Downtime is expensive. The cost of unplanned downtime in manufacturing can range from $22k/hour to $1 million+/day, depending on the industry. And while some amount of downtime is inevitable, there are ways to minimize its impact on your business. But before moving forward, let’s understand downtime in more detail.
What is Downtime in Manufacturing?
Downtime in manufacturing is defined as any time when the production process is disrupted due to a machine malfunction, bad material, power outage, or other unforeseen issues. This can cause delays in the production line, leading to lost revenue and productivity.
There are two types of downtime:
- Planned downtime is when the factory or production line is shut down for scheduled maintenance.
- Unplanned downtime is when the factory or production line is shut down due to an unexpected event, such as a machine malfunction or power outage.
How to Minimize Downtime in Manufacturing?
Here are some tips on how to minimize downtime in manufacturing:
1. Schedule Maintenance During Slower Periods
One way to minimize downtime is to schedule maintenance during slower periods. This might mean shutting down for a few hours or even a day or two, but it will be well worth it in the long run. Not only will you avoid the cost of unplanned downtime, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of discounted labor rates and materials.
Plus, your team can complete necessary repairs and maintenance tasks before they become real problems. When you schedule downtime for maintenance, you’re effectively preventing future issues that could lead to even more costly downtime.
2. Keep Spare Parts on Hand
Another way to reduce downtime is to keep spare parts on hand. This way, if something breaks, you’ll have the part you need to fix quickly and get back up and running. It’s a good idea to keep various spare parts on hand and tools and supplies. That way, you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way.
You can also take advantage of just-in-time (JIT) inventory management. This type of inventory management system ensures that you have the parts you need when you need them. That way, you can avoid having too much inventory on hand, which can tie up working capital.
3. Automate Where Possible
Sometimes downtime can be avoided altogether by automating certain tasks and processes. For example, if you bottle your own products, you might invest in a bottle-filling machine. This machine can help speed up the bottling process and minimize human error. As a result, you’ll be able to produce more products in less time, which can help offset the cost of the machine.
Not only will automation help you avoid downtime, but it can also improve the quality of your products and increase safety in the workplace. So, it’s definitely worth considering for your business.
4. Train Your Team Members
Proper training is essential for minimizing downtime in manufacturing. Your team members should know how to operate all of your facility’s equipment and troubleshoot common problems. They should also know how to properly maintain the equipment and perform preventative maintenance tasks. Here are some specific things your team members should be trained on:
- How to properly operate the equipment
- How to troubleshoot common problems
- How to maintain the equipment
- How to perform preventative maintenance tasks
If your team members are properly trained, they’ll be able to identify and fix problems quickly. As a result, you’ll experience less downtime.
5. Update Your Equipment Regularly
If you want to minimize downtime, it’s important to keep your equipment up-to-date. This means regularly scheduled maintenance and replacing outdated equipment with newer models that are more reliable. Obviously, this can be a significant investment. But it’s worth it to avoid the cost of unplanned downtime.
You should also consider investing in new technology when it becomes available. For example, if you’re still using an analog phone system, you might want to upgrade to a VoIP system. This type of system is much more reliable and can help you avoid downtime due to technical issues.
6. Monitor Your Equipment
Finally, one of the best ways to avoid downtime is to monitor your equipment constantly. This way, you can identify problems early on and take steps to fix them before they cause a complete shutdown. There are various ways you can do this, such as:
- Inspecting the equipment regularly
- Using sensors to monitor equipment performance
- Analyzing data to look for trends
If you’re proactive about monitoring your equipment, you can avoid a lot of costly downtimes.
These are just a few ways you can minimize downtime in manufacturing. Following these tips, you can keep your production line running smoothly and avoid unexpected disruptions. So, don’t wait — take action to avoid downtime today.