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Don't Get an Immediate Consensus on Where OEE Delays Get Bucketed. Save That For Later.

Are you interested in starting to measure effectiveness with Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) on a production unit? To start, I would recommend not getting initial alignment on the categorization of delays and which bucket they belong to. Many would think this is crazy. I have had team members argue with me the same thing that readers are thinking right now, That is just dumb. You have to build a team to look at current delays and allocate them to the right Availability loss bucket. I would counter, with a simple “Nope.” Here's why.

The personal transformation of OEE always starts with the “ah-ha” moment when witnessing the calculation of Performance for the first time. I have seen thousands of people trained on OEE, and I chuckle like a school kid when I see the strong operator sink in their chair during the presentation of the Performance calculation. It might follow with a few choice words under their breath, shocked by the simplicity and calculations fundamentals. Then after this sinkage in the chair, the strong operator, the leader we want running our operating units, sits up tall and curiously thinks to themself, I can’t hide from this performance indicator. Why have I not seen this before?

This production unit leader goes into a mindset of eagerness to solve the riddle or strives to understand how the magician just did this magic trick. The unknown peeks their attention. It forces them to engage for the remainder of the presentation to clarify parts of the calculation. After this training, it transitions from a state of rebuttal to a more thorough investigation of the calculation. This is followed by the leader and their team to thoroughly investigate the calculation with their data versus the theoretical data that was presented. It’s becoming a game at this point, an investigation of how their production unit stacks up and the benchmarkable attributes. Their mind may even drift into ways that the leader could cheat the calculation. But don’t fret.

They realize that they can’t cheat. The initial hunch during the presentation of I can’t hide has been proven true. They realize that if they delete a delay, their Performance calculation is impacted because they don’t have production to offset with a delay. It might even drift here into a mindset of, is this a trap? But soon, the leader will give up on their pursuit of finding ways to circumvent this unveiled calculation of effectiveness and instead reflect on how they and their team impact the calculations. Within this moment of the vulnerability of a slight knick in their armor to measure the effectiveness of their responsibilities, they will have seen the value that it unlocks.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. - Peter Drucket

This leader then goes immediately into the details of the Availability calculation, because they realized that the Performance calculation is influenced by their product mix, functional failures, and delay modifications. Additionally, they realized that it is more complicated to explain Performance versus Availability, so they immediately become engulfed with the Availability calculation, because they realize that I have control over the Availability.

This pursuit of getting to know Availability better leads them to the delay buckets. Looking at their delay reasons applicable to their production unit, they see how they have been “bucketed.” Within these delay reasons, they realize there are a variety of small errors. Not grotesque ones, but small ones that slightly move a delay reason from Unscheduled Downtime, to Scheduled Downtime or even Idle Downtime. They realize that they have control over this. ANd to accompany this control, it also dawns on them that they can use this information to justify projects, report out on effectiveness, and measure their demonstrated capacities.

From here, the leader, who has transitioned from their “ah-ha” moment to Availability loss buckets, revises the buckets. They hone their delays accurately, most likely making some new ones, and have embraced the delays categorization and ability to impact the measurement of their operating unit’s effectiveness.

Learning is an active process. We learn by doing. Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind. - Dale Carnegie

At this moment, the activity of not getting alignment, in the beginning, has revealed its true intention. The operator has embraced the calculation, and most importantly, they have realized that they own the data. It is now their data that shows the information needed to make more effective business decisions. And when the leader takes ownership of the data, this is when the change begins.


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