Overall line efficiency, or OLE, is a metric used in a number of different manufacturing verticals. As an efficiency metric, OLE calculates both the quality and the quantity of product you generate, set against the time and resources needed to generate it. 

OLE is connected to overall equipment effectiveness, or OEE, which measures the productivity of equipment. Like OEE, OLE is expressed as a percentage. 

OLE takes OEE a step further to measure the efficiency of a complete process, or an entire plant, encompassing complex systems. It’s intended to monitor the efficiency of machines working in a series as part of continuous line manufacturing, unlike OEE which is aimed at tracking individual machines. Sometimes, OLE includes employee efficiency as well as equipment efficiency, since workers are also part of the production process. 

How does overall line efficiency help process manufacturing plants?

Manufacturing companies use OLE to describe the efficiency of multiple production lines and the way processes interact within a plant, in order to better understand and then optimize the entire production system. 

While OEE measures the efficiency of individual assets so that you can reduce waste and track progress on an item-by-item level, OLE accounts for entire processes to help manufacturing companies make better use of resources on a grander scale. OLE can be used for large, complex systems, up to and including entire plants, which makes it an important metric in the shift to industry 4.0

Process plants that optimize OLE as a KPI are able to: 

  • Analyze current process or plant efficiency and contrast it with potential efficiency 
  • Uncover troublesome patterns within processes and systems
  • Improve root cause analysis 
  • Optimize various sectors of production
  • Maximize the relationship between human resources and data to boost employee productivity 

How can process plants calculate OLE?

OLE relies on your ability to bring together data about all the equipment and employees involved in a given process or system. The first step is thus to integrate your data sources so all data arrives in a single repository. 

The data you need may include: 

  • Individual equipment OEE
  • Total manpower worked in a line or process
  • Total hours worked in a plant each day
  • Total product produced each day/week/month/quarter

There are slightly different formulae for calculating OLE depending on your vertical. In process manufacturing, the simplest way to calculate it is to add up the OEE of all the machines in the process, then divide the total by the total number of machines. 

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However, if you’re measuring OLE for a complex, multi-stage process that includes employee efficiency, the formula becomes more complex and requires complicated flow charts. For this reason, many plants use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to measure OLE. 

What are the benefits of OLE for process plants?

OLE is a vital KPI for plants that want to embrace industry 4.0 and move towards a leaner production model. With the help of overall line efficiency, process manufacturing plants can cut waste, optimize processes, and ultimately boost their competitive edge.