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Using Process Mining to Maximize OEE

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Process mining and OEE. Manufacturing equipment and processes depend on a number of factors to be successful, and these two tools will help you achieve that success.

Table of Contents

    OEE? Just what is that?

    First, a quick primer on OEE for anyone unfamiliar with the concept. Overall Equipment Effectiveness, or OEE, is a standard that measures manufacturing productivity. This is calculated by taking three metrics from the manufacturing floor:

    Quality: A ratio of the number of good products to bad products that come out at the end of the manufacturing process

    Performance: The speed at which these good products are created

    Availability: The overall up-time of the manufacturing equipment involved

    The OEE equation then turns these three statistics into a single percentage rating of your manufacturing efficiency. Facilities use this rating to determine the effectiveness and efficiency of their manufacturing processes as a whole. What you’re getting when you perform an OEE audit is a look at the end results of your production system.

    Questions to ask about your OEE

    Is the data you’re using to calculate OEE readily available when you need it? Or do you have to schedule downtime so the production team can collect the information you need?

    We’d wager the second scenario is more likely, since data on things like machine availability is generally only known to the people who fix that machinery when it breaks down. Meanwhile, it’s the QA department who have the knowledge about the quality of your products, and operations who are most likely to have the performance metric.

    That’s a lot of people to coordinate.


    Think about your current OEE number. Are you happy with it?

    Unless a facility is operating at 90% or better, there is probably room for improvement. How much of an impact would it make to your bottom line if you could stop relying on a cross-departmental group to collect the data you need to start calculating your OEE? Pretty huge, huh? This brings us to the meat of today’s article—how process mining can help you maximize OEE for your manufacturing business.

    Benefits of process mining in manufacturing

    Process mining is the use of data mining techniques and algorithms to map existing business processes. Most processes that involve IT systems (for example CRM, ERP) leave behind event logs on your network. Process mining simply uses these logs to map processes, giving you a visual representation of the production line from start to finish. This allows you to easily find and remedy any bottlenecks, gaps, or other sticky points in the manufacturing process.

    Process mining is a standalone technology that sits on top of, or if you like, in tandem with, your existing IT systems. Since it does not have to tax your infrastructure (logs can be dumped during off hours, for example), it won’t necessarily have any effect on production. Once the software is installed and configured, it’s a simple matter of running it against your event logs, and you’ll have your process maps.

    A short list of benefits will include:

    • Shorter lead times: By streamlining your inventory and stock processes, you can eliminate the bottlenecks often caused by inefficiencies in these systems.
    • Improved efficiency: By finding those bottlenecks quickly, you can eliminate redundancies and clear out extraneous steps.
    • Better use of manpower: With process mining, there’s no need for operations teams to take time away from their day to collect the data manually.
    • More effective process mapping: Since it’s automated, process mining can combine data from multiple systems into one visualization.

    For example, your inventory tracking system, your production management system, and your customer relationship management (CRM) system all have data relating to your production timeline. Process mining is a powerful way to see how these systems interact. This can allow you to see how the inventory system is causing delays in production runs, while at the same time a particular customer is late on their invoice every month, leading to further delays while you wait for this capital to come in.

    And all of these inefficiencies are lowering your OEE, but process mining can help bring it back up.

    Specific examples of how process mining can help you maximize OEE

    Help identify bottlenecks that delay production: Eliminating these bottlenecks will speed up your production time and can lead to fewer bad units being turned out.

    Speed up production processes by locating gaps: This one affects all three aspects of OEE: quality goes up if the gaps are causing flaws in manufacturing, performance goes up because every gap causes slow downs, and availability goes up because gaps can cause machinery to sit idle.

    Reduce inventory costs: By identifying when stock is needed, unnecessary spending as well as excess inventory sitting idle are eliminated.

    Identify flaws in your inventory system: Process mining may reveal that your vendors are not holding up their delivery commitments, thereby affecting your ability to finish a production run on time, and therefore affecting your performance metric when calculating OEE.

    Process mining and OEE are indeed made for each other. Or more accurately, OEE has been waiting for process mining to come along and complete it. Process mining can streamline your process data collection, cutting out the rote manual collection of days past. This in turn means your production line analysis will be quicker, cause less interruption in production, and raise your OEE rating in no time!

    Picture of Michal Rosik

    Written by Michal Rosik Michal Rosik is the Chief Product Officer & Product Visionary here at Minit. Check out his articles!