A key dimension to factory productive measurement is OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). While this has helped manufacturing over the years, the bigger question currently is how this measure is correlated to overall factory wellness.
In this rapidly digitalizing landscape, the discussions are oftentimes about data being generated by machines and control systems, and how the new sensors would help mine more data to seek new factory vitals that help improve manufacturing resilience and not just operations. With ongoing digital proliferation, one of the key dimensions that is being challenged is OEE calculation. What was not economical to measure earlier is now easily and effectively measurable. If we look at the OEE measure, it has often been a key KPI for the manufacturing industry. Over the years, it has progressed from machines to lines to overall factory as an aggregation measure. Now, with innovative manufacturing becoming more environmentally responsible, the measures that capture this dimension have notably been the charter of emission control functions of the factory. They now need to be correlated to production and then financial KPIs.
The innovations in manufacturing also provide the possibility of ‘factory vitality’ as a more adequate measure to keep a tab on factory health with the ability to innovate and churn out products more effectively, economically, and sustainably. Does this mean a demise of legacy systems of measurement and a move to the new age digital methods? The manufacturing industry consumes energy and natural resources like no other industry, and it is important to understand this in the context of ‘credible measures.’ Additionally, how to measure the myriad of resources that are not even a part of the measurement index, like waste generation, heat loss, and harmful effluents that directly or indirectly impact the environment?
Is factory efficiency today all about producing more with less? Or, does it entail more than what is measured in the past or the present? The questions require closer scrutiny and examination, and the companies that adopt a proactive approach to look at additional measures will have a better chance of staying ahead of the curve.