Improving margins by getting the most from your equipment

rotor_maintenanceIn FDA-regulated manufacturing industries many of the more significant losses in terms of time and money can be traced back to equipment which is not set up, operated or maintained correctly. Over time, problems such as these can mean the difference between millions of dollars of additional revenue and millions of dollars of lost revenue.

For this reason more and more companies are incorporating Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) as part of their strategy to improve manufacturing standards.

So what is OEE? Put simply, OEE is a “best practices” metric used to monitor manufacturing processes. It helps you identify problem areas which are affecting your efficiency and allows you to focus your efforts to improve manufacturing performance in the areas. OEE looks at the most common reasons for reduced manufacturing productivity and uses the data collected to produce a series of clear, generic metrics that show you where improvements can be made.

  • Availability. How much time is your equipment actually available for manufacturing operations taking into account scheduled down-times?
  • Performance. How effectively is the equipment being used in the time available?
  • Quality. How much quality product is produced while the equipment is actually running?
  • OEE. The OEE score is an overall figure which represents the proportion of production time spent making high quality products quickly and with no interruptions.

To be regarded as “world class” a manufacturing facility needs to score at least 99.9% for quality, 95% for performance and 90% for availability with an overall OEE score of 85%.
There’s no doubt that efficiency levels like these are very attractive but how can you achieve them? As you implement OEE and begin analyzing the results you will most likely notice that the problems you identify fall into one or more of the following six categories:

  1. Breakdowns such as tooling failures and unplanned maintenance;
  2. Setup and Adjustments during setup and changeover, for example;
  3. Small Stops caused by misfeeds, jams or blocked sensors;
  4. Reduced Speed due to operator inefficiency, component wear or below spec operation
  5. Startup Rejects caused by improper set-up, equipment warm-ups, incorrect assembly and so on;
  6. Production Rejects when the equipment is in steady operation.

Virtually all productivity and efficiency problems in these categories can be significantly reduced by capturing best practice and disseminating it throughout your company. This sounds straightforward enough but in practice it can be quite a challenge for most companies. This is where knowledge capture and best practice tools like Skillpad’s Critical Task Modules come into play. Experience has shown us that working with a company’s most experienced members of staff to capture critical equipment and process knowledge in a custom e-learning module is an extremely efficient way to rapidly disseminate this knowledge throughout your company.


With Skillpad Critical Task Modules you can reduce waste, increase productivity and shorten time to market. To find out more, contact us to arrange a demo.

Mark Cox

Mark has over 12 years of experience in e-learning design and development. He is responsible for the instructional design and content development of Skillpad’s custom and library e-learning courseware.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.