How tissue converters use OEE to improve production and profitability

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As technologies and machinery advance, optimizing production is a critical goal for toilet paper and paper towel manufacturers. Measuring success against that goal requires a formulaic approach and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) has emerged as a leading key performance indicator.

OEE measures three metrics of the manufacturing process: availability (downtime), performance (production speed), and quality (products meeting standards). The measurements are translated into percentages, and the percentages are averaged to obtain the efficiency of the equipment in the manufacturing environment.

By understanding the theoretical capacity of equipment in such a manner, managers can make the appropriate adjustments to match production demands. In the event production demands aren’t being met, the level of OEE is also an indicator of the reason behind the shortfall. If OEE is low, equipment effectiveness is the cause. If OEE is high, then capacity is the likely issue — more valuable information managers can use to get production on track.

Simple changes, significant results

Knowing the OEE percentages, where they fall on the production continuum, and what it means to tissue converting production is pointless unless decision-makers are prepared to turn the insights into action.

Making a consistent effort to monitor and improve OEE percentages can drive simple yet time- and cost-efficient changes on the production line by:

  • Focusing on preventive maintenance
  • Eliminating inefficiencies, including cutting required and unplanned outages for tissue converting equipment
  • Reducing common causes of equipment failure such as unaddressed warning signs, and ultimately extending equipment life 

This isn’t to suggest that 100% OEE is the goal as it sets unrealistic expectations: perfect parts produced as quickly as possible with no unscheduled downtime. Instead, OEE of around 60% is an achievable average, with world-class OEE considered 85% or better.1  

Leveraging OEE

The importance of OEE in tissue manufacturing is sometimes overlooked and often underestimated. To leverage OEE in your operation:

  • Establish a machine-level performance baseline to have metrics to measure against for each piece of equipment. The insights can be used separately to evaluate OEE for individual machines, and collectively to scale the OEE metric across production lines.
  • Combine OEE with real-time monitoring to determine preventive maintenance schedules to identify and address early indicators of equipment malfunctions that might otherwise lead to costly repairs and/or line shutdowns.
  • Scale OEE to support larger production goals by using OEE data to compare line throughput and improvement opportunities, stabilize production levels by machine and plant-wide, and quantify ongoing manufacturing reliability.
  • Tie OEE improvements to tangible performance and business goals in order to reinforce how OEE influences outcomes related to production, costs, and revenue. 

Tissue converting operations armed with OEE knowledge can readily speak to how each machine contributes to outcomes, and how OEE improvements shape short- and long-term business plans. Contact Valmet today to learn more about OEE and how you can use it to achieve your production, revenue, and cost goals.