“Downtime” Prevention Can Impact Bottom Line for Manufacturers

April 28, 2023

Downtime is a significant source of lost production for many manufacturers. In fact, the average manufacturer experiences as much as 800 hours of equipment downtime per year, according to Forbes.

This time-consuming issue occurs when processes are halted for an unplanned event, and materials or goods are not being produced as anticipated. The setback is often due to equipment failure, unanticipated maintenance, worker shortages, or material issues.

Businesses can help control the impacts of downtime through a mix of proactive efforts and technology.

What Happens During Downtime?

During manufacturing downtime, employees are involuntarily unproductive, and this can cause significant process ramifications including lost “wrench time,” machine idle time, project backlogs, and additional future maintenance needs. It can also ultimately impact a businesses’ bottom line through:

  • Impact on Labor – Wages, insurance, overtime
  • Cost of Waste – Incomplete or discarded parts
  • Restart Costs – Lost revenue, production restart

How to Minimize Downtime

There are various methods to enable more efficient maintenance processes and minimize downtime.

One such method is total productive maintenance, in which all parties work together to reduce breakdowns and improve efficiencies, including plant workers, managers, maintenance engineers, safety supervisors, and quality control professionals. This approach can optimize performance and productivity, and encourages operators to effectively manage their own equipment. Preventative routines are part of total productive maintenance and plans for scheduled maintenance and actions to prevent breakdowns – anticipating and correcting equipment failure before it occurs. This planning can provide long-term system reliability and strengthen inventory management.

Strategies to reduce downtime can be enhanced through use of wearable technologies. These devices use belt-mounted, upper arm, or phone applications used by workers while performing their jobs. The devices provide real-time feedback on movements, posture, location and biomechanics. The software generates data to help adjust unsafe movements and reduce future process disruptions.

With all preventative programs, clear communication and training is key to effective implementation.

Learn More

Amerisure’s risk management specialists are committed to supporting you in identifying hazards to reduce risk and, ultimately, your claims. To implement your own downtime program, contact your Amerisure risk management consultant or reach out to [email protected]