SMART: definitions

Q: SMART: What is the correct definition? How does it relate to OEE?

How should we use SMART when improving the OEE?

Arno Koch •  Indeed different explanations can be found, particularly about the A and R part. Let me explain SMART in relation to improvement of OEE.

What is SMART?

SMART is an acronym giving criteria for goals or targets to be met. Usually you will find something like:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A – Accepted/Acceptable/Assignable
  • R – Realistic/Realizable/Relevant
  • T – Time-bound

SMART: Specific

If you ask your team to improve OEE from 45 to 55%, be specific: Are you sure this is your target?

Imagine the quality rate drops by 5% yet the performance rate goes up enough to compensate this AND achieve the 55%… Is the target now being met?

If the team decides to do less change-overs or to skip maintenance, the OEE will go up and they may meet the target. Is that what you want? Be Specific!

SMART: Measurable

Keep in mind OEE does only measure EFFECTIVENESS; it does not measure efficiency! So you may need secondary KPI’s to specify your real achievable’s!

An assumption is that when something can be measured, it also can be monitored. Unfortunately, as many OEE users know, having measured and collected the data, does not mean the information you need is  presented in a way it triggers the right response… Here the quality of your OEE software will be crucial.

Can you MONITOR the achievements?

SMART: Acceptable

To meet the target, the efforts and the conditions to meet the target need to be acceptable. Meaning: here you will define the conditions, the boundaries, the NoGo’s.

When raising OEE, ‘acceptable’could mean: Stock will NOT raise, No security and safety risks, no quality risks, no extra personnel, etc etc.

Acceptable also means: Conditions have to be met to get there. You can not ask to improve the OEE when the conditions to do so are not given.

A team running on 110% workload, can not be asked to invest time in a Kaizen activity. You can not ask for more safety, quality etc. when the team is forced to skip procedures by putting them under immense pressure.

SMART: Relevant

Warning: Do not attempt to discuss here whether something is ‘realistic’. In 1962 going to the moon was absolutely not ‘realistic’ to most of the people. In 1969 it was done. If that could be done more than 40 years ago …

Important to your team is to understand the RELEVANCE to achieve the goal. WHY do we need to go from 45 to 55% OEE? And why 55%? Why not 53% or 56,4%.

Explain your goal-cascade, inform the team about your policy deployment, your hoshin kanri efforts. People who know WHY they have to bring an effort will more likely do it when they know WHY!

SMART: Time-Bound

Time-bound is not just about setting a ‘deadline’. It is about having a time-line. A time-line is closely tight to a PLAN

  • What needs to be achieved when?
  • How can we follow up?
  • Is the team still on track?
  • Do they need help?
  • Can we celebrate some successes?
  • ….
Following this SMART definition might help 
to have a simple yet powerful framework to improve your OEE

See also:

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