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OEE Software: Identifying the Root Cause for Continuous Improvement

Posted on October 11, 2022 by Kevin Lee
Kevin Lee


OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) is a critical metric for manufacturing plants to track. With proper, consistent measurement, plant managers can track the overall performance of their facilities and determine the root cause behind line interruptions, unplanned downtime, quality rejections, and equipment problems. 

Root cause analysis saves manufacturing teams significant time and effort. What might take weeks to diagnose can be uncovered through smart and sophisticated trend analysis in a matter of minutes or hours with OEE tracking software. Here’s what you need to know about deploying this powerful solution in your plant.


Is OEE Tracking Software Different from OEE Reporting Software?

These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Technically speaking, OEE tracking software captures data as it comes off your production lines and OEE reporting software has the back-end analytics necessary to create charts and graphs that guide manufacturers to take action and correct insufficiencies. 

Ideally, your OEE solution will do both.

To continuously improve your operations you need to be able to understand what is happening in real-time on your time while also being able to look back and analyze past trends. In doing so, you can quickly identify performance gaps and help you answer questions such as:

  • Are we utilizing each piece of equipment to its fullest capacity?
  • Is there one machine in particular that is underperforming and slowing down an entire line?
  • Are there bottlenecks we’ve overlooked which could be causing holdups, rework, or other issues in our operations?

Of course, your line managers are already trained and experienced in spotting many of these problems. Yet, the issue is that there are often underlying problems that are far more difficult to detect. OEE reporting software simplifies the process and enables your operators to have visibility to issues so they can respond quickly. Plus, it eliminates the tedious, time-consuming task of manually tracking equipment and line performance.


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At the core of it, OEE Software prevents your team from having to record and input equipment data manually and creates time for continuous improvement

OEE software collects data inputs from manufacturing equipment on the plant floor. Once it has this information, it applies advanced algorithms to compare how your plant should be operating versus how it’s actually operating. You can see these insights on a holistic level, as well as, drilling down and looking into specific lines, shifts, and machines.

At the most basic level, OEE is a calculation. It starts with total planned production time (not including planned schedule loss caused by factors like breaks and plant shutdowns). Then, it allows you to see how much of that planned time is actually productive by measuring loss across the following three areas.

  • Quality loss measures the ratio of fully productive time, during which only good products are produced at the quickest possible rate without any stops, versus net run time, which measures the fastest time the total count could be produced in. Thus, this measure accounts for rework and pieces that fail to meet quality standards.
  • Performance determines how closely an asset is running compared to its maximum speed. It’s calculated by multiplying the optimal cycle time, or the fastest possible time for producing an item, by the total number of pieces produced. This is then divided by the run time, which should incorporate any small stops.  
  • Availability considers interruptions and how they contribute to loss by halting production for roughly a few minutes. The simple equation of availability is calculated by dividing actual run time by planned production time. Causes for availability loss may include equipment malfunctions, jams, and changeover time.

OEE software takes these measurements and produces a total OEE value by multiplying availability by performance and quality. But, it factors in the nuances of each plant and each product, line, or machine, so the calculations can get complicated. An OEE score of 100% would thus represent an operation in which:

  • only good parts are being produced (100% quality),
  • operations are running at the maximum speed (100% performance), and
  • there are no interruptions (100% availability).

Realistically, no manufacturing plant can expect to hit a 100% OEE score. Yet, implementing OEE software is the make-or-break factor that can get your operation as close to that as possible.


Implementing OEE: Putting It Into Practice 

Putting OEE into practice can work in two ways. For one, it can be used as a benchmark. This approach will track your asset’s OEE to other metrics. For instance, you might compare your facility’s OEE to world-class standards, or measure the OEE of one of your locations against that of another. Even specific lines and shifts can be compared to see which are excelling and which could use improvement.

Additionally, OEE can be used as a comparison tool, where you determine how operations are either accelerating or lagging compared to your original OEE measurement. When downward trends appear, you can receive notifications and alerts, so you can intervene quickly before too much time or product is lost.

Clearly, the advantages of implementing OEE software span far and wide – and we’ve only grazed the surface. The most important thing to identify before implementing is your goal —- understand what will be the most impactful and important for your manufacturing plant. By first understanding your goal, you will be able to choose the best OEE solution for your facility — OEE tracking software or OEE analyzing software — or a solution that combines both. 

Topics: Analytics, Technology, OEE