OEE Software

OEE software provides deep insights into the components that make up your OEE score, as well as the underlying losses, providing much-needed context. The accuracy, consistency, and granularity of the data it collects, along with its ability to store that data for historical analysis, provides an unparalleled opportunity to shift your team’s time away from data collection toward actions that improve your manufacturing process.

What Is OEE Software?

OEE software is a technology that leverages IOT-enabled devices to make it easier to accurately track, analyze, and improve OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness). OEE is the gold standard for measuring manufacturing productivity and is an essential part of any manufacturing improvement program. The best OEE software solution goes beyond automating the measurement of OEE and provides you with tools to understand and address the underlying manufacturing losses such as downtime, speed loss, and rejects.

Four andons, one calling attention to the fact that Line 2 is down.

Key Benefits of OEE Software

Improved Accuracy

Achieve more accurate measurements of OEE and the underlying factors of Availability, Performance, and Quality by automating data capture. Companies are often shocked when they discover their true downtime and how much time is lost to slow cycles and small stops.

Real-Time Data

Provide your team with real-time loss information so they can address these losses during the shift – in time to change the outcome of that shift. We don’t recommend focusing solely on the overall OEE score during the shift as it is not conducive to making immediate changes within the shift. It is better to focus on the underlying losses or simply provide operators with a takt-based shift target.

Loss Analysis

From a practical perspective, OEE is less important than the underlying losses. Why? Because knowing your losses is fundamental to driving improvement. For example, a Six Big Loss analysis is a logical extension of OEE that is easily delivered by OEE monitoring software.

Six Big Losses report showing KPIs for each one of the six big losses.


Companies love to benchmark, which is very easy with OEE software. However, we recommend you do so with caution. There are two types of comparative benchmarks – space-based and time-based.

With space-based benchmarks, you compare multiple assets within the same time frame. Comparing OEE across different divisions, sites, assets, or products can be interesting, but is not likely to lead to actionable insights. If you are going to compare OEE scores, be sure that you are comparing the same equipment, running the same product under similar conditions.

With time-based you compare a single asset to itself over time, which is the preferred form of OEE benchmark. Use OEE as a tool for improvement by trending OEE over time for a given asset or product.

Historical Perspective

Historical trends are extremely valuable to help understand the context of your OEE score. Dimensional analysis, such as by part, team, and shift is easy with OEE software and provides a much deeper understanding of your OEE data.

Capacity Analysis

A closely related metric to OEE is TEEP (Total Effective Equipment Performance), which provides insights into the true capacity of your manufacturing operation. TEEP is calculated as OEE x Utilization. The flip side to TEEP is Hidden Factory, which is the untapped capacity of your manufacturing plant (the maximum amount of additional production that can be unlocked without capital investment). Make sure your OEE software also measures TEEP.

TEEP equals A times P times Q times U

Five Tips for How to Use OEE Software Successfully

1. Choose Simplicity

Complex systems are hard to use and hard to maintain – so people typically stop using them. We talk to many people who are unable to get the data or reports that they need from their system because it’s too complex. We also talk to many people who are determined to capture every bit of information in their OEE system and then are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data, which is usually quickly followed by problems with data accuracy because the focus is on quantity over quality.

Select an OEE software solution that provides you with easy access to your data. Measure OEE only at the constraint of each manufacturing process, define no more than 25 down reasons for operators, and use barcode scanners to make it easy for them to enter reasons. Make sure the software enables operators to scan reasons after the process has started running so they can focus on what is most important – getting the process running.

A good starting point for data is what we call the OEE gold standard, which is to measure OEE with an additional breakdown of OEE loss categories into the Six Big Losses and a detailed breakdown of OEE Availability losses into Downtime Reasons.

2. Create an OEE Rule Book

Using OEE rule books is especially important for larger companies. There are a handful of decisions that are very important to document and consistently apply across lines and plants.

The following decisions will affect your OEE score:

  • Will team break times be counted as planned production time? Most companies choose no.
  • Will changeovers be counted as planned production? Most companies choose yes (and should).
  • Are pieces that require rework counted as defects? Most companies choose yes (and should).

The following decisions will help correctly and consistently allocate losses between Availability and Performance but will not change your top-level OEE:

  • When is a changeover complete? Many companies choose when the first good piece is made. Others choose when the process is running.
  • What differentiates a small stop from a down event? Many companies choose to base this on a multiplier of the Ideal Cycle Time so the threshold appropriately adjusts with different parts and cycle times.

Even better – plan from the start to measure the Six Big Losses and establish rules accordingly.

Nine example rules, each mapped to one of the six big losses.

3. Establish Accurate Ideal Cycle Times

By far the most frequent problem we see when auditing OEE scores is inaccurately set Ideal Cycle Times. This can dramatically affect your OEE score. The problem often starts with companies deciding to use budget or standard times from their ERP system that are designed for scheduling and already include allocations for lost production time. The Ideal Cycle Time should have zero allocations for losses. It represents the absolute fastest speed that the process can run (sometimes referred to as the nameplate capacity or design speed).

Make sure your OEE software enables you to audit your Ideal Cycle Times by allowing you to easily compare the Ideal Cycle Time and Run Cycle Time with the granularity of each run event. Also verify that you can associate each part with a specific Ideal Cycle Time and that you are alerted if OEE Performance is greater than 100% for a given part run (a sure sign that the Ideal Cycle Time is set too high).

4. Set Achievable OEE Goals

Your OEE score shows you how close you are to perfect production. 100% OEE means you are manufacturing only good parts, as fast as possible, with no downtime. But on its own, your OEE score tells you nothing about what you need to improve and where you should focus. The true value of OEE comes from understanding and acting on the underlying losses: Availability Loss, Performance Loss, and Quality Loss. These losses tie directly to the Six Big Losses, which provide an excellent framework for understanding and improving productivity. Focus on addressing these losses and your OEE will improve naturally.

But there is another important step in the chain – establishing the right focus at the right levels.

Operators focus on what they can improve in the next few hours. Get the line to speed. Quickly react to down events. Meet the changeover target.

Supervisors focus on driving improvement across days or weeks. Analyze a problematic part. Set shift targets. Use data to be proactive – not reactive.

Leadership focuses on change that spans months or longer. Launch a project. Set goals. Compare investment to results.

Make sure to include all levels of your company right from the start. One approach is to apply a structured improvement process to your OEE project.

Graph highlighting that operational planning should be done at the shift level, tactical planning at the weekly level, and strategic planning at the monthly level.

5. Start with Your Shift Meeting

As soon as you are up and running with your OEE software, start using the data. A great place to start is improving the effectiveness of shift meetings by basing them on accurate loss information.

Make sure your OEE software includes built-in shift reports like the one shown below so you can get started right away, and that it allows you to modify those reports so over time you can continue to refine them to best match your needs.

Image of a shift report viewed on a tablet.

Start Your Free OEE Software Trial Today

The Vorne XL Productivity Appliance™ is a complete solution for production monitoring and performance management. It includes a full suite of OEE software – with every feature described and pictured on this page. Where XL is truly unique is that it enables you to get the full benefits of OEE software with an unmatched combination of low price, fast deployment speeds, large installed base, and depth of features. There are 35,000+ XL installations across 45+ countries and most started with a 90-day free trial. Schedule a webinar to learn more.

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