‘Thanks to OEEblue we work increasingly efficient and effective’

At Outokumpu quality is a verb

The Finnish company Outokumpu is European leader in producing stainless steel. A multinational with facilities in 30 countries of which one production facility in Terneuzen (The Netherlands). In January 2011 this factory won the much-wanted TPM Excellence Award. That was the crowning achievement of a continuous improvement process over many years. However leaning back was not the case: a lot of profit was still to gain. ‘The award gave us an enormous boost. Thanks to OEEblue we work increasingly efficient and effective.

Daily reports

Outokumpu2 coilsvoorraad

‘For quite some time the company results were good. But then the crisis came and hit everyone. We were forced to start working more efficiently, to look more closely to our processes and to use our machines to the optimal.’ says production manager Cees Luime. ‘Thanks to OEEblue we gained insight in idle times, or availability of our machines. Not just snapshots but daily reports, because that is the only way to know how the machine is actually performing. In the case of an idle time of more than three hours a breakdown analysis is carried through. An improvement plan will be formulated based on the Deming-circle.’

Win-win situation

The necessary steps have been taken internally, however the company also developed outwards. Frank de Meijer, vice president Terneuzen Operation: ‘The market has changed and we have changed too. Once we were a traditional offer-driven company. Nowadays we are working in a demand-driven way and anticipate developments in the market. The Key Management Indicator (KMI) emphasizes security, quality and reliability of delivery. Partly because of OEEblue we can now offer accurate delivery times. The customer can now rely on his supplier and reduce his own costs. A win-win situation.’

Early warning

‘From our head office in Helsinki we are emphatically controlled to apply Total Productive Maintenance within the organization’, so says Jurjan Bruins Slot, team coordinator Process Support Group. ‘This means: maintaining normal conditions by early signaling of irregularities and act pro-actively to them. Thanks to OEEblue our OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) is 13% to 14%. As a matter of fact in our company we call this OPE (Overall Plant Effectiveness), because we took a broader look on it: all losses are calculated, including lunch breaks, maintenance stops, training hours, breakdowns, etc.’

Results count

Every day we discuss about the quality results and possible breakdown analysis based on the data OEEblue generates. Recurring problems are analyzed in depth by kaizen, multi-disciplinary teams. In the end we decide how we can reduce set-up times of certain processes.’
Nothing is as motivating as concrete results and there is surely no shortage of that in Terneuzen: in 2006 a bit short of 400.000 tons were produced with four teams. Now the stakes are raised to produce the same amount with only three teams!

No more ghost times

So the management is satisfied and this too goes for the operators as the ones that work daily with OEEblue. ‘We have already performed manual OEE measurements for some time. That was not a very user friendly method and therefore de registration of losses were never 100% correct. In order to solve that we started using OEEblue along with RemoteCollect. At first this called for a lot of resistance amongst the operating staff, but now no one wants to go back.

The combination of RemoteCollect with a touchscreen is ideal, because now we have correct and accurate analysis. At last no more ghost times!’ – According to a satisfied operator.