The term downtime is well known in the manufacturing industry and with that comes a negative impact to the organization and loss of revenue with the average of 1 hour of downtime costing more than $100,000.  Let’s have a look at what downtime is, the causes of and the costs associated with it.

Manufacturing downtime 101

The first and most important aspect of cutting Downtime in manufacturing is figuring out when equipment has stopped working, and how to ensure production is up and running again as soon as possible.  Any breaks in production could be defined and tracked in a computerized maintenance Management Solution (CMMS), indicating what, why and how many times equipment failed showing these periods lose revenue.

Downtime could be either planned or unplanned, but the latter is much more likely and happens more often than the former. Planned downtime is scheduled breaks of production, which were planned ahead of time for a specific reason, for example, maintenance. Unplanned downtime is when the stop in production was not planned and something unforeseen has happened, for example, the machine failed or there is not enough material for a piece of equipment to continue its production.

Also read: Manufacturing Best Practices for Preventive Maintenance

How to overcome common issues that cause downtime

Even though a few common causes of downtime are about to be listed, it is important to remember that each organization will have its own downtime culprits based on its equipment. This is why having a CMMS that gives you sufficient data about different organizational departments/equipment and its performance can ease your quest of identifying downtime issues significantly.

  1. Vague Working Instructions

If your personnel’s working instructions are drafted by someone other than the manager of those personnel’s production department – the chances are good that the working instructions that they receive are unclear, which in turn causes equipment to break down due to improper handling. Working instructions must be drafted by a specific manager who works in a specific department for a specific group of employees. Using a CMMS enables a manager to leave notes to his department about what needs to get done. This means there will be no confusion as to what employees’ working instructions for the day are.

  1. Human Error

Humans and machines have one critical difference: the ability to make mistakes. Your employees, unfortunately, could sometimes make mistakes or inaccurately capture data when they complete maintenance work. You have to ensure your employees are provided the correct training and tools; this will help reduce human error from causing downtime.

Using a CMMS, your employees will be able to not only see what maintenance work needs to be done with which parts but also give management an overall view of equipment and breakdown history to manage costs.

  1. Inefficient equipment maintenance

One vital piece of equipment can cause a lot of maintenance work and costly replacement parts if not managed correctly.  If a piece of equipment is constantly repaired instead of replaced it could end up being more costly to your production and overall output.

The solution? Tracking and reporting of the equipment life cycle. Knowing how much preventive vs breakdown maintenance is done in a set period with the cost of labor and parts will allow management to make informed decisions regarding equipment maintenance and replacement.  Robust CMMS systems like Proteus MMX offers KPI’s and a Machine Ledger feature to assist with just that.

Cutting downtime costs

Downtime has both direct and indirect costs and unfortunately, these costs are quite far-reaching.

  1. Planned downtime

This is the most obvious way to cut the cost of downtime. When machines stop working, products are not produced. For example, if your organization usually produces 600 units in an hour, with each unit ensuring you $50 profit, an hour’s unplanned stop in production could cost your organization $10 000. With a CMMS planned downtime can be used to lessen the loss of production while ensuring the necessary maintenance and repairs are done.

  1. Unnecessary labor

A well-known term, time is money couldn’t be more fitting under this category. If employees are not completing the necessary timely maintenance to ensure optimal equipment health usually two things happen:

  • Equipment downtime
  • Unnecessary labor costs

The alternative is that you use vendors and, or your employees for specific labor tasks. A CMMS, such as Proteus MMX, enables you to create work schedules and tasks which will allow you to produce a comprehensive plan explaining when which employees/contractors should work on what.

  1. Inventory Management

The maintenance team needs to have the necessary maintenance inventory available to ensure maximum output from your production.  Not meeting clients’ demands due to small parts missing is overall costly to the organization.

A CMMS is a great tool to help with inventory management because it can tell you where every asset is kept and how many are available. By having this data, a maintenance manager can track inventory and ensure it does not deplete prematurely. If there were to be a lack of inventory at one facility, using multi-location CMMS would allow for quick transfer within the organization, ensuring high turnaround time and cost savings.

A CMMS will help you manage downtime by eliminating or identifying the causes thereof, which in turn will reduce the unwanted costs accompanied by downtime.

If you would like to learn how Eagle is helping their manufacturing clients to reduce downtime and cut costs using Proteus MMX call Eagle at 262-241-3845,  schedule a demo, or send us an email.