Measuring Manufacturing Performance: 3 Commonly Used KPIs

There are many ways to measure performance in your manufacturing facility, but certain key performance indicators (KPIs) provide the actionable results you need for manufacturing process improvement. Also, when it comes to manufacturing operations management, some places are easier to begin than others.

From our experience as manufacturing engineering consultants, here are three commonly used metrics that most customers address in the beginning when evaluating manufacturing performance:

  1. Downtime: Measuring the number of downtime minutes and their associated reasons can be a very useful place to start because items that cause the most downtime on a line are obvious places to begin making improvements. Increases in downtime can indicate poor raw materials, poor operator training, or failing manufacturing components. Monitoring reasons and associated times can provide you with very valuable insight. A bar chart is a good visual for monitoring this KPI, since a bar chart can display both the number of times the event occurred and the number of seconds attributed to each downtime.
  2. Production Count, Both Good and Bad: Measuring the number of units produced is essential for manufacturing widgets of any kind but it should also be considered for batching and continuous processes. Like products, batches can also be good or bad. In the case of continuous processes like a blast furnace or refining, the product can eventually be tested for good versus bad and the pounds good versus pounds bad can be the KPIs. When the amount of bad product exceeds its desired limit, this could indicate raw material problems, poorly trained operators, machinery failures, etc. One useful method for displaying this information is a   gauge with the needle showing the percentage of good parts versus bad.
  3.  Production Rate: No matter what you’re producing, the speed at which you can make the product has a limit. Maxing out this value is probably not your goal because it could result in more breakdowns or products of undesirable quality. A gauge is an ideal way to show the production rate. By displaying the percent of target speed you can tell if the production rate goal is being reached.

These KPIs are among the most easily captured and most common in manufacturing process control.  With the manufacturing intelligence tools available today, you can create a live dashboard to give the manufacturing operations management team immediate and current access to what’s happening on the plant floor so they can make informed decisions about process and procedural changes.  Data also should be captured and stored in a database for later review and more in-depth analysis to increase plant efficiency and throughput.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our manufacturing operations management capabilities and manufacturing process control solutions, contact Stephen M. Goldberg is Senior Project Engineer, Manufacturing Systems & Solutions, (419) 897-7200 x 302.

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