Why is it that technical failures almost always have priority in improving the OEE? The answer is actually quite simple.

A production line should always run smoothly at the desired speed. A technical malfunction (standstill) always stands out immediately and soon leads to a gathering of several operators, followed by attention from the technical department and line management.

Reduce the loss of technical breakdowns

If it takes a little longer, the logistics department and the production planning department will automatically follow (… be careful now, this can result in overtime). Fortunately, nowadays we see that technical failures of machines are resolved fairly quickly. Technical services take their work seriously, work with advanced maintenance programs and after each failure that they have solved, they make a failure mode analysis that gives them insight into the root cause of the problem. This will improve the maintenance program of the machine and will lead to modifications to the machine, such that the malfunction concerned will not recur any more. In short, we see in practice that many production companies have been able to reduce the loss of technical breakdowns to 5% or less.

But they are not ready yet: “Zero Breakdowns” remains the goal.

Much more potential for improvement

So, we can conclude that 95% of our losses of production time has other causes. Do you remember them? The “Six Big Losses”: machine malfunctions, waiting, shortstops, reduced speed, waste and rework. And guess what? Who is the winner? “Wait, wait, wait and wait again”.

So there is a huge potential for improvement. Many forms of waiting are naturally accepted. We often hear the following: “Change over time is simply a fact, it takes as long as it takes”. “We follow the prescribed procedure. I have to do it on my own”. “I have my own method of cleaning, it must be done thoroughly and that will take time”. “Our maintenance program is entirely in the hands of the Technical services they have a fixed time schedule for performing maintenance”. “During a change of shift, we put work down for a while”. “Production during lunchtime is not possible”.

Much to be gained

These are excuses that you should not take too literally. But the fact remains, there is still much to be gained here. Take a good look at your OEE diagram or OEE Pareto and leave for a moment the technical malfunctions. Give some more priority to the other losses like “waiting”. But you also have to realize that to attack these losses, you often need very specific methodologies. In addition, you have to invest in time so that operators can work together with specialists in an improvement team to reduce losses.

Sometimes a little outside help can be very useful. The outcome of an improvement team always delivers more than just an increase in production!

Louis Hopstaken
Customer Care Manager

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