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Where to Start With the Overall Equipment Effectiveness?

In the previous articles, we discussed what OEE is. We discussed the 6 steps from where we stand to action, we discussed 5S and TPM as methodology.

Now is the question of where to start?

If there are more than 1 production lines, I suggest calculating for each one which is the actual OEE. Which line has the highest profitability, which line must be prioritized? Now concentrate on that line only. Once you have gained experience with 5S and formed TPM teams on that line copy the methodology to each line.

I suggest making a list of all the issues you have observed in the production line. Do mark to what sources of loss do they belong to. Generally, there is no automatic time tracking system in place, so prepare a list for operators to classify and time stops.

Stop Event  OEE Log Template

Limit yourself to 15 reasons, otherwise things get confusing.

From your first analysis the main reasons must be clear. Discuss them with the operators and write them in the list. 

Now the operator must fill out why and how long the machine stopped, and mark for which reason. Doing this over several shifts, gives you an overview. Now define which is the biggest loss. (this concerns stop losses). Also check the number of ejected packs, and the total, calculating the quality.

On a line there may be more than 1 operator. Define clearly who makes notes on which part of the line and combine these at the end of the shift. Make sure that you mark as a reason idling and forced stop and assure that the operators understand the difference.

The table down is an example but shows how you can define the events (the top section) and how to log manually (bottom section).

overall equipment effectiveness template

Now transfer the biggest losses in the following table. That helps to define the cause of the loss, the reason behind it, maintenance, procedure etc. and the possible solution. You may have to make a pareto analysis to define the possible causes behind a loss. Again, the following table is an example.

Loss:  The description of the problem/what is visible

Cause 1: the primary reason why this loss occurs

Cause 2: the cause that leads to the cause described in Cause 1. (e.g. The problem of overload in the vibratory chutes is caused by a problem at the dribble board. This again may have different causes; here I list as cause 2 the lack of tracking of the cooling belts. It may have a 3rd cause, tracking of the oven belt or wear of the cooling belt etc. You can add more causes in order to get to the basic one. You may even add lines, as there can be several causes for one problem.

Loss couses remedy Chart part 1
Loss couses remedy Chart part 2
The cause and remedies are fictional and serve as examples.

Once you have an overview for the issues at hand, you must decide where to start. In that decision, several aspects must be considered.

  • Starting with TPM; it is important to get quick results, showing the team that they can improve things. This serves as a motivator.
  • The amount of work or material involved, or the investment required
  • How fast can you implement; the delay to implement the solution.
  • Which problem is key for the whole line; what is the bottleneck in the line that limits an increase of the production?

The following table gives an overview of the pros and cons of different solutions. Go back to the loss/cause/remedy chart and mark which problem is easy to improve, which is a bottleneck, and which is the most problematic. There can be several of each kind.

Which equipment Pros Cons
Easiest to improve •    Best opportunity for “quick win”
•    More forgiving of limited TPM experience

•    Less payback than improving constraint equipment
•    Does not test the TPM process as strongly as the other options

Constraint / Bottleneck •    Immediately increases output
•    Provides fastest payback
•    Working on critical asset as a trial project is a higher risk option
•    May result in equipment being off-line more than desired as it is improved
Most problematic •    Improving this equipment will be well supported by operators
•    Solving well known problems will strengthen support for TPM project
•    Less payback than improving constraint equipment
•    Unsolved problems are often unsolved for a reason – it may be challenging to get a good result

Source: Vorne Industries

As always, money is a key factor, so mark how much must be invested to solve the issue. Training is also an investment because it requires time of your personal, it requires preparation, teaching material. Make an estimate.

Using this classification of the possible solutions, add your estimate of the solution and the cost involved to the Loss/Cause/Remedy excel. Set your own limits for defining low, medium, and high cost, but define these dimensions so there is consistency.

