The Alliance for Innovation and Operational Excellence (AIOE) released an overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) Opportunity Calculator designed to help plant operations personnel identify and track improvements in productivity.

Steve Schlegel, AIOE co-managing director, says the calculator represents the first attempt by a group to develop a common approach to opportunities for improvement, project pipeline development and tracking progress. The lack of common terminology and criteria in benchmarking OEE can be a major roadblock to collaboration.

“OEE has been the most broadly adopted measurement tool for companies engaging in a continuous improvement initiative, but it’s not the only one out there,” Schlegel says. “AIOE members selected OEE as a common method of measurement, because when a continuous improvement initiative has OEE as its key performance indicator, companies can better understand where opportunities for improvement exist. OEE provides a common set of references and terminologies.”

Mark Hanley, asset reliability manager for Land O’ Lakes and member of AIOE’s operational reliability solutions group, points out that understanding the relationship between OEE analytics and improvement is essential. “How do you demonstrate to management the value of a one-point improvement in OEE? One thing that helps is remembering it’s not the OEE number itself you are after. It’s the use of that number to help you guide your improvement efforts,” says Hanley.

A lack of internal support, resistance to change and the perception of a shortage of understanding, time, budget and personnel are the main difficulties in instituting an OEE program, Schlegel says.

The calculator is based on Microsoft Excel and allows users to quickly estimate a production line’s potential savings as a result of OEE improvements.

AIOEwas founded by PMMI in 2011 to facilitate solutions to common operational challenges through collaboration of manufacturing and engineering professionals. The calculator is available for free online.