How to use shift handover policies & checklists for better OEE results

Author LineView Admin, April 12, 2022

Digital shift handover processes improve communication between shifts, better inform SIC processes, and even reduce output drop during changeovers. Long term, the ability to spot trends and track results can dramatically improve OEE scores.

In addition to actionable data leveraged through operational management routines, a comprehensive digital platform can offer organisations an extensive reporting system which supports seamless shift handovers.


What should a shift handover process include?

At the end of a shift, key operational data, KPIs, unplanned stops, and defect information needs to be transferred to the next group of operators and management.


Communication from outgoing to incoming shift leader

The handover process and necessary metrics will vary according to the role, and depend on the type of production line. For example, a machine operator will need different KPI compared to the shift manager - but the importance of effective communication in the handover process remains paramount for all types of roles.

If there isn't any form of digitalisation, towards the end of the shift, the line manager will speak to each operator to collect performance information on major hiccups and downtimes, including the root cause and the length of each event.

This task relies on the operator to assign the 'fault' and precision in the downtime stoppages are rounded, i.e., “about 5 minutes” or “1 hour”. Without a digital tracking system, real-time precision is next to impossible to achieve.



If this process is done comprehensively, it would take 5 or 6 minutes to speak to each of the operators on the shop floor or specific line... this time adds up, especially for larger plants.

Using a digital solution, information can be tracked automatically, in real time, and collated throughout the shift. The result: an end-to-end, detailed, and accurate shift handover report.

But what exactly is a shift handover report?

Shift handover report

A shift handover report is a very important piece of shop floor documentation that captures all relevant information that has happened during the outgoing shift. These types of reports vary significantly across companies. But a thorough shift handover report should include certain specific information at minimum.

Let’s take a closer look at what’s exactly in a shift handover report.


What is a shift handover report?

Like a lot of documentation on the shop floor and offices, shift handover reports are often Word of Excel-based. Check-lists, various operational data points, and some fields for comments can be manually entered and passed along to the next team.

Shift handover reports are also sometimes sent via email to the incoming shift leader and copied to the shift manager. Though this may tick the “digital” box, actually, by using email, it creates a gap in communication. The transfer is not discussed face-to-face, almost certainly resulting in missed information or nuance. Emails are also not shared across the entire organisation, creating a hole in the data collection and transparency.

To sum it up, the information on a shift handover report is used to optimise production for the upcoming shift or shifts.

What should be included in a shift handover?


OEE KPI including biggest downtime losses

Software for OEE monitoring and a downtime tracker are a measure of manufacturing productivity and is an especially great indicator of losses and downtime.  At the handover, knowing the OEE score of the departing shift is crucial information.

If the OEE varies drastically from the average, there must be a good reason. A low OEE is indicative of losses - it could be a machine breakdown, a lack of workers, or quality issues. An above-average OEE means the line is working great, or could be a sign that asset performance measurement needs to be calibrated.

Through engaging in a system of TPM (Total Productive Maintenance), and minimising the Six Big Losses, OEE can be maximised across the entire shop floor, and organisation as a whole.



People Management
(related to health & safety, absence)

From a labour perspective, a shift handover report should explain the entire picture of the staff on hand. Who’s present, who’s absent, and are there any fill-ins. Was there an injury, near-miss, or other health and safety issue? This is all vital information that must be included in each shift’s report.

The incoming shift manager needs to be aware of any part of the production that may require extra resources to bring it back up to speed, or areas that could potentially be hazardous to staff.


Machine Parameters
(adjustments - ie: account for production materials that aren't to standard)

Any adjustments to machines or equipment must be communicated in the shift handover and report. Every incoming operator needs to be aware of changes to standard settings or if certain pieces of equipment are functioning differently or out of specification.


Changeovers Themselves
(from product A to B, any hiccups)

Each product changeover - for instance, if a bottling line changed from 330ml to 500ml bottles - should be included in the handover communication. Were there any problems that led to quality issues, unplanned downtime, or equipment failure? The incoming shift can use this information to better prepare for product changeovers that occur during their upcoming shift.



Anything that deviates from the ordinary

Irregularities, both positive and negative, should be noted. Efficiency higher than normal? Lower than normal? Is there a piece of equipment or tool that has been acting up? All of this type of information that points to irregularities is extremely useful for the incoming shift managers and operators to help anticipate any potential issues.

The importance of capturing all of this information can’t be understated. Any detail that is not in the shift handover report will be lost. Not only is shift information vital for the incoming operators and leadership team, keeping track of shift details provides insight into both short and long term production line optimisation, planning, and investments.






The role of digital shift-based checklists and shift handover 'pre-flight' checklists

The future of shift handovers will be digital. In the factory of the future, manufacturers will use comprehensive software systems that simplify and enhance key processes and reporting for shift changeovers. These comprehensive methodologies incorporate and merge all required shift data, including checks and KPIs, for up-to-date and accurate reports.


Designated users can set up standard templates for completing checks and allocate tasks to each area and control station. If operators are unsure of processes before, after, or during their shift, instructional videos and visual aids are available to reinforce their SOP, on a mobile device, or laptop through an app for easier access.

What are shift-based checklists and 'pre-flights'?

Pre-flights are essential checks before each and every shift.

For operators, these pre-flight checks show outstanding actions and completions. It will confirm that they have the right tools, material, knowledge, and cleaning checks to ensure a successful shift.

For shift leaders, the checks can outline staff availability, warehouse space, materials, the production plan, as well as ahead/behind time.

Shift-based checks = structured information and comms

For a team leader, shift-based checks provide a record they can refer back to. Within a digital platform, historical data can be pulled in seconds to validate and verify any given operational metric.

