Tag Archives: OEE


A proper Asset Performance Management (APM) plan ensures that your critical revenue-producing assets operate smoothly, efficiently, and at or near their rated capacity.

Asset Performance Management is the broad, systematic planning and control of a physical resource throughout its operating life. It includes the specification, design, construction, operation, maintenance, modification, and ultimately, disposal. Its principles apply to any industry with mission-critical assets, and is best implemented with support from the top-down and bottom-up. The entire organization should be involved, and supportive to ensure that it is executed properly.

Methodologies used in APM

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Enabling Technology

A vital step in implementing an APM plan is establishing, tracking, and analyzing KPIs. This is what takes a maintenance plan from reactive to proactive. The close management of leading and lagging Key Performance Indicators helps increase the likelihood of driving measureable results without significant capital investment.

Important KPIs include:

Having the right technology tools are needed to measure and analyze this data. USC Consulting Group has helped clients optimize their existing tools or install computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), ERP systems, and USC’s own proprietary Lean Information Control System (LINCS) to ensure that this data is used effectively.

Benefits of Asset Performance Management

In addition to increased uptime, shorter turnaround times, greater throughput and lower maintenance costs, organizations have seen improvements in their EBITDA by 15-25%.

Learn more about how APM can improve the performance of your revenue-producing assets by downloading our eBook Asset Management: The Rise of Reliability.


Asset Performance Management: The rise of reliability eBook

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From the ground up, USC Consulting Group helps building material manufacturers solve their sourcing problems, fine-tune their operations and improve their bottom lines.

It all begins with a blueprint for success, developed and perfected by our experts and your in-house teams.

By starting with an optimization strategy, we set a strong foundation on which you can build a better-performing business.

We examine opportunities along the supply chain, from sourcing to scheduling, that can put you on sturdier footing.

We also use our knowledge of the industry to open processes in order to achieve greater throughput, yield, and OEE.

Our operational management specialists pay attention to every detail, no matter how small, and our clients take comfort knowing that we will implement the right strategies for continued improvement.

Every manufacturer is a special part of the whole to the Building Materials industry and we have worked with each to help reduce costs and improve productivity.


List of Building Materials Industry Manufacturers:



Want to put 50-plus years of consulting experience to work for you?  Contact USC Consulting Group today.


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Marketplace forces are transforming the pulp and paper manufacturing space, from mass digitization to the maturation of the paperless movement. Many have responded by reinventing their production processes in an effort to access alternative revenue streams and reduce overhead costs, which is particularly consequential as both lumber and sawlog prices continue to surge, according to research from Benzinga.

But how exactly are pulp and paper manufacturers trimming the costs of production? Here are some proven optimization strategies in use in the industry today:

1. Waste reduction

Pulp and paper manufacturing facilities generate a lot of waste. In fact, one researcher found that the average pulp and paper mill produces between 40 and 50 kilograms of dry sludge waste per ton of finished paper product. This byproduct creates considerable operational complexity. Companies must have hazardous waste workflows in place to properly dispose of industrial sludge, supporting infrastructure that greatly affects the bottom line. For instance, organizations must devote considerable resources to establishing processes that comply with Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. Of course, the very presence of waste, especially in great volume, indicates raw material disuse which carries its own budgetary implications.

In recent years, leading pulp and paper manufacturers such as the International Paper Company have turned their focus to reducing waste and the expenses that come with it. IPP implemented new milling techniques that allow production teams to incorporate once-wasted lose fibers into product mixes. The company also boasts robust recovery and reuse programs, which facilitate further reductions in waste. In 2017, IPP engineered a total wastage decrease of 9 percent. The pulp and paper powerhouse intends to reduce manufacturing waste by 30 percent within two years, with the larger goal of achieving zero wastage sometime in the near future.

2. Production optimization

Modern pulp and paper manufacturing facilities leverage fairly advanced production processes, but inefficiencies are still rampant – most notably, because of ineffective supply chain transparency, according to The Forest Trust. How are businesses in the industry addressing these issues? Production optimization via digitization.

Leaders in the space have put into place large-scale data collection programs wherein operational teams leverage industrial sensors and robust information processing, sharing and storage platforms to gather transformative shop floor insights. This data can anchor production improvements with serious bottom line-building potential. For example, one U.K.-based pulp and paper manufacturer increased annual revenues by 11 percent by rolling out a data-backed overall equipment effectiveness initiative, according to the Confederation of European Paper Industries.

