Data, particularly machine data, is a foundational component of every smart factory or OEE initiative. It fuels analytics, triggers actions ahead of problems or shutdowns, and provides insight for continuous improvement. Many companies start the smart factory journey with an automated OEE system because it’s a natural progression with a set of metrics they’re already familiar with. Despite advances in automated data collection and production analytics, a lot of manufacturing executives are still at odds about exactly which machine data is required to calculate OEE. Unfortunately, a lot of projects get sidetracked early on as stakeholders try to utilize every piece of machine-generated data from the multitude available. A more pragmatic approach is to apply machine data based on priorities around business goals. To that end, capturing the machine data required for OEE is a critical early activity for most smart factory initiatives.