From the pre-flight, team leaders then go into what’s often called a “24 hour meeting” - or daily review - with real-time information that is collected directly based on shift output SKU.



What makes a good shift handover?

How a shift handover will look, and the type of documentation that results from each shift, will differ depending on the industry and organisation. But a good shift handover should include, at a minimum, certain key elements.

Structured vs unstructured communication

An unstructured communication can be a conversation between operators or leaders that cover major issues. For example, the incoming shift leader could come in 10-15 minutes early to have a conversation on the shop floor with the outgoing shift leader.

Structured communication is methodologically collected in a consistent and standardised manner. The goal here is to have good, precise data from the previous shift. A reliable data source that is ideally collected automatically by software and validated in real-time by the operator. This real-time data can be automatically converted into a report and included in the shift handover.

Commitment and processes to consistent handovers

The commitment that the off-going shift leader and operators communicate the previous shift. For a successful handover, this requires both operational data and conversations between people. Each party - the incoming and the outgoing - need commitment to understanding areas for improvement, which could be part of a greater TPM endeavour.

The missing piece: Looking at the 'future'

The shift handover process gives the incoming shift a clear window into the future. It’s the only opportunity to warn the incoming shift leader about issues that may arise based on what that shift leader is seeing from the current run state.

Paperless manufacturing tools & software

A digital, paperless shop floor solution enables behaviour changes. It makes shift leaders more accountable as you provide them with a tool to track this KPI and understand best practices, and how their shift can improve.

Digital shift handovers also help to engage your operators and support teams. Operators are given autonomy and responsibility to log their shift information, while also giving them access to the digital report. This drives engagement across the shop floor and gives staff direct visibility to how their work contributes to the greater picture.

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What are the problems that can occur during handover and how can they be overcome?

Human behaviour and conflicting schedules can result in a disconnect during shift changes. Operators and floor managers are people. They can have good days, bad days, and emergencies. If the incoming shift leader hasn't arrived on time, or the outgoing shift leader has left early, a face-to-face handover will be missed.

Lack of process and scepticism about the value of the process can also cause problems. The shift handover needs to be treated like a mandatory meeting with consistent reports and data. If an organisation lacks a process, with detailed SOPs and required (digital) forms, the handover may not be taken seriously by each team member.


Integrating Sigital Shift Handovers with Short Interval Control (SIC) & Meeting Routines

Short Interval Control, or SIC, is used on the shop-floor to provide real-time feedback and continuous improvement during a shift. Information like KPIs, quality issues, or output data are shared within, or across, team leaders to maintain an accurate view on production.

Integrating SIC into digital shift handovers is a powerful synergy that can further boost OEE and minimise defects.

Benefits of digital meeting routines and integrated shift handovers

With a digital system, managers can spot trends in shifts and SKUs automatically, rather than the need to plug in their own formulas in a spreadsheet to view graphs and trendlines.

Digital systems breed transparency across the entire shop floor. Everybody can see the data and all open actions (from the SIC review). This openness puts the onus on operators to fulfil their duties and complete all pending items and is instantly tracked in the system.

How shift handovers contribute to Hourly SIC

If you do hourly SIC meetings and you come up with actions, the shift handover report would include whether these actions have been completed or uncompleted. This extra step provides accountability to the operator, and creates a catalogue of actions.

If the actions are completed? What is the result? Was it solved or not solved? What can I handover to my next shift? Is there a change to the parameter? The goal is to run as smoothly and consistently as you can.

How shift handovers contribute to Daily SIC

In a typical 3-shift operating schedule, the daily SIC meeting is usually held at 8:00-9:00 in the morning. Here, the manager-on-duty can get information from the three shift leaders to see what the SIC actions were for the last 3 shifts.

Useful information from these last shifts, such as breakdown times, causal losses, and specific KPIs, allows management to best prepare for the next shifts ahead. Having this information at the ready and on hand makes it a lot easier than needing to communicate with each shift leader about exceptions and irregularities.



How can better (digital) shift handovers help improve my OEE?

We’ve covered how to maximise the usefulness of shift handovers, especially when integrating them into your factory’s digital transformation. Let’s now take a look at specifically how digital shift handovers will improve shop floor OEE.

Digital shift handovers keep track of production issues like never before, whether that’s on a monthly, weekly, daily, and even hourly time frame. With this abundance of detailed information, operations teams and managers can use this powerful data to uncover every opportunity to maximise OEE.

Reduce downtime

With precision insight on every facet of each shift, important capital investment and business decisions can be made with confidence.

For example, managers can use historic shift data to develop a bulletproof business case to change suppliers to rectify material issues, machine issues, and defects that are causing speed loss or downtime. In the same way, putting together justification for machine upgrades to reduce downtime is straightforward with complete historical data at your fingertips.

Spot opportunities and trends

Visibility creates awareness and drives behaviour. Having a straightforward and intuitive process to perform and document shift handovers always keeps your eye on the details.

Transparency across the shop floor and organisation also allow more decision makers insight into the manufacturing process. If the factory manager or regional manager can see the data, then shifts are accountable to the whole business.

Examples of possible OEE wins with improved handovers

Avoid output dip at shift changeover: Not as much manual data so people can stay on machines during changeover (no lost production time while reporting).

Improved set-ups and adjustments:  By recording deviations from the norm, the incoming shift operators can re-adjust without troubleshooting.

Increase profitability and optimise labour

Digital shift handovers give leaders a fuller picture of the details of each shift, from both the human (i.e., operator) and machine perspective. People-optimisation can be easily accomplished by shift leaders that compares shift efficiencies and consistency for both the labour and each process.

On top of that, having the full scope of information lets you compare and benchmark changeovers by shift against ones with no reported problems that would affect the result.



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