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Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is an important and commonly tracked key performance indicator (KPI) that conveys how effectively assets are used in a manufacturing setting. It serves as a benchmark that shows you exactly how production is going and where to improve.
OEE is such an important part of continuous improvement and lean manufacturing that software exists specifically to help companies track and optimize it. By using this software, companies can make significant improvements to boost production and reduce costs.
Hands down, OEE software is the best tool available to utilize production data and see a real manufacturing impact. This guide is designed to help software seekers learn more about how the system works, its benefits and purchasing details to make the best choice.
In this guide, we'll cover:
What Is OEE Software?
OEE software helps gather and analyze the production data you create every day in order to see where you're wasting time and money. These systems transform this dark data into visuals that reveal trends or immediate problems. For example, waterfall and bar charts can help you see which manufacturing process contributes to downtime. It lets you take a deep dive to see the OEE of a certain product, shift or facility at a glance.
OEE is typically calculated as (Availability x Performance x Quality). Each of these components is quantifiable, and the OEE software uses this information to present the data in dashboards. These data visualizations give you a view of the trends and potential problems throughout the manufacturing process.
IQMS ERP" />
An example of a dashboard as seen in IQMS ERP
In addition to real-time dashboards, OEE systems include strong reporting functionality to generate reports on any production process. This way, you can easily share performance reports with the appropriate departments.
Common Features of OEE Software
|Data collection||Enables the transfer of performance data from assets on the production line by integrating with controllers on machines, then manipulating the data into various formats.|
|Alerts and notifications||The system allows users to set up custom alerts so the appropriate worker is notified if performance readings from machines exceeds a certain threshold, indicating a problem that needs attention.|
|Dashboard||Users can customize a KPI dashboard to include their most critical metrics to see OEE at a glance on a desktop computer or through any web-enabled device.|
|Reporting||Generate reports using the data gathered from production machines on specific products, assets or locations.|
|Analytics||Some vendors offer stronger data-leveraging functionality beyond static reports—Analytics goes another step to pull insights from the data to improve manufacturing performance.|
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Whether you're just getting started with software or ready to optimize parts of your manufacturing business, several types of systems exist to assist you in your goals:
- You're new to manufacturing software. Perhaps you're a small manufacturer using manual methods (like spreadsheets) to track production and quality. To begin automating your daily tasks, look for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. This holistic software can assist your entire operation from tracking materials and inventory to supply chain management and sales.
- You need to improve overall quality. A couple of types of manufacturing software are designed to gather data about production quality and drive improvements. A manufacturing execution system (MES) is focused on optimizing all the specific processes that go into producing a finished item. An OEE system contributes to quality as well by providing benchmarks to achieve.
- You want to improve a specific process. This could include capacity planning, inventory or PLM. Some systems are built to improve specific parts of the production process.
- Capacity planning software factors in all the labor hours, raw materials, equipment and other resources to determine how to plan production in the most efficient way possible.
- Inventory management software tracks all the materials and parts needed to produce an item, helps to reduce carrying costs and optimizes stock-on-hand.
- Product lifecycle management (PLM) software is focused on product quality, using design, engineering and data analytics tools to maximize the value of a product from creation to sale to disposal.
Benefits and Potential Issues
OEE software leads to a few key manufacturing benefits:
Real-time production visibility. Without the right technology, there is no effective way to keep an eye on production metrics in real-time. OEE software gives manufacturers a valuable view into their operations to reveal opportunities for improvement.
True data-driven decisions. Now with a visual dashboard of the most important KPIs for a certain type of manufacturing, companies can make more confident business decisions based on actual data, instead of what they thought was happening on the production line.
Encourages ongoing improvements. Visualizing production data ensures that the performance of the manufacturing process is a consistent source for decision-making—The data offer clear ways to improve production.
Market Trends to Understand
Some events occurring in the world of manufacturing may impact your software selection decision:
Outsourcing is beneficial if done strategically. Even as thousands manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States from countries like China and Germany, strategic outsourcing is becoming a popular business move. The growth and diverse nature of external manufacturing companies offer opportunities for beneficial partnerships. These outside companies can produce different parts of the same end product for significant cost savings and a boost to efficiency.
Affordable technology enables condition monitoring for small manufacturing. When technologies become cheaper, more small businesses are able to use sensors or other devices to gather and use data from the production line. This technology is also beneficial for maintenance management of important assets, extending their useful life by catching problems early.
3D printing can reduce costs, boost complexity of designs. Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing in a manufacturing setting, is becoming a more common practice by companies of all types and sizes. 3D printing allows manufacturers to create more complex parts in a single print, which can reduce the burden on other production machines and increase efficiency.
Pricing and Purchasing Options
Most OEE software vendors don't offer specific pricing publicly, but those who do typically offer a cloud-based system with subscription pricing per month or year. Additional costs may be required to integrate additional assets.
Maybe you prefer to keep your data close by—Most vendors also offer on-premise OEE systems, installed on your computers. Compared to cloud-based software, on-premise systems usually include a higher one-time payment for perpetual use. With on-premise software, your company may also need to invest in IT staff who can secure and maintain the servers and software.