TOOLKIT - How to assess the level of maturity of a factory and improve

March 11, 2024

Assessing the maturity of your factory and implementing improvements is an ongoing journey. By systematically evaluating operations, setting clear goals, executing action plans, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, you can significantly enhance your industrial operations. This toolkit serves as a starting point, offering a structured approach to maturity assessment and operational excellence.

1. Evaluate Current Operations

General Questions

> What percentage of your production capacity is utilized on average?

> How does your product defect rate compare to industry benchmarks?

1.1 Production lines

- Cycle Time: Time to complete a cycle of production.Formula: Total production time / Number of units produced.

- Capacity Utilization: Actual output as a percentage of total capacity. Formula: (Actual output / Maximum possible output) x 100.

Audit Focus

Efficiency of machinery, workflow, and labor utilization.


1.2 Quality Control

- First Pass Yield (FPY): Percentage of products meeting quality standards without rework.Formula: (Number of units passing the first inspection / Total units produced) x 100.

- Return Rate: Percentage of products returned by customers.Formula: (Number of units returned / Number of units sold) x 100.

Audit Focus

Inspection processes, standards adherence, and defect identification.


1.3 Maintenance

- Planned Maintenance Percentage (PMP): Planned maintenance activities as a percentage of total maintenance time.
Formula: (Planned maintenance hours / Total maintenance hours) x 100.

> Downtime: Percentage of time equipment is not available for production.
Formula: (Total downtime / Total available time) x 100.

Audit Focus

Preventive maintenance schedules, breakdown frequency, and repair times.


1.4 Supply Chain, Logistics

- Order Fulfillment Cycle Time: Time from customer order to delivery.
Formula: Total elapsed time to deliver orders / Number of orders delivered.

- Inventory Turnover: Frequency of inventory replacement in a period. Formula: Cost of Goods Sold / Average Inventory.

Audit Focus

Efficiency of procurement, storage, and distribution processes.



Average duration: 1-2 months.

Conduct a thorough audit of your production lines, quality control, maintenance, and supply chain logistics.Start with a detailed audit focusing on critical areas.

This step is foundational and should precede others, but it can run in parallel with Step 2 as you identify improvement areas.


- For single machine flow: Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) = (Availability * Performance * Quality), where each component is a percentage of the ideal.

- For multi-set or multi-station flow a digital twin or a simulation model is needed.


For lean manufacturing principles and benchmarking, visit Lean Enterprise Institute and The Manufacturer.

2. Identify Improvement Areas

> Where are the bottlenecks?

> Which processes have the highest error rates or waste? Which specific machine or process line has the lowest OEE?

> In which production area are the most defects originating?


Use data analysis to pinpoint inefficiencies and prioritize them based on impact.Average duration: 2-3 weeks.In the case of complex flows, the use of digital twins may be recommended to determine areas of improvement.This analysis should be conducted concurrently with Step 1's operational evaluation to swiftly move into goal setting (Step 3).


- Defect Density = (Number of Defects / Total Units Produced) to measure quality issues.


Six Sigma resources can be found at Six Sigma Management Institute Europe, or ASQ six sigma certification programs.

3. Set Improvement Goals

> What are realistic targets for improvement in efficiency, quality, and cost?

> What is the target OEE improvement percentage for the underperforming machines identified in Step 2?

> By how much do you aim to reduce the defect rate in the next quarter?


Average duration: 1 month.

Align goals with strategic objectives.Goals setting can start as soon as specific improvement areas are identified, allowing for a seamless transition into action planning (Step 4).


Explore several goal-setting frameworks to find the one adapted to your situation.

4. Develop and Implement Action Plans

> What specific actions will address the identified improvement areas?

> What are the steps to improve maintenance schedules for higher equipment availability?

> Who is responsible for implementing new quality checks?

> Who is responsible for each action?


Average duration: 3-6 months.

Create detailed project plans for each initiative, including timelines, resources needed, and responsible parties.

To do so, you may use prioritization frameworks, keeping in mind business impact, practicality and change management issues.Implement action plans while monitoring progress (Step 5).

Adjustments to plans may be required based on real-time feedback.


Project management methodologies can be studied at Project Management Institut. Explore prioritization frameworks and how to choose the adequate one here.

5. Monitor Progress and Adjust

> How will progress towards goals be measured?

> What feedback mechanisms are in place?

> How has the OEE changed month-over-month after implementing the action plan?

> Are defect rates decreasing as expected?


Use KPIs to track improvements and be prepared to adjust plans based on what the data shows.Continuous process with monthly review cycles.

Use real-time data for adjustments.


- Progress Tracking against KPIs set in step 3 to guide adjustments.


For dashboards and data visualization, consider tools like Tableau and Power BI. We recommend visualizing the current status and trends.

6. Foster a culture of continuous improvement

> How is continuous improvement encouraged among all employees?

> What training is provided?


Average duration: ongoing process with continuous feedback loops.

Implement programs that reward innovation and improvements.

Provide training on problem-solving and efficiency tools.

Encourage and reward employee suggestions.


- Suggestion Implementation Rate = (Implemented Suggestions / Total

- Suggestions) x 100.Suggestion Rate = (Total Suggestions / Number of employees) x 100.


Information on Lean and Six Sigma training for employees can be found at ASQ’s Learning Offerings as stated in section 2.

Dillygence may help

Dillygence has the capability to use its digital twin DispoX to accelerate the analysis in complex flows and/or multi-station production processes.

Factory Roadmap

This service addresses sections 1 to 4 above by providing a global analysis of the factory’s performance and a benchmark against state-of-the-art practices. In addition, the Factory Roadmap provides a high-level analysis and identification of the most impactful levers to drive necessary improvements and establishes a prioritized roadmap of workflows.

The report contains the following elements:

a) an assessment of the current factory performance

b) a comparison against industry standards

c) an analysis of performance gains

d) a list of actions that lead towards the target performance

e) an estimate of potentially incurred costs

Cost & Capacity Performer - C&C Performer

This service is complementary to the Factory Roadmap as it drills down to specific industrial targets. The C&C Performer service delivers a deep-dive analysis and a detailed roadmap to achieve the previously mentioned goals. It is designed to deliver maximum impact to significantly reducing costs and/or increasing production capacity, and/or increasing the productivity of your plant.

We focus on two dimensions in this work:

  • Adapting your production capacity: to meet your fluctuating production and yield objectives
  • Reducing your operational costs: to meet your target production cost


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