OEE and SPC help food manufacturers optimize productivity and performance. When tracked consistently, these approaches reveal key metrics which can also promote compliance, improve safety, and drive efficiency across equipment and processes. Clara Gavriliuc, Ph.D., SafetyChain’s VP of Data Analytics, shares key insights into OEE and SPC below.

1 What is OEE and how is it calculated?

OEE stands for operational equipment efficiency. It is the best metric for tracking how efficiently a plant is producing. Measuring OEE allows manufacturers to identify losses, benchmark progress, and improve equipment productivity.

OEE is calculated by finding the product of three components: availability, performance, and quality. Availability is the planned production time, performance is the throughput in the ideal cycle time, and quality looks at the good units produced.

2 What is SPC and how does it improve productivity?

Statistical process control (SPC) is an approach for monitoring and controlling processes to ensure efficient operations. It promotes consistent conformance with specifications while minimizing waste, thereby improving overall productivity. SPC tools and procedures can help you monitor process behavior, uncover issues in internal systems, and find solutions for production issues.

3 How do OEE and SPC connect quality, safety, compliance and production teams in food and beverage?

Both OEE and SPC focus on monitoring and tracking quality. When put into context with SPC charts, OEE data delivers substantially more value for managing processes and decisions. Your throughput and performance can be optimized to drive OEE gains and ensure FSQA compliance based on the SPC data you collect.

4 Why should manufacturers track OEE and SPC as critical KPIs?

OEE and SPC key performance indicators (KPIs) provide operational data for informed decision-making. They can also alert personnel and management to predictive trends.

OEE helps to improve overall operational efficiency, decrease downtime, and manage product rejections due to quality issues.

SPC helps decrease variability, increase product quality, and ensure processes are running within the control limits, which impacts bottom line.

5 What is some advice for manufacturers looking to start OEE or SPC?

To implement OEE, start by defining your baseline and goal to accurately measure your performance. Automate as much as possible to unlock real-time, actionable data. In doing so, you’ll be able to adjust and impact your downtime, throughput, and quality as the product is being produced.

For SPC, start by managing the parameters that you have access to, such as runtime, speed, and temperature. Define your control limits. Use SPC to identify potential problems and then optimize your process.

Note that the specification limits are directly tied to production goals and don’t reflect how your process is performing — that’s why combining OEE and SPC gives you the best means of managing operations, quality, and safety.