Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), is one of the most commonly used terms in manufacturing operations and excellence, and it has been this way for quite some time. It is the gold standard for understanding how your manufacturing operation is performing compared to its theoretical ideal performance. It breaks down into availability, performance, and quality to help understand, and diagnose where the inefficiencies or blockers are in your operations. The one key defining factor of OEE however is that it really is a measure of your equipment, and does not let you fully understand your workforce or human capital. 

OLE measuring the process quality, time to produce and sequence of work

Given recent trends globally and specifically in manufacturing, now more than ever is it important to focus on our workers and best understanding their capabilities. Recent studies show that the workforce is significantly aging, with more than half of all workers estimated to be aged over 50 as of the end of 2021. That means most manufacturers will have to do more with less, and then also work to retain the talented workforce they do have. As the facilities, tools, and robotics all become more complex, it is actually more important for effectiveness of the workforce, as they are now more often the roadblock for a successful day. We suggest a major trend to shift towards measuring not only OEE, but OLE (Overall Labor Effectiveness) in manufacturing facilities for operations to really exceed performance. The same basic concepts apply here, except that in this situation we are now focusing on the availability, performance, and quality of the workforce. 

Iterate Labs' industrial smartwatch that measures the OLE of the workforce in real time

Luckily, for the first time ever, with new tools such as the Iterate Labs’ industrial smartwatch and computer vision applications, we can measure the OLE of our workforce in real-time. Of the 3 factors in the equation, the availability of the workforce is a global issue, with turnover and absenteeism being higher than ever before, not to mention risk of injuries still being prevalent. Performance or output of the workforce, is another large variable, with our customers alone seeing large variations of up to 30% in output per worker, and even larger variations in cycle time throughout the day. Lastly, on worker quality, it can be tough to maintain high quality and yield when turnover, pain, and injuries are impacting your workforce on such a dramatic level. Additionally, every worker is incredibly unique, and a standardized training can not fit some workers as well as others. Personalized training, equipped with real-time analytics has the ability to train workers better than ever before, and to ensure high quality levels once workers reach the factory floor in full production. 

At the end of the day, the workforce is the life blood of the factory, and we need them to be united with the equipment, tools, and machines they work with. By finally tying OLE into the equation, we can improve our overall production, and safety levels in our factories. Our smartwatch technology is the first ever AI-powered connected worker platform that unites the worker in real-time with production and safety goals on the factory floors. 

Stay tuned for our upcoming blogs on gamification and workforce turnover.

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