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8 Steps for a successfulI OEE Implementation

Introduction to the 8 steps of OEE implementation

Details in your OEE implementation make the difference… Follow these 8 steps to get OEE correctly implemented. The steps will pay attention to every critical point. In this way OEE can serve as the basis for Continuous Improvement.

More than just a measuring tool

OEE, according to the description in the book ‘OEE for the Productionteam‘, is more than just a measuring tool; it is the foundation for improving effectiveness. In order to achieve this, a number of things must be arranged properly during implementation.

8 Steps do the job

You can proceed through the eight steps described one at a time. Once OEE has been implemented, you can carry out a critical step by step evaluation in order to determine if any improvements can be made to the measuring system.

Step 1: Select a (pilot) machine

Select the right machine to learn how it works and to show a success.

Step 2. Draw up OEE definitions

Without the right definitions, the right way to configure your OEE, you are not going to achieve improvement. Do it right from the beginning.

Step 3. Define and organize OEE data-collection

Whatever way you choose: you will need to collect the right data. Use this step right and you will engage those who need to be involved in order to improve.

Step 4. Train the team

Anyone involved by OEE, needs to have the right knowledge, attitude and skill. Not a big thing, but crucial if you want everybody on board.

Step 5. Collecting OEE data

After the first four steps you are ready to start: the data can now be collected.

Step 6. Processing OEE data

After the data come in, they are of little use if they do not lead to the right response. You will need to transform ‘data‘ into ‘information‘: Charts, reports etc.

Step 7. Give the operators feedback

At latest before the next shift, the team should receive the information they need to respond to. Without a fast and correct feedback loop, you will miss the desired change of behavior.

Step 8. Inform your management

Management needs relevant information to provide the means that are needed to improve the demonstrated situation. The team provides this information and expects the support of the leaders.

Each step will be explained in more detail in the next contributions.

(Source: OEE for the Productionteam buy here)

Book: OEE for the productionteam 2019 Arno Koch


Step 1. Select a (pilot) machine

Q: How to select a machine to implement OEE on?

  • Keep it simple: first and foremost, the goal of an initial OEE implementation is to learn how OEE works. Therefore, choose a machine that is easy to overview, with a minimum of different things happening.
  • Find the right team: a team that is eager to get improvements done is preferable to a ‘cannot/will not’ team.
  • Form a stable team: some machines seem like Grand Central Station, with different people operating them every day. Make sure that a fixed team is assigned to the machine.
  • Pair up a technical department staff member with the team: assign a permanent technician who knows the equipment and who will act as the contact person.
  • See to it that the pilot is a success: you only get one chance to make a first impression. If your first measurement is a success, you will have the opportunity
    to proceed. Keep in mind that the people waiting to see something new fail (‘I told you so!’) will always outnumber the people who are standing by to
    spontaneously pitch in to help you.

Pilot machines:
Implement OEE in the machine where success is guaranteed.
The next machines in line:
Implement OEE in machines where the focus of  the improvement strategy must be directed.

Step 2. Draw up OEE definitions

Q: How to define definitions for all the parameters within OEE in order to gain an overview on ALL hidden losses?

In order to be able to start the measurement, all sorts of things
must be defined clearly:

  • Machines: Which machine are we going to measure?
    Where does ‘the machine’ begin and end? Are we going  to measure all of the machines?
  • Time categories: What types of time are we going to  register?
  • Products/product groups: Are we going to track every article number, or will product groups suffice? Does it make sense to identify two identical products in different colors or with different labels separately in a loss registration?
  • Types of scrap: What types of scrap and rework are we  going to identify?
  • Define maximum speed: Each product/machinecombination can have its own maximum speed (the ‘standard’), depending on the capacity of the machine and the properties of the product.

The definition of the data to collect:

  1. stays the same as long as the machine exists;
  2. can change if the product or the machine changes fundamentally.

For the complete discussion surrounding the definition, please
see ‘The OEE Industry Standard

What is the hardest?

Because OEE compares the machine to a theoretical ideal, it is tempting to repeatedly claim that something is ‘impossible’ or ‘unrealistic’. However, that is not the question.

The relevant questions are: where are the losses; where is the potential improvement?

