We asked the survey’s respondents to list the four words that best describe a successful OEE project in order of importance. We then displayed these in a Pareto chart to highlight the most issues. Asking for just four descriptive words forces the respondent to think very clearly about what they are going to say. George Bernard Shaw once apologised for the number of pages in an overly long letter, saying he didn’t have ‘time to write a shorter one’. Similarly, our survey demanded that its participants take the time to think clearly about how to express just a few concepts.
A screen grab from our OEE software
The single most important factor named in the survey was
This clearly demonstrates that, while things like technology, functionality and efficiency are important, they aren’t the vital issues. Instead these are things like what OEE means to the company in question, how it is adopted and how it will be used.
This focus on culture represents a real step forward for our industry. As little as five years ago a survey like this one would have generated very different answers. The respondents would have used words like ‘real-time’ and ‘flexibility’. These are important concepts of course, but they are secondary issues when compared to culture.
As a result, when we deliver an OEE project, we first address how the users and stakeholders define their goals and success criteria. We also try to prove to ourselves that the foundations of the correct culture are in place already. For instance, we walk the shop floor to see if lean and process improvement notice boards are in place and we talk very honestly with the client team about their plans.
We believe in this profoundly. In fact, we won’t start work with a new customer if the correct culture isn’t already sufficiently strong that it can be nurtured to support Overall Equipment Effectiveness.