Improving your OEE

Author: Paul Henriques in: Operations

February 22, 2022

Improving your OEE

You probably know about your OEE. After all, overall equipment effectiveness has been a staple metric of fabrication for decades. You’ve been using OEE to compare your actual production asset performance to your ideal.

All the biggest manufacturing methodologies cover improving your OEE. Lean, Six Sigma, and ToC all touch on OEE as a metric to review and steps that you can take to improve it. While these methodologies, and others like IDA, all have excellent processes for improving your OEE, this post covers other ways you do to improve it?

Better Maintenance

If preventively maintaining and inspecting your assets seems like an obvious way to improve your OEE, it’s because it is. But here, we are talking about better maintenance. One way to get maintenance that doesn’t affect your OEE is with an improved planning system that checks and schedules maintenance for hours when the tools are not needed for production. A better ERP system can help you with this scheduling to ensure that the maintenance downtime doesn’t affect the OEE.

Another improvement is predictive maintenance. Certain new machines, or digital add-ons, will continuously monitor tool operations and notify or report when key components are operating outside parameters, like a flywheel running too hot or excessive vibrations from a punch-press.

Better Training

Decreased OEE performance mainly comes from two areas: idle tools or lower speeds. Less idling is mainly removed with better planning. Lower tool speeds can usually be summed up by poor operation. In these cases, better OEE performance starts with better training, which provides two OEE benefits.

First, improved training increases operator familiarity with leads to a higher productive output for the tool. At high enough levels of knowledge, and with the right automation in place, you can get to a point where an operator is running at or near the tool manufacturer’s maximum suggested output. Also, by improving the knowledge and the input of your operators, you can grant them the autonomy to manually inspect high flow areas. This can greatly decrease the need for constant maintenance inspections from the maintenance staff, which decreases downtime, thus improving OEE.

A final point comes with defects. A better trained workforce with better work order tools can quickly review and react to any defects coming off an asset. A quick stop by a trained operator to recalibrate a tool gets you a higher overall efficiency than producing multiple defects before stopping or waiting for the maintenance technician to action a stop-work order.

Better Repairs

The tools you use in your shop all come with manuals and manufacturer recommended maintenance schedules and parts. Some shops like to cut costs by using aftermarket and off-the-shelf parts to keep working. This in an effort to avoid the oft-times added costs of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.

While this may grant short-term benefits to the balance sheet, it can be more frequent breakdowns or less precise machinery. Both of these items lead to lower OEE. In the end, maintaining your equipment with OEM parts can help prolong the tool lifespan and efficiency.

Another benefit comes with centralized documentation for each tool and machine that allows operators and maintenance techs to quickly review the OEM recommended maintenance and operation procedures to ensure you can get your equipment back to 100% sooner.

Better Innovation

One of the ways to improve your OEE is with better technology and methods. Improving your OEE can be as simple as implementing a new quality management system, better equipment tracking, smarter inventory management, better data, and others. New technology, like new ERP systems often come with modules and tools to help you manage your many business units, including maintenance management, training and skill management, and improved planning tools.

Adding what was once manual processes to the automated and digital world can be daunting but your efficiency, and your bottom line, will thank you in the long run. By adding barcode scanners, warehouse management apps, and shop monitors, you can plug into the internet of things (IoT) to quickly find leaps in efficiency that stop capacity loss due to overtime, or allow you to take the chance to sign that contract with a harder to meet delivery date.


Improving OEE is possible within the normal Lean, Six Sigma, or ToC methodologies, however further improvements can require thinking beyond the standard processes. Adding innovative technologies, such as a future-ready ERP system and shop monitors can help.

The OnRamp ERP system can connect to shop monitors. With data constantly being fed to the central database, you get an immediate view of output rates, outages, maintenance, process speed, and product quality on command. Better access to data means that any fall in effectiveness that would impact you can be quickly viewed and actioned. This makes the Lean concept of continuous improvement easier, leading to a higher OEE sooner.


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