3. Strategic sourcing

With raw material costs increasing, companies in the sector must embrace alternative procurement processes to keep overhead expenses under control. Strategic sourcing is perhaps the most effective method for accomplishing this lofty aim, which entails ensuring vendor contract adherence, conducting regular sourcing reviews, and forming relationships with multiple materials providers to achieve the best prices possible. These strategic sourcing practices allow pulp and paper manufacturing companies to keep the cost of production as low as possible, even as raw material prices increase.

Organizations in this niche industry must work quickly to reduce operating costs and build room into the budget to address rising raw material expenses. These strategies can make a significant difference by enabling pulp and paper producers to lay the groundwork for sustained success. But implementing such changes alone can be difficult. USC Consulting Group can help, leveraging decades of consulting experience to help firms in the space catalyze cost reduction.

Contact USCCG today to learn more about our work in the pulp and paper manufacturing space.


Overall equipment effectiveness is an essential key performance indicator for modern manufacturers.

For a multi plant manufacturer the use of OEE provides an opportunity for internal benchmarking of production processes.  At the plant level, it is a guide of where to focus resources to continuously improve and lower costs.

An ever-changing marketplace further reinforces the need for reliable production equipment, as today’s producers must cultivate agile yet dependable operations to survive. With these challenges in mind, manufacturing stakeholders often place great importance on OEE measures and encourage their teams to work as hard as they can to improve such metrics. However, the reliance on OEE has generated industrywide misconceptions surrounding the KPI, leading many manufacturers to operate with skewed views of the venerated performance standard.

Here are three of the most widely circulated myths about OEE:

1. ‘Elevated OEE figures are everything.’
Most modern operational stakeholders are conditioned to believe that high KPI readings signify success. This perception is based in reality, but some production leaders focus solely on the magnitude of the figure without considering it in context of an entire workflow, according to OEE expert Arno Koch. For example, an organization might implement effective maintenance and operational protocols that produce an OEE of 95 percent, a seemingly excellent mark. Production roadblocks arise, however, if downstream processes are not ready to receive product from an asset functioning at such an immense OEE.

Manufacturers must remember to contextualize OEE and strive for numbers that lay the groundwork for smooth operations. What might those metrics be? Koch said world-class workflows are buoyed by machines running between 35 percent and 45 percent of OEE. In short, manufacturing firms need not shoot for the stars.

2. ‘Firms unconcerned with raising output should stop focusing on OEE.’
On the surface, this reasoning appears to make complete sense. Why allocate considerable manpower, resources and time to elevating OEE when the production ceiling has been reached? Increased output is not the only benefit that accompanies improved equipment effectiveness. When production machinery operates more efficiently, production times drop, along with resource usage and maintenance demands. In the end, this leads to lower costs. And, in the event that production needs to scale upward because of increased market demand or expansion, the existing machinery is ready to support such growth, without a need to invest additional capital in new equipment.

Operational stakeholders should take this into account when considering OEE improvement efforts. Bolstering machine effectiveness is about far more than output.

3. ‘OEE improvement necessitates considerable CAPEX investment.’
Modern manufacturing leaders, most of whom manage firms with tight budgets, are often reluctant to embrace large capital expenditures. For this reason, many manufacturers simply move forward without addressing OEE, as they believe such efforts will come with significant costs. And sure, some organizations do spend a lot on equipment upgrades and other improvements meant to boost the effectiveness of their machines. However, this is not the only way.

Forward-thinking organizations looking to improve OEE often adopt lean principles in lieu of expensive mechanical upgrades. These workflows, which are popular among some of the most successful manufacturing companies in the world, help production teams pare down their workflows and implement continuous improvement efforts, both of which lay the groundwork for increases in OEE. Such firms also embrace digitization, installing cutting-edge back-end systems and equipment sensors that continually track machine performance and offer the data-based insights needed to make meaningful improvements.

Instead of committing to large-scale equipment investments, businesses in the manufacturing space can take more scaled-down approaches and improve the processes surrounding mission-critical production assets to drive higher OEE.

Is your organization interested in moving past these and other OEE myths, and implementing higher-performing production processes? Connect with the experts at USC Consulting Group. For 50 years, our operations management consultants have helped manufacturers grow their businesses and expand their footprints in the marketplace.

Contact us today to learn more about our manufacturing service offerings and expertise.