Most important though measure the frequency this problem occurs and calculate the monetary cost of that loss. Based on that information make a pareto analysis, whereby the definition of the priorities is first the cost of the loss and second the cost of repair.

Loss/Cause/Remedy excel
Loss/Cause/Remedy excel

See also the other considerations below (low hanging fruits).

Consider what was discussed in chapter 2, work the line from the end backwards.

Based on this sheet and the biggest loss analysis, you can take decisions where to start, but take in account the following:

  • When you start with this process and there is little experience, first go for the easy ones that have the biggest impact (quick win or low hanging fruit). You will learn in the process, and it will create for the team a positive experience that helps to motivate.
  • As there are organizational and technical aspects to each of these problems, besides operators, get supervisors/managers and maintenance personal involved. Limit the teams to some 6 persons, otherwise the teamwork become cumbersome.
  • Make sure that the team members have time to meet and discuss the issues.
  • Also make sure that there is communication with the rest of the personal through a project board.

A solution may be a quickie that can be implemented immediately but one that will not last and does not solve the problem completely. There may be a solution that solves it completely but takes long and has a high cost to implement.

5S Sort OEE

Once decided where to start, commence with 5S

Sort - 5S method 

  • Get rid of messy workplace conditions
  • Eliminate what is not necessary
  • What is not necessary is given a red tag
  • While marking red ted tag, ask these questions:
  1. Is this object necessary?
  2. If it is necessary, how frequently is it used?
  3. If it is necessary, should it be located here?
  4. Who is ultimately responsible for the item? If it’s needed for another person immediately       verify the object from the person.
  5. Are there any other not-necessary objects cluttering the workplace?
  6. Are there tools or material left on the floor?

Place in Order - 5S method

Example of a shadow board. You will have to make this according to the tooling required for the specific job.

Benck Shadow Board - Order 5s method example.
Shine - 5S Method

Clean up the place
Shine 5s example
Photo source:

Standardize - 5S method

Such a checklist serves to check the machine at the start of a shift. It describes how the equipment is left by the earlier shift.

It must be signed by both operators, the one that leaves and the one that take over. You will have to develop the list according your situation.

Checklist 5s Standardize
Sustain - 5S method

5S Manufacturing Assessment.png

5S Manufacturing Assessment part2.png

Using such a checklist to make a 5S audit gives you a tool to check compliance. The audit will result in a score. The total score can be used to match different teams against each other and create incentives. This will help to make this an automatism for all personal.

Make the 5S visible for all; describe how to do and how NOT to do. Scores can be on this board too.

5S Story Board Example.jpg


Autonomous maintenance

For Autonomous maintenance, start with Safety. Make sure that the electrical power can be cut before cleaning. The responsible operator must be the only person with the key, assuring no-one can restore electrical energy.

Safety maintenance

Cleaning is part of CIL standing for Clean, Inspect, Lubricate

  • Create a standard kit with cleaning material
  • Make pictures and instructions how to clean special sections of a machine
  • If guards must be removed for cleaning, make visual instructions how to remove and re-install these guards.


Enable simple Inspection

Transparent covers or ones with a window allow operators to check the conditions of drives or other components inside. 

CIL Inspection

With red and green marking make inspection easy.

Inspection CIL


Mark where machine components require greasing and for each greasing point indicate with a graphical mark which type of lubricant must be used.

Marker for type of lubricant

Make a Plan with pictures showing all the greasing points.

greasing points

We suggest making an excel table showing all the points the be greased and the type of lubricant to be used. It should show the dates when must be greased. This serves as a checklist marking the points greased.
Here an example of lubricant coding:

Example of lubricant coding

In the next article I will deal with quick change-over, SMED, center lining, examples of autonomous maintenance.

Related articles:

What Can Do for You? What OEE means and why, when you want to increase your margin

How to Start Measuring OEE and Define What and Where Are Your Problems?

Where to Start Mending: 5S and TPM - What Can OEE Do for You?

Leading image: By OpturaDesign/

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