Utilize Metaphors When Training OEE One Snatch at a Time.


I have measured and trained Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) for decades, routinely using different concepts to construct its components; Availability, Performance, and Quality. One strategy used is connecting OEE with metaphors. Working with a group recently on the magnitude of several small losses that impact Availability, I elected to apply a CrossFit™ metaphor.


There is a CrossFit™ WOD (workout of the day) called Isabel. For those of you that have not done the Isabel WOD, it is 30 snatches (135 lbs. men/95 lbs. women) in the least amount of time. This is intended to be a fast WOD, getting your heart rate up and pushing through the potential sequences of bad form and non-structured breathing that would impact your total time to complete.


The metaphor applicable to OEE is around the events impacting one’s Availability between lifts. Consider the unit of measure to produce is a snatch, and Isabel’s instructions have you completing 30 of them. Consider you have demonstrated you can complete 30 snatches (we will assume a Power Snatch in this example) in 5 minutes or 300 seconds. This would equate to a performance rate of one snatch every ten seconds. Now let’s look at what is happening in those 10 seconds for each snatch. With the bar starting from the ground you have to place both hands on the bar, establish your body for the pull, pull the bar, get the bar overhead, achieve good finished form, lower the bar, and let the bar touch the ground. That’s one. Repeat for 30.


Most mortals can’t do this WOD unbroken, meaning that when the bar touches the ground, they must regrip the bar. If you have attempted a double-Isabel, you know there are even fewer individuals that can complete these 60 snatches unbroken. Instead, most mortal humans have to regrip, maybe even standing up for a second, stretching their wrecked back, take a deep breath, and then regrip. This is where the OEE losses occur because you are impacting your Availability. After all, you are delayed. You are not producing a snatch.


Now the OEE improvement metaphor focused on Availability within the sequence of events when placing your hands on the bar to begin the pull. Consider one option where you place your right hand on the bar assuring alignment to the right knurls. Sequentially followed, you then align your left hand to the left knurls before pulling.


Now think about a scenario of putting both hands down at the same time takes 2 seconds before a pull, whereas one hand at a time takes 4 seconds. So within Isabel’s 30 snatches, the time to place your hands one at a time takes 120 seconds, and simultaneously placing your hands takes 60 seconds. At 10 seconds per snatch, something as simple as rethinking how you place your hands can shave one minute off of your WOD and improve your OEE by 20%. Imagine you are in a competition doing Isabel. This one minute can separate being ranked in the 1st quartile or the 2nd quartile.


"Create a routine that incorporates breathing and visualization. Practicing this routine every lift will build strength physically, mentally, and emotionally. Approach the bar with attitude and purpose. Grip it and rip it.” - Scott Panchik

The aim of training OEE is to ensure the audience has metaphors that they can relate to, unlocking the magic that exists between Availability, Performance, and Quality. As a practitioner, having a bucket of metaphors applicable to your audience allows them to see the value in the performance measurement leading to innovative and creative ways to increase effectiveness.


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