Every week, I visit companies that use FullFact’s OEE Toolkit over a longer period of time in their improvement programs. My assumption is that they’ve acquired the tool to leverage their continuous improvement programs such as World Class Manufacturing (WCM), Total Productivity Management (TPM), etc.
In reality, OEE Toolkit is not always used to leverage value for continuous improvement. Especially at small to SME’s with 50 to 300 employees, I notice that OEE Toolkit is a merely a tool for Production or Quality Managers to make informed decisions, based on reports derived after a shift has been finished. Yet, having operators involved in daily management makes the difference: one enables to think as a team and come up with solutions. So, in my opinion, it’s a tool for both the operators, managers as well as the board to make informed decisions and improving production lines. With just the Production or Quality Manager in charge, I see two dangers lurking around the corner.
Danger 1 : OEE-improvement process is only a managerial tool
I notice that there are often a couple of managers carrying the trajectory forward. It is often just the Product- or Quality Manager itself with some supporting staff members. Due to a shortage of personnel or high pressure, reports are barely shared with the shop floor personnel – and sometimes, not even. This results in operators not feeling ownership in their Continuous Improvement efforts. In short, it stays the ‘toy’ of the manager.
In general, the operators know very well what the potential causes could be for idle machines and deliver valuable input on how to solve it. By involving the operators and giving them the right amount of responsibility, you create ownership unleashing unknown levels of potential improvement. If one would ask me for advice: have a critical look at how you can improve your daily management and follow-up on the team efforts.