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The American manufacturing space has experienced considerable improvement in recent years. Producers have embraced data-driven processes and procedures designed to boost productivity and keep overhead costs down. The industry contributed approximately $2.2 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product in 2016, capping off four consecutive years of annual value-added figures above the $2 trillion mark, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. But this success is not a symptom of scale. More than 98 percent of U.S. manufacturing firms have fewer than 500 workers, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. More astonishingly, 3 out of 4 firms employ fewer than 20 workers.

How do American manufacturers account for more than 10 percent of the national GDP with such small staff rosters at their disposal? Operational optimization through continuous improvement. Almost 70 percent of domestic producers utilize lean manufacturing strategies to facilitate such an approach, Reliable Plant reported. These methodologies center on the collection and evaluation of key performance indicators, critical quality metrics that lend operational leaders insight into mission-critical workflows, giving them the power to spot deficiencies and make changes as quickly as possible. Only with this data can firms successfully navigate the modern marketplace where responsiveness reigns supreme.

There are numerous shop floor functions suitable for performance measurement programs. However, industry innovators and researchers have pinpointed several operational avenues that can provide data capable of driving continuous change and bolstering the bottom line. Here are some of the KPIs associated with these shop floor hotspots:

1. Total downtime

Downtime is a manufacturer’s greatest enemy. When mission-critical assets stop functioning because of mechanical issues, producers often lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, automakers lose an average of $22,000 per minute of downtime, according to research from Advanced Technology Services. A large number of modern manufacturers can’t survive such losses as most are already operating on razor-thin profit margins. This state of affairs makes the total downtime KPI an essential metric of quality. Gathering this data is relatively easy, but tracking it and exploring the operational variables behind it can have an immense impact.

Most producers pair this macro measurement with finer KPIs, such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) or changeover time, to form a more robust downtime picture.

2. Takt time

This versatile KPI – the amount of time it takes to complete a given task – works in numerous operational contexts. According to Food Manufacturing, plant supervisors can leverage takt time to track the entire product creation process and monitor the smaller functions that make up this total workflow. This allows for increased visibility and gives producers the power to institute minor tweaks in piecemeal to get the most out of their shop floors. Takt time is also one of the few KPIs that relates directly to the customer. These readings can show businesses where they stand in relation to customer demands centered on timeliness, even reveal upgrades that could quicken production processes and more effectively meet the needs of modern buyers.

On the surface this KPI may seem basic, but its versatility and connection to the customer experience make it an essential metric for even the most advanced manufacturers. Again, there are other KPIs that work well with takt time, including estimated time to completion and piece variance. These measurements relate directly to customer satisfaction and can therefore yield useable insights with transformative power.

3. First pass yield

The days of the single-use production line are over. To compete in today’s marketplace, manufacturers must be prepared to reconfigure their operations to meet changing volume demands or roll out new products altogether. This state of affairs makes first pass yield an essential KPI for modern producers. This metric measures the effectiveness of a given workflow during its initial run. Quality assurance personnel calculate the first pass yield by dividing the number of completed units requiring no rework by the number of total products produced. Using this figure, shop floor stakeholders can assess the overall efficacy of a new process and make changes to improve its productivity.

In the past, this KPI may have been something manufacturing leaders used only occasionally. But times have changed. With customer demands shifting so frequently, manufacturers must be ready to reorganize their processes and measure their effectiveness after reorganization. The first pass yield KPI makes this possible.

4. Mean time between failures

Manufacturers are only as reliable as the production equipment they have on the shop floor. This is why many organizations adopt preventive maintenance strategies with cutting-edge technology at their centers. More than 40 percent of manufacturers currently subscribe to this approach, while another 30 percent have gone one step further and embraced predictive maintenance, according to recent research from Plant Services. A majority of these maintenance-minded firms rely on the KPI mean time between failures (MTBF), which is the length of time a repairable asset will function properly after experiencing a major mechanical problem and before doing so again. This KPI gives maintenance teams a base line off of which they can schedule preventive activities.

Mean time between failures and related metrics, such as mean time to failure (MTTF) and mean time to repair (MTTR), help manufacturers evaluate overall asset reliability. With this information in hand, operational stakeholders can make incremental improvements to plant efficiency and productivity.

Manufacturing businesses looking to carve out space in today’s marketplace must focus on continually improving their workflows, as processes, not manpower, lay the groundwork for success. These KPIs give such enterprises the power to dive deeply into their operations and pinpoint deficiencies big and small that could be holding them back. Here at USC Consulting Group, we have been working with manufacturers for decades, connecting them with experts who can craft customized operational improvement plans designed to stimulate growth. Contact us today to learn more about our work in the space and how our in-house consultants can help your firm reach new heights.

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