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Going to the ZOO - the Zone of Opportunity

There is long list of manufacturing metrics used to measure manufacturing performance.  One of the most common KPI metrics for machine performance is OEE, or Overall Equipment Effectiveness.   When correctly applied, OEE is a useful standardized way to compare performance between machines, lines and factories.  The “Overall” part of the OEE formula  is key since OEE measures how performance is degraded by three over-arching factors that generate lost time in production.  These are 1) time lost by building product that goes into rework or scrap, 2) time lost by reduced production rates from factors like poor line balance, bottle necks or feeder errors etc., and finally 3) production time lost by reduced machine availability created by downtime episode during change-over and setup, or lack of material, or engineering time to “tweak” program data such as component rotations or placement offsets.  These areas of loss fall into three broad camps, i.e. Quality, Performance and Availability.  Even if your score in the areas of Performance and Availability are high, if you have a low first pass yield at test or inspection, the OEE result will be poor.  To see a detailed discussion on OEE, how it is calculated and how it gives the manufacturer tremendous insight into target areas for improvement, see our new on-demand webinar “Achieving Real Benefit from Performance Monitoring”.

These areas of waste in Quality, Performance and Availability, I refer to as the Zone of Opportunity, or ZOO for short.  If you want to see improvements in manufacturing performance in a significant way, you need to go to the ZOO and attack the “zone”.  Performance Monitoring solutions are most effective when they can be tuned to help you attack the zone of opportunity, isolate the root cause of waste, and correct it.   When you think about it, the data revealing all of the production time wasted by poor quality, bottle necks, machines that run too slow, feeders that drop too many parts, lines that are out of balance, material that is not delivered to the line on time, machine programming errors or part data errors, creates opportunity.  Manufacturing data is a terrible thing to waste.  For the savvy process engineer, quality engineer or production manager this data can be used to make significant improvements to profitability and competitive advantage.  Just go to the ZOO!

To make your trip to the ZOO worthwhile you will need some tools.  Collecting and displaying the right data in the right way through dashboards and interactive reporting, taking full advantage of real time operational data,  historical and transactional data, is essential.   I have a white paper on this topic that may be of interest to you- “Mentor Graphics Performance Monitoring Converts Waste into Profits.   Why settle for the status quo, when you could become a “ZOO-ologist”?    Check it out.


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About Bruce Isbell

Bruce Isbell“Bruce Isbell is seasoned professional within the electronics manufacturing industry. He has served the industry for more than 20 years in both wafer fab and in SMT board level assembly as a manufacturing engineer in both high volume consumer electronics as well as high reliability systems for the military and aerospace segments of the market. The past 10 years Bruce has been applying his manufacturing background and communications skills in sales and marketing organizations to promote technologies which advance the industry in both manufacturing efficiency and quality.” Visit Manufacturing Operations Management

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