What Are the Most Important Manufacturing KPIs? 

What Are the Most Important Manufacturing KPIs? 

By Marta Teneva

October 16, 2023

In the competitive landscape of modern manufacturing, executives understand that simply maintaining efficiency isn’t enough—it’s about mastering it to achieve industry leadership.  

Decision intelligence requires a sophisticated understanding of performance metrics that go beyond the surface. Manufacturing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) provide the foundation for these insights. 

However, with a plethora of metrics at hand, distinguishing which KPIs are truly transformative can set industry leaders apart. 

To help you with that, here’s a list of 10 KPIs every manufacturing executive should prioritize to drive operational excellence and strategic growth.  

Top 10 Manufacturing KPIs 

1. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) 

Definition: Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) measures the efficiency and effectiveness of a machine or set of machines. It is a composite metric of availability, performance, and quality of machines during production. 


Overall Equipment Effectiveness

2. First Pass Yield (FPY)  

Definition: First Pass Yield determines the percentage of products produced that meet quality and compliance standards without rework. 


first pass yield

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3. Cycle Time 

Definition: Cycle time is the time required to complete one cycle of an operation or produce one unit from start to finish. 


cycle time

4. Scrap Rate

Definition: Scrap rate represents the percentage of materials discarded during or after the manufacturing process due to defects or excess. 


Scrap Rate KPI

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5. Inventory Turnover 

Definition: Inventory turnover indicates how many times a company’s inventory is sold and replaced over a specific period. 


inventory turnover

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6. Machine Downtime Rate 

Definition: Machine downtime rate captures the percentage of total time a machine is unavailable or non-functional, affecting production efficiency. 


Machine downtime Rate

7. On-time Delivery Rate 

Definition: On-time delivery rate evaluates the percentage of orders or shipments delivered to customers on or before the promised date. 


On-time delivery rate KPI

8. Capacity Utilization Rate 

Definition: Capacity utilization rate shows how much of the manufacturing operation’s total capacity is being used at a given time.


Capacity utilization rate KPI

9. Return on Assets (ROA) 

Definition: Return on Assets (ROA) measures how effectively a company’s assets are being used to generate profit.


return on assets KPI

10. Production Cost Per Unit 

Definition: Cost per unit indicates the total cost to produce one product unit, considering materials, labor, overhead, and other related expenses.


production cost per unit KPI

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Manufacturing KPIs FAQs 

What is a KPI in manufacturing? 

A KPI, or Key Performance Indicator, in manufacturing serves as a measurable value that indicates the effectiveness of various processes within the manufacturing operation. KPIs are essential for setting objectives, measuring performance, and identifying areas for improvement. They are often classified into different categories such as productivity, quality, efficiency, and compliance, among others. Monitoring the right KPIs provides valuable insights into the performance of both individual operations and the overall manufacturing system, aiding in timely decision-making and long-term strategic planning. 

How do you measure manufacturing productivity? 

Manufacturing productivity is commonly measured by comparing the output produced to the inputs used within a specified time frame. Inputs may include labor hours, materials, and capital, while output typically refers to the number of units produced. The simplest formula is Output/Input, but more complex metrics might involve calculations like „Output per Labor Hour“ or „Units Produced per Material Cost.“ Advanced analytics tools can further break down productivity metrics into specialized KPIs like First Pass Yield or Cycle Time to provide a granular view of where improvements can be made. 

What is the OEE score for manufacturing? 

OEE stands for Overall Equipment Effectiveness, a comprehensive metric used to evaluate how effectively a manufacturing operation is utilized. The OEE score is calculated by multiplying three separate metrics: Availability (the ratio of Run Time to Planned Production Time), Performance (the ratio of Net Run Time to Run Time), and Quality (the ratio of Good Units to Total Units). The OEE score is usually expressed as a percentage, with 100% representing perfect production—no downtime, no defects, and as fast as possible. OEE is a crucial KPI for identifying losses, benchmarking progress, and improving the efficiency of manufacturing equipment and processes. 

What is good manufacturing efficiency? 

Good manufacturing efficiency is relative to industry standards, the type of production, and specific organizational goals. However, achieving an OEE score above 85% is generally considered world-class for discrete manufacturing, although this might not be feasible for all industries or processes. Besides OEE, other metrics like Cycle Time, First Pass Yield, and Inventory Turnover Rate should also be considered for a well-rounded view of manufacturing efficiency. The key is to focus on continual improvement, using historical data and analytics to set realistic targets and measure progress consistently. 

What is productivity versus efficiency in manufacturing? 

In manufacturing, the terms „productivity“ and „efficiency“ are often used interchangeably, but they represent different aspects of operational performance. 

Productivity is a measure of output produced per unit of input within a specified time frame. In simpler terms, it’s about „how much“ is produced. The focus is on maximizing the volume of output for the amount of resources (like labor, time, or materials) employed. Common productivity metrics include units produced per labor hour or output per unit of material. The primary goal of measuring productivity is to assess the rate at which products are being made, which is critical for meeting production goals and maintaining profitability. 

 Efficiency, on the other hand, is concerned with „how well“ the resources are being used to produce output. It’s not just about the volume but the value. An efficient manufacturing process minimizes waste—be it in terms of time, materials, or labor—without compromising on the quality of the final product. Metrics such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) or First Pass Yield are commonly used to measure efficiency. The objective here is to optimize processes to get the most value from the least amount of resources. 

Overall, productivity focuses on the quantity of the output, while efficiency emphasizes the quality of both the output and the process. Both are important for a well-balanced and optimized manufacturing operation. Understanding the subtle difference between these two can help manufacturers make more informed decisions for continuous improvement. 

Track the Right Manufacturing KPIs with B EYE 

Navigating the world of manufacturing KPIs is both an art and a science. Since 2012, B EYE has been a trusted partner of Global Fortune 500 companies, bringing tangible results to the table. Our expertly crafted dashboards, utilized by over 5,000 employees worldwide, streamline operations and save over 30,000 hours of manual labor every year. Recognized as one of the „1000 Fastest Growing Companies in Europe“ by the Financial Times in 2020, our track record speaks for itself. Let us empower your manufacturing processes with the right KPIs to drive unparalleled growth and efficiency. 

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