OEE the Quality Measure

Touch ScreenIs OEE the Quality Measure for Manufacturers? Historically, many manufacturing processes have tended to overlook ‘Quality’ element of OEE as a ‘constant’, or simply a KPI for the QC department, rather than an opportunity for manufacturing process improvement.

Today, with increasingly demanding consumer driven audits, quality inspections range from automatic inspection on CNC machines through final inspection of every product, to checks on an agreed number of examples.

With so many shop-floor systems available, the question is whether quality checks and record keeping should be paper based, part of a large ERP system, or a stand-alone application? There are business cases for all of these options, but logically, building quality checks into OEE measurement makes perfect sense, as ‘Quality’ is a vital part of the calculation.

Quality is directly linked to the assets that make the product, and the number of products made, which are both essential elements in OEE. Moreover, the following information is already available in any comprehensive OEE System:

• Asset structure
• Product definitions
• Number of rejects
• Reject reasons and locations.

Although paper and spreadsheet based inspection methods may offer a cheaper option to OEE measurement in the short run, there is a large scope for error in data entry. A lack of visibility and traceability of manufacturing performance often results in a failure to find the root cause of any problems

Automate this process, and not only does it take the pain (and margin for error) out of data entry, but it also means that the data collected can be used to inform the manufacturing Improvement Agenda.

Of course, the ‘quality’ check does not have to be directly related to assessing the quality of the product; it could, for instance, require the operator to check and top-up an oil mist bottle every shift. In this case, we just need to know the task has been completed within the required frequency.

Grouped quality checks relating to product or asset combinations can be scheduled to automatically remind the Quality Operators when the checks are due. Touch screens make it quick and easy to enter data, and the results can be made clearly visible across the plant.

Once the task creation and results are captured we need a few reports to measure adherence, such as Statistically, how well are we doing? and Did we meet the target frequencies? Reports such as the Idhammar Waterfall Reports incorporate quality performance.

With the values filed digitally, batch traceability is comprehensive. Because the quality element is recorded by the OEE system, we know when production started and when it ended, how many products were made and the number of rejects. Crucially, every stoppage event or problem that occurred can be reviewed, to help identify the root cause of the quality issue.

The key advantage of building quality checks into the OEE System is the ability to generate fully automatic alerts, so that individuals are instantly informed of critical fails via email or text message. This ensures that the quality issue is rectified as soon as possible, and that robust audit trails are produced.

We can use the existing hardware framework of touch screens for activities, reducing our infrastructure outlay and improving ROI through resource savings.

Finally, traceability is high in an OEE system, as all the run parameters, people and products are accessible in a single place, so the operations team has access to stoppage and quality alerts in the same system. They can review production problems and successes and match them to quality results, and generate instant performance reports.

Maintaining perfect quality doesn’t have to be arduous – with intelligent systems in place many factories could relieve the pressure on their manufacturing and operations teams, especially during audits.

To discover more about the elements of OEE and how they can be applied to your business operations, contact Idhammar today.