and how they can improve over time by making small changes in their daily routine or processes at work–the same way you would improve your fitness level by exercising regularly or eating healthier meals each day after getting used to those changes gradually over time instead of trying something new all at once! This means learning from mistakes along the way, so we don’t repeat them again later down the road when implementing another improvement strategy within our workplace culture.”


If you’re a small or medium-sized manufacturer looking to improve your OEE, we hope this article has given you some ideas on how to do it. Remember that the most important thing is to start somewhere! Don’t let fear of failure or overwhelm keep you from taking action–take small steps towards improving your process and measuring results along the way so that you can steadily make progress towards greater efficiency.

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