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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Overall Equipment Effectiveness Boost in Aerospace Manufacturing


Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Overall Equipment Effectiveness to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: An aerospace components manufacturer in North America is grappling with suboptimal Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) scores, impacting its competitive edge in a high-stakes market.

With a recent uptick in demand for aerospace parts, the manufacturer is struggling to meet production targets due to frequent equipment breakdowns, unscheduled maintenance, and production bottlenecks. Inefficiencies have led to increased cycle times and cost overruns, eroding the organization's profitability and threatening its long-term contracts with key industry players.



In reviewing the situation at the aerospace components manufacturer, there are several hypotheses that could be underlying the OEE challenges. One possibility is that the maintenance schedules are not aligned with the actual wear and tear of the equipment, leading to unexpected breakdowns. Another hypothesis could be that the operator training is insufficient, resulting in subpar performance and extended machine setup times. Finally, it might be that the existing data collection and analysis systems are inadequate, preventing the organization from identifying and addressing inefficiencies effectively.

Strategic Analysis and Execution Methodology

This aerospace manufacturer's path to OEE improvement can be mapped out through a comprehensive five-phase methodology, which is akin to those employed by top consulting firms. The benefits of such a structured approach include a systematic diagnosis of issues, strategic planning, and execution that aligns with the company's long-term goals, leading to sustainable OEE improvements.

  1. Assessment and Benchmarking: Begin by assessing current OEE levels and comparing them with industry benchmarks. Key questions include: What are the current performance metrics? How do they stack up against competitors? Activities involve data collection, operator interviews, and process observations. Insights about specific performance gaps are expected, along with an understanding of the variance in performance across different shifts or lines.
  2. Root Cause Analysis: Delve into identifying the underlying causes of inefficiencies. Key questions include: What are the main drivers of equipment downtime? What process inefficiencies contribute to lower OEE? This phase includes detailed data analytics, equipment logs review, and employee feedback sessions. Anticipated insights revolve around maintenance issues, operator errors, or systemic process flaws.
  3. Strategy Development: Craft a tailored strategy for OEE improvement. Key questions include: What changes are needed in maintenance schedules? How can operator training be enhanced? Activities in this phase include developing a plan for predictive maintenance, redesigning training programs, and optimizing workflows. The interim deliverable is a comprehensive OEE improvement plan.
  4. Execution Planning: Prepare for the implementation of the strategy. Key questions include: What resources are required for execution? How will changes be communicated and monitored? Activities focus on resource allocation, setting timelines, and defining success metrics. The challenge often lies in aligning cross-departmental efforts and ensuring adequate change management practices are in place.
  5. Continuous Improvement and Control: Implement the strategy and establish mechanisms for ongoing improvement. Key questions include: How will the impact of changes be monitored and sustained? How can a culture of continuous improvement be fostered? This phase involves the rollout of new processes, training sessions, and the installation of real-time OEE tracking systems. Typically, organizations face challenges in maintaining momentum and employee engagement throughout this phase.

Learn more about Change Management Strategic Planning Continuous Improvement

For effective implementation, take a look at these Overall Equipment Effectiveness best practices:

Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) (139-slide PowerPoint deck)
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) - Implementation Toolkit (Excel workbook and supporting ZIP)
Overall Equipment Effectiveness With Waterfall Charts (Excel workbook)
PSL - OEE Case Study (59-slide PowerPoint deck)
Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Toolkit (233-slide PowerPoint deck)
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Overall Equipment Effectiveness Implementation Challenges & Considerations

When considering the shift to a predictive maintenance model, executives often question the initial investment and ROI. The transition requires upfront capital for advanced analytics tools and sensor technology but promises significant cost savings by preventing unscheduled downtime and extending equipment life.

The integration of real-time OEE tracking systems can raise concerns about data overload and analysis paralysis. It's crucial to ensure that the systems are user-friendly and that the data is actionable. This often involves establishing clear data governance protocols and providing training on data interpretation and decision-making.

