Manufacturing Companies Should Understand the Operational Effectiveness of their Production Equipment… Mid-West Lean Network hears

Attendees at a recent Mid-West Lean Network (MWLN) virtual workshop were advised to place greater focus on the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) metric in their operations to enable them to attain savings on their production lines and generate a return on investment for the business.

The second workshop in the network’s annual series was delivered by Neil Enright, senior lean manager, Infectious Disease for Emerging Markets (IDEM) division at Abbott Diagnostics and chair of the MWLN, and Tim Crowe, co-founder and CEO of WRXFlo, a company that specialises in enabling business to achieve greater levels of process efficiency through Lean industry 4.0.

Describing OEE as a metric that identifies the percentage of planned production time that is truly productive, Mr Enright said that OEE is useful as a benchmark to compare performance of a given asset to industry standards or similar in-house assets, and as a baseline to track progress over time in eliminating waste from a product asset.

“While 100% effectiveness is the perfect rate of performance and 85% is considered world-class, most organisations operate at 60% and it is not uncommon for companies to attain only 45% when they start tracking improvement in their manufacturing performance,” he stated.

“OEE is not complicated,” he added.

“It’s the ratio of fully productive time to planned production time and can be impacted by the six big losses in manufacturing, namely: equipment failure, set-up adjustments, idling and minor stops, reduced speed, and reduced yields.” Mr Enright stated.

“Companies need to generate a deep understanding of these issues and their impact and plan to eliminate them, through initiating improvement strategies.”

Stating that Abbott Diagnostics have successfully reduced machine downtime by 75% in the production of its market leading diagnostic antigen testing product, through zoning in on its OEE metric, he encouraged attendees to look at OEE as a vital measure of success for their production equipment.

“It actively drives improvement,” said Enright.

Concurring with these sentiments, WROFlo’s Tim Crowe, who formerly installed and managed factories globally for Dell, managing its global equipment and global lean programmes, and now working with clients in China, Ireland, Europe and Brazil on managing their overall equipment effectiveness, added: “OEE is challenging. Collecting and processing the data can place a heavy demand on staff time. That’s why it is critical to be clear about how you measure OEE and engage your teams. It’s best to start with one machine or line and then scale up. It is a powerful metric for analysing bottlenecks in production lines, reducing machine downtime, improving quality, and improving line productivity.”

Speaking after the event, Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes added: “It’s wonderful to witness such collaboration and sharing of information on continuous improvement by experienced practitioners and to be able to do so even in a virtual setting. We look forward to being able to move these workshops back on site and to see networking continuing in real time. The workshops are a wonderful opportuning for companies to network and learn from each other.”

The Mid-West Lean Network, which is industry led, is supported by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland.  For more information or to join the network, which is free of charge, log onto