As long as the root cause of a loss is not investigated, it is impossible for you to know whether it can or cannot be solved!

  • Learn to stop accepting (potential) losses! 
  • Dare to make losses visible!
  • Stop saying ‘Yes, but…’!
  • Dare to think beyond the current reality (‘we will never be able to do that’)!
  • Never say ‘That is hardly realistic’ before you have carried out an in-depth investigation!!

In order to increase effectiveness:

Do not accept the situation as long as it is not ideal.

There are no excuses for not being ideal; there are merely causes of losses that must be eliminated!

Step 3. Define and organize OEE data collection

Q: What is the best way to collect OEE data?

  • KISS; (Keep It Short and Simple) Easy to understand, clearly organized. Make sure that the way the operator should collect the data is clear at a glance. Pay a lot of attention to the layout of your form or data-entry screen.
  • Avoid superfluous information, text etc.: consider why each letter and each line in the form/screen is necessary. When in doubt, leave it out!
  • Easy to use: Pay attention to the correct sequence. What is the most common? Put that first!
  • Involve the operator in filling out the data as a way to gain focus to the occuring losses. Do not even think about this as if it would be an IT problem!

KISS: Keep It Short and Simple…

Keep in mind that OEE and OEE data collection is supposed to encourage the operator’s involvement and understanding!

When setting up a new data-collection:

  • Consolidate as many as possible current registrations into this one form/screen: reduce the registration burden in order to gain support for the new registration method.

OEE registration will only gain support if the registration burden is acceptable.

Make it simple to use

Using a data collection form has the huge advantage you may start tomorrow. It is simple, cheap and effective.

The same should apply to OEE Software: Complexity is the enemy of effectiveness!

Example of an OEE registration form that might be enhanced in order to substitute all other current registrationforms:

OEE Registration Form Frontside

 Frontside of an OEE form: Collecting data about activities

OEE Registration form backside

Backside of an OEE Form: Collecting data about output

Guidelines using forms:

If you have done it right, the form will meet the following guidelines:

  • Filling out the form & calculating OEE takes one or two minutes;
  • Processing a form takes: 45 – 90 seconds.


Avoid the following pitfalls:

  • OEE form is one of six, or worse: it is yet another form in addition to the existing registrations;
  • No attention and support (the form is ‘dumped’ into the organization);
  • Seeing OEE as a hassle instead of an essential instrument: if OEE is regarded as something extra ‘on the side’ then you are missing the point!

Free download OEE Forms:

OEE Form – Easy OEE Registration Form on 2 side sheet

Step 4. Train the team

Q: How and who to train and instruct?

Instruct the team how to use OEE

 Instruct the production team

  1. Organize a kick-off meeting for the team led by someone who has OEE experience. Clearly explain ‘why OEE’.
  2. Make sure that every team member understands:
    • how OEE works in general terms;
    • how OEE is defined for the machine in question;
    • that OEE is ‘machine-oriented’;
    • that ‘standard’ is not the same as the old ‘norm’.
  3. Provide ‘on-the-job training’: the team might need help with filling in and processing the data during the first week.
  4. As trainer/supervisor, make sure that you find out what knowledge about the machine and process the team still needs, and adapt your training program accordingly.
  5. In order to be able to use OEE as a driving force for improvement, the users must fully understand the OEE.

Unfortunately, all too often we see that everyone in the company has ample opportunities for training, yet no time is set aside for the production team to undergo essential training. It is the management’s job to make time for this!

Step 5. Collecting the OEE data

Q: What is important when collecting OEE data?

Although collecting OEE data is just a small part of the OEE measurement, it usually gets a lot of attention. And unfortunately often in the wrong direction…

Do not try to exclude the operator

The most common (and biggest) mistake while implementing OEE is the assumption that;

  • Operators can not do this
  • Operators do not need to be bothered with this
  • Computers can do this without operator-involvement

Take into consideration:

  • You gave the operator the responsibility over a very expensive piece of equipment
  • It is the operator that actually generates the value with this equipment
  • The operator is the most present person near this equipment
  • And he actually presses the buttons.
  •   decides
  • Get started immediately after the kick-off meeting: directly applying the knowledge will help flesh out OEE.
  • Make sure that a coach is available during the first shifts to help the team get started.
  • Listen closely to comments: adapt the form or registration procedure if requested.
  • Provide immediate feedback: show the results of the first measurements right away!

