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4 Ways to Improve OEE With Automation on the Shop Floor

Smart Manufacturing December 22, 2022

In a recent Deloitte survey, 45% of manufacturing executives expected further increases in operational efficiency from their investments in industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), with the objective to connect their machines and automate manufacturing processes. Manufacturers want user-friendly plug-and-play technologies they can introduce on the shop floor to automate data visibility and boost collaboration. 

In this blog, you’ll learn four different ways to improve OEE with automation on the shop floor, including:

  1. Adopting Industry 4.0 strategies
  2. Focusing on the top operational metrics
  3. Integrating OEE monitoring software
  4. Introducing Automated Downtime Labeling

Adopting Industry 4.0 to improve OEE performance​

While 72% of manufacturers have partially or fully implemented a smart factory strategy today, there are still barriers to digital adoption. By focusing on people, process and technology with OEE as one of the metrics for success, there will be plenty of opportunities to make this happen.

How to improve OEE with automation by adopting Industry 4.0 in your factory:

  1. Account for every second of machine time using contextualized downtime reasons
  2. Gain actionable insights to develop and measure continuous improvement initiatives plant-wide
  3. Unify all levels of the manufacturing organization to develop cross-functional collaboration

The combination of digital transformation and investment in both people and machine performance positions the shop floor to feel empowered to improve operational KPIs. While it’s important to track and monitor OEE, there are other key performance metrics that help measure productivity improvements through I4.0 adoption.

Improving OEE performance with the top 5 operational metrics and KPIs

Industry 4.0 technologies provide manufacturers with accurate real-time data to make smart decisions on the fly. The WMF Manufacturing Transformation Insights Report 2022 describes the effectiveness of a company’s Industry 4.0 technology adoption as “a highly connected factory where all assets (machines, products, materials and workforce) are linked via a common network.” This helps a manufacturing organization in two important ways; it enables more extensive and effective machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communications and helps teams leverage complete data to generate new insights and facilitate real-time decision-making.

According to the IoT Signals Report – Manufacturing Spotlight, the top five operational metrics valued for tracking KPIs are the best place to start. The top five operational metrics and KPIs include: 

Operational Equipment Effectiveness: Increasing OEE is one of the most important manufacturing metrics for measuring the success of smart factory strategies. According to a recent IoT Analytics survey, this KPI is seen as important by 86% of manufacturers.

Workforce Productivity: Also known as labor productivity, this metric is referred to as the economic value measured within a production hour. The IoT Analytics survey stated that 79% of manufacturers see the increase in labor productivity as important. 

Output: The increase of quantity of goods produced within a certain period of time is important for 78% of manufacturers. 

Cost: Decreasing the cost of manufacturing products is the fourth most important KPI at 77% of manufacturers.

Quality: 76% of manufacturers reported that creating reliable, precise products is important for increasing quality on the shop floor. 

Manufacturers are making the transition from manual methods of tracking these KPIs to automation in order to collect historical and real-time data. With digital reports of your top metrics using OEE monitoring software, operators and your other frontline teams can participate in easy data collection and reporting for stronger standups and data-led team conversations.

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Integrating OEE monitoring software to improve OEE with automation

In addition to checking the people and processes boxes off, selecting an OEE monitoring software solution to help improve shop floor performance should be done in parallel. 

Technology like Raven helps you manage increasing production pressures and drive operational excellence by: 

  • Getting a kickstart to your plant’s automation strategy with a focus on team collaboration 
  • Including input from the frontline workers so operators and supervisors have real-time visibility into their lines
  • Creating sustainable operational excellence processes that engage operators to provide human context about what’s occurring on the shop floor 

The outcome? A team that makes confident, data-led productivity improvements. Using Raven, Lester Buildings had real-time analytics that were used as a consistent audit trail, to help determine which improvement efficiencies to focus on across their shop floor. With a live overview of their lines they could see how their machines and frontline were performing. Having one source of truth, they built awareness around downtime to identify daily operational improvements.

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Introducing automated downtime labeling on your floor​

Raven’s Automated Downtime Labeling helps your frontline and operations teams capture and contextualize production data to accurately account for how machines and people spend their time, highlighting hidden losses and unlocking capacity opportunities. By integrating with your tech stack, tagging downtime becomes automated, meaning less time and effort from your teams. Once implemented, you can start identifying systemic and real-time inefficiencies across your lines to drive sustainable OEE improvements.

Improve OEE with automation​

A clear understanding of OEE and other top manufacturing KPIs gives manufacturers a snapshot of where they are and where they want to be. With accurate OEE data and automated processes, manufacturing teams are empowered to make productivity improvements, hit targets, and celebrate wins in a collaborative work environment.

Now it’s time to try some of these practices on your own shop floor. If you need a hand, our team is here to help.

Carol Mitchell-Lin

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