Adopting a new OEE strategy can lead to resistance within the organization. It's essential to anticipate this and develop a robust change management plan. This involves clear communication of the benefits, addressing concerns, and involving employees in the process to foster buy-in and ownership of the new practices.

After fully implementing the OEE improvement methodology, the aerospace manufacturer can expect a reduction in equipment downtime by up to 30%, an increase in production throughput by 20%, and a potential improvement in profit margins by 5-10%. These quantifiable results stem from more efficient equipment utilization, streamlined processes, and enhanced operator performance.

Challenges in implementation could include aligning the organization's culture with a new focus on proactive maintenance, ensuring adequate training for operators to adapt to new technologies, and overcoming the inertia of existing processes.

Learn more about Data Governance

Overall Equipment Effectiveness KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


In God we trust. All others must bring data.
     – W. Edwards Deming

  • Equipment Availability: Measures the percentage of time equipment is ready for production; higher availability indicates better maintenance and scheduling.
  • Performance Efficiency: Assesses whether equipment operates at its maximum speed when it is running; improvements reflect better operator training and workflow optimization.
  • Quality Rate: Evaluates the proportion of products that meet quality standards without rework; an important metric for assessing the effectiveness of operator training and precision of equipment.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

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Implementation Insights

Through the execution of the OEE improvement methodology, it became evident that employee engagement is pivotal. A McKinsey study found that organizations with high employee engagement report 22% higher productivity. In the case of the aerospace manufacturer, involving operators in strategy development and problem-solving sessions led to a more motivated workforce and innovative ideas for process improvement.

Another insight pertains to the critical role of cross-functional collaboration. According to Deloitte, companies that promote collaborative working are 5 times more likely to be high-performing. By establishing cross-departmental teams focused on OEE, the aerospace manufacturer saw a breakdown in silos and a more cohesive approach to problem-solving.

Learn more about Strategy Development Process Improvement Employee Engagement

Overall Equipment Effectiveness Deliverables

  • OEE Improvement Plan (PowerPoint)
  • Equipment Maintenance Schedule (Excel)
  • Operator Training Program (PDF)
  • OEE Dashboard and Reporting Tool (Software)
  • Change Management Communication Plan (Word)

Explore more Overall Equipment Effectiveness deliverables

Overall Equipment Effectiveness Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Overall Equipment Effectiveness. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Overall Equipment Effectiveness subject matter experts.

Overall Equipment Effectiveness Case Studies

A leading aerospace manufacturer implemented a comprehensive OEE improvement program that resulted in a 25% reduction in machine downtime and a 15% increase in production output. The program included a shift to predictive maintenance, operator retraining, and the implementation of real-time monitoring systems.

Another case involved a chemical processing company that adopted an OEE-focused operational excellence initiative. By optimizing equipment maintenance schedules and improving operator workflows, the company achieved a 40% reduction in unplanned maintenance activities and a 10% increase in production capacity.

Explore additional related case studies

Alignment of OEE Initiatives with Broader Business Objectives

Effective integration of OEE improvement initiatives within the broader strategic objectives of the organization is critical. A study by PwC indicated that companies that align their operational metrics with their strategic goals are 1.5 times more likely to report strong financial performance. For the aerospace manufacturer, this alignment ensures that OEE efforts contribute directly to customer satisfaction, on-time delivery, and market share growth. It is not merely an operational exercise but a strategic imperative that is communicated from the C-suite down to the shop floor.

Furthermore, the strategic alignment involves setting OEE targets that are realistic and reflect the manufacturer's growth trajectory and market conditions. It necessitates a careful balance between ambitious performance goals and achievable targets that motivate rather than discourage the workforce. Continuous monitoring and recalibration of these targets ensure that the OEE initiatives remain relevant and closely tied to the dynamic aerospace market demands.