Step 6. The Processing of OEE data

Q: After data has been collected, what is important when processing the OEE data?

Process data fast!

The collected data must be processed before the next shift commences. Ideally, this is done by someone who is closely involved with the process but who still has an overview of the various process steps, such as a line manager  or department manager.

Role Team-leader

A team-leader usually has a line or series of machines in his span of control. He has the overview of this section of the factory. Ideally he oversees a part of the value-chain: he sees how a problem in the beginning of the process influences the rest of the process.

This makes him the ideal partner to establish the communication between several parties:

  1. Operators collect the data
  2. Team-leader reviews the data
  3. Team-leader processes/aggregates the data; makes the ready to be used for feedback

In order to be able to do so:

  • Does he have access to the data at the end of the shift? Or even before?
  • Can he easily verify the correctness of the data?
  • And can he generate readable charts and reports?

In other words:

OEE data processing must generate maximum information

using a minimum registration burden.

Step 7. Give the shop floor team feedback

Q: Why and when should we give operators feedback?

OEE is primarily a ‘shop floor tool’

for creating awareness, focus and ‘ownership’.

This is what it is all about: Helping the production team gain insight into the existing losses.

How to give operators feedback

  • Use ‘visual techniques’: Diagrams that are easy to read, colored lines, etc. help make the information clear quickly. A good OEE cockpit is a must.
  • Offer information to the ‘next shift’: feedback is only useful if it is given immediately. The information goes ‘stale’ and becomes useless within a matter of days!
  • Discuss the information with the team: the goal of OEE is to cooperate in order to make the work easier and get it running more smoothly. The only way to do this is by addressing the right themes with each other.
  • ‘Ask “Why” 5 times’: Constantly look for the root causes of problems. What is behind every story and every problem? Take this advice literally: it will take five times why before you come close to the root cause!
  • Help the team find and eliminate losses (facilitate!).

A production team cannot be overloaded with work AND being expected to make improvements at the same time.

In order to gain a high yield from the OEE registration, fast information feedback is essential.

data ≠ information

Information: All of the signals to which people actually respond (preferably in the right way). The rest is ‘data’. Thick reports, pages and pages of spreadsheet numbers, all of those memos in your desk drawer:  most of that is just data!

When you reach an intersection, do you think to yourself, ‘What a quaint red light’, and go right through it? Data! Does the red light causes you to stop at the intersection? Information!

Step 8. Inform your management

Q: What is the role of the management in OEE? Why should we inform them?

The role of the management in OEE is to manage improvements in the organization. The production team can help by supplying management with the right information. This is why step 8 in the OEE implementation cycle is:

Inform the management

  • Show the improvements: facts and figures.
  • Even soshow the problems: again… Facts and Figures
  • Let management see the team’s power.
  • Show that it is possible to achieve high results at low costs. In order to gain a high yield from the OEE information, attention and support on the part of management are essential.

Implementing OEE: Team informs management


Management provides the requirements for improvement

Only when well informed, the management can provide the right means and conditions for Continuous Improvement.

In step 8, the communication between Team and Management is bridged. The team clarifies what is needed to perform their tasks in a better way. The team shows:

  • This is where we are
  • And this could be done different and better
  • To do so, we need ….
  • Could you please provide this?

Now the management can inform it-selves (and take a decision);

  • Do we understand the problem?
  • Does it makes sense to us?
  • Do we need additional information?
  • Can we support the request?
  • And can we explain why or why not?

NO is also an answer

The vast majority of requests will make sense and are worth while to support. However, sometimes there may be good reasons not to go along.

When this is being explained to the team, it will create a mutual understanding and the team will respect the decision. It sounds so obvious, however in real live I often see teams that simply can not understand why decisions are being made and what they can expect from their management…

Celebrate success!

Everybody likes to receive acknowledgment. A sincere compliment, being REALLY interested what is going on, listening carefully and ask relevant questions, and even challenging the team, can do miracles.

It’s for free and will add quality of life to everybody involved!

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