Management can influence the OEE in a decisive manner. The complexity of a production program is a major cause of losses in production. Management must use the data in its day by day decisions and live the philosophy of continuous improvements.
Management must create training programs to increase the knowledge level at the work floor allowing for more autonomous and pro-active action on the operator’s side. Management must support the philosophy to give the operators the lead. Setting goals and giving time and resources to realize the improvements.
The number of SKU is an indicator for the complexity of a production program. Changing from one product to another does always take time. Running small batches, even with a limited number of SKU results in the same, many changeovers.
The just in time philosophy has led many companies to the elimination of stocks and producing according to the actual orders. This leads to small batches and many changeovers.
Example: A production line handles 10 SKU. The speed of the line is 120 PPM. The Batch size varies from 3000 to 25000. Thus, the theoretical runtime at 120 PPM, varies from 25 Minutes to 209 minutes (3Hr 9 min.) The changeover time is 20 Minutes. The average batch is 6.450 or 53,75 minutes. This means that after each 53,75 minutes there is a changeover of 20 Minutes. The total time for a batch is now 53,75 + 20 = 73,75 min. Of that total time 20 minutes or 27% of the time is consumed by changeover. Running faultlessly and without stop, the max OEE is 73%. Changing the batch size, the time for production increases and the Loss for change reduces. Increasing the average batch size to 20.000 (or 166,7 min production time), the calculation results in 10.7%. Thus, the max achievable OEE is 89.3%.
In another case the number of SKU was above 55. There were a few SKU’s that run only 3 Hour/year. The changeover time was 30 minutes. Change over is 14% of the total time. Please take into account, that this SKU has its own packaging material
There has been the cost of the design, making the printing roll, print only a minimum amount of film. That film is kept in stock; there is a certain marketing effort involved, sales cost, etc. It is the task of management to question whether such small SKU are profitable. If not, such SKU is only acceptable when there is a clearly defined strategic importance that justifies the (most probable) loss.
Communicating the OEE to the operator team is not sufficient. Changes in the OEE must lead to interviews between management and the production team. Everyone must notice that this has the full attention of the top management. This is where money is made or lost.
Input from production must be sought and heard, and this should not be a window dressing exercise, but people will note very quickly whether this is real or not.
Only when it is real, there will be a reaction from the production team when all are called to improve OEE to improve the competitiveness.
Only knowledgeable people will be able to support management’s effort to improve the performance. Management can set goals, but the production team must realize this. It requires knowledge to be able to be creative in finding solutions for problems.
There should be a clear training program, not once, but institutionalized so new operators can do training and reach the level of their “predecessors”. This means that the program must be supported with materials and personal that can train new personal, either in once or twice a year training rounds or with computer-based material that allow individual training. The time schedule for this training must be part of the planning for these persons.
If necessary, general training in reading and writing skills as well as basic mathematics should be available. This depends strongly on the hiring policy. That may require a minimum educational level assuring this basic level, or, when hiring lower educated personal, basic training may be a necessity.
Well educated and trained personal may have a slightly higher cost, but generally compensates this with better performance and a stronger and active participation in improvement projects.
When management decides to follow the autonomous maintenance track and involve the operators in the improvement processes, it will have to empower personal. Requests for modifications must be dealt with timely. If approved, the realization must be timely to keep the motivation at a high level and get more input from the production team.
There must be clear rules on how suggestions are handled; what the rules are to approve or reject a proposal. The must be resources to discuss with operators their ideas. They will not be able to produce technical drawings, and it may require time to understand their ideas. Not listening and reacting to proposals will kill motivation rapidly, and word spreads quickly. This will kill the motivation in the rest of the team too.
Therefore, there is no sense in announcing such actions when you are not prepared to really do what is said.
People will accept goals and rules, setting guidelines within which people can act as long as all play by the same rules. Therefore, management must be aware of the consequences announcing such a policy, otherwise, it will be counterproductive.