Learn more about Customer Satisfaction Shop Floor

ROI Justification for OEE Improvement Investments

Investments in OEE improvement, such as advanced analytics and IoT for predictive maintenance, require a clear understanding of the expected return on investment (ROI). According to Bain & Company, companies that excel in OEE can expect to see a 20-30% reduction in maintenance costs. When presenting the case for these investments, it is essential to articulate the direct link between improved OEE and reduced cost of goods sold (COGS), as well as the indirect benefits such as increased capacity for innovation and new product development.

Moreover, the ROI should be framed not just in terms of cost savings but also in the potential revenue uplift from improved product quality and faster time-to-market. For example, if the OEE improvements lead to a 10% increase in production throughput, this could translate to a significant increase in sales revenue, assuming there is market demand for the additional output. Thus, the ROI calculation must encompass a holistic view of both cost and revenue impacts.

Learn more about Return on Investment New Product Development Product Development

Sustaining OEE Improvements Over Time

Sustaining improvements in OEE is often more challenging than the initial implementation. A report by McKinsey highlights that approximately 70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support. For the aerospace manufacturer, sustaining OEE improvements will require creating a culture of continuous improvement and embedding OEE metrics into daily operations. This includes regular review meetings, recognition programs for teams that achieve OEE targets, and ongoing training and development.

Additionally, sustainability is achieved through the use of technology to provide real-time feedback to operators and maintenance personnel. The implementation of OEE dashboards that are accessible on the shop floor can foster a sense of ownership and immediate response to emerging issues. By empowering employees with the right tools and information, the organization can maintain the momentum of its OEE initiatives and continuously drive performance improvements.

Scalability of OEE Improvements Across Different Sites

Scalability of OEE improvements is a concern for executives, especially in organizations with multiple manufacturing sites. According to Accenture, only 30% of companies are able to scale digital pilot projects to the broader organization successfully. The key to scalability lies in standardizing the OEE improvement process while allowing for local customization based on site-specific conditions. This involves establishing a common framework for OEE measurement, sharing best practices, and fostering a network of site champions who can adapt the core principles to their unique environment.

In addition, leveraging technology platforms that can be rolled out across multiple sites is essential. Cloud-based OEE analytics tools that offer a consistent user experience but can be tailored to local requirements enable a more seamless scaling process. By taking a strategic approach to scalability, the aerospace manufacturer can ensure that OEE improvements contribute to a competitive advantage across its entire operation, not just at individual sites.

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Reduced equipment downtime by 30% through the implementation of a predictive maintenance model, leading to improved production throughput and cost savings.
  • Increased production throughput by 20% by optimizing workflows and enhancing operator training, resulting in streamlined processes and better equipment utilization.
  • Improved profit margins by 5-10% due to more efficient equipment utilization, streamlined processes, and enhanced operator performance.
  • Established a culture of continuous improvement and cross-functional collaboration, leading to a more motivated workforce and cohesive problem-solving approach.
  • Challenges in aligning the organization's culture with a focus on proactive maintenance and ensuring adequate training for operators to adapt to new technologies were encountered.

The initiative has yielded significant improvements in equipment downtime, production throughput, and profit margins, aligning with the expected outcomes outlined in the report. The successful reduction in equipment downtime and increase in production throughput can be attributed to the implementation of a predictive maintenance model and optimization of workflows. However, challenges in aligning the organization's culture with a focus on proactive maintenance and ensuring adequate training for operators have hindered the initiative's full potential. To enhance outcomes, a more robust change management plan and additional focus on cultural alignment and training could have been beneficial.

For the next steps, it is recommended to conduct a thorough review of the organization's culture and develop a comprehensive change management plan to address resistance to proactive maintenance. Additionally, a focus on ongoing training and development for operators to adapt to new technologies will be crucial in sustaining and enhancing the initiative's impact.

Source: Overall Equipment Effectiveness Boost in Aerospace Manufacturing, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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