Reducing downtime is something that a company has to deal with from time to time. There are times when an IT or manufacturing software company must stop services or production processes to carry out maintenance or upgrade existing machines for better work performance. This kind of downtime is harmless.
But, downtime can escalate to a dangerous one very quickly when it happens unplanned. There are many factors that cause downtime. Some of them are operational error, minimal equipment maintenance, broken hardware or software, and various other things.
At the level of multinational companies, downtime has the potential to cost the company up to billions of dollars annually. A report said that an IT company could lose up to $ 84,000 to $ 108,000 every hour during downtime. The same thing also happens in manufacturing companies.
To reduce losses, there are several steps that can be taken by the company. This time, we will provide 10 tips that you can do to reduce the losses that occur due to downtime.
Table of Content
- Track downtime
- Calculating losses that occur during downtime
- Automate complex process
- Take advantage of your data and reporting system
- Get help with your system and equipment
- Train and empower your employees
- Schedule preventive maintenance regularly
- Take notes
- Don’t forget to backup
- Monitor production
1. Track downtime
Tracking downtime involves monitoring and recording periods when machinery or systems are not operational. This can be due to various reasons such as maintenance, technical failures, or operational inefficiencies. By systematically logging these occurrences, you can create a comprehensive dataset that reveals patterns and trends, which might otherwise go unnoticed.
Incorporating downtime tracking into your manufacturing system offers several benefits. Firstly, it allows for a deeper understanding of the common causes of downtime. This could range from recurrent mechanical issues to bottlenecks in the production process. By identifying these issues, you can take targeted actions to prevent them in the future.
Secondly, tracking downtime helps in prioritizing maintenance and upgrades. With clear data on which machines or systems are most frequently causing downtime, you can make informed decisions about where to invest in repairs or upgrades, thereby reducing the likelihood of future breakdowns.
Integrating downtime tracking into your manufacturing system might involve leveraging technology like IoT devices and advanced software analytics. These tools can automatically capture downtime data, offering real-time insights and freeing up valuable human resources for more critical tasks.
2. Calculating losses that occur during downtime
The biggest mistake of a manufacturing company manager is not counting how much money the company losses during downtime. Even five minutes of downtime can potentially harm you in large numbers!
These downtime losses include no productivity from employees, no items being produced, potential working hours that must be rescheduled, equipment repair costs, time wasted serving customer complaints (helpdesk system), and damage to the company’s image.
Downtime must always be calculated in the form of currency. In this way, you as a company manager can focus on preventing losses when downtime occurs.
3. Automate complex process
One of the most effective ways to enhance these aspects and reduce downtime is through the automation of complex processes. This strategy is not just about embracing technology; it’s about streamlining operations and optimizing your manufacturing system for peak performance.
Automating complex processes involves using technology to handle intricate and often labor-intensive tasks within your manufacturing setup. This can range from the assembly of components to quality control checks. The aim is to replace manual, time-consuming processes with faster, more reliable automated systems.
Moreover, automating complex processes allows your workforce to focus on more critical, less repetitive tasks. This not only optimizes the use of human skills and creativity but also improves job satisfaction as employees are engaged in more meaningful and less monotonous work.
4. Take advantage of your data and reporting system
In 2019, there are a lot of manufacturing companies that still create reports and do data collecting manually. Unfortunately, making reports and collecting data manually will only make downtime last longer and costs you a lot of money.
All you need is report generation and data collection automation. This automation can only be achieved using supporting software such as ERP manufacturing. This software will give you access to data in real-time.
Thus you will know exactly when your machine has stopped operating because it needs maintenance, and identify which activities are interrupted by the accident at the same time. With this data, you can react correctly and quickly.
5. Get help with your system and equipment
Let’s face it, every software or hardware used by your manufacturing company comes from a variety of different companies. No matter how reliable your technician is, you will certainly have difficulties when your technician is required to handle two different devices when it is broken at the same time, or when you have to troubleshoot two software that functions differently.
That’s why you need help. Make sure you have at least the contact number of the technician from every equipment and software in your company. If you use manufacturing ERP, make sure you selected the right ERP module for your company and thoroughly consulted about it before you implement the ERP module in your company.
6. Train and empower your employees
After hardware error, an operational error is the second most common cause of downtime. A good operator is the one who has the ability to detect whether the machine they handle showing signs of error. Even better if the operator knows when it should undergo maintenance.
This is why employee training is very important in a manufacturing company. In addition to mastering the equipment, the production will even more efficient if the operator can solve the problem of the equipment by himself, thus the potential for downtime can be minimized.
7. Schedule preventive maintenance regularly
For those of you who have a motorbike or an automobile, you certainly know when you have to change the oil and perform routine maintenance at the nearest workshop. Apply the same thing to your manufacturing company. Just like your motorbike/car, regular maintenance reducing downtime the possibility of breakdown and the possibility of reducing downtime, and also increases safety and productivity.
Unfortunately, there are still quite a number of manufacturing companies out there who don’t care about this. They continuously run their machines without any maintenance at all. In fact, just like a motorbike that is not maintained, we do not know when the engine suddenly broke down and made the loss bigger.
8. Take notes
Make notes of the condition of each piece of equipment in your manufacturing company and make this a corporate culture. Recording when the last time a machine undergoes maintenance, which parts have been replaced, and what signs of damage are seen in the sensor, will make maintenance easier and downtime easier to avoid.
Growing into a culture like this might be difficult at first. But with time and discipline, this is not impossible to implement in your manufacturing company.
9. Don’t forget to backup
Imagine what happens if the software that runs a machine is accidentally erased due to a staff error. Not to mention that the company that developed the software closed a few years back so no one can provide you support.
The worst thing that might happen from the situation above is you have to recreate the software and delay the production process for two weeks. Nightmare! This is the reason why a backup process is an important thing that must do regularly, besides regular maintenance.
Regular backups, especially cloud-based solutions, provide a safety net against such disasters. By ensuring that all critical software and data are backed up consistently and securely, you can significantly reduce the risk of prolonged downtime and maintain continuity in your manufacturing processes. This practice is not just a precaution; it’s an essential component of a resilient and efficient manufacturing system.
10. Monitor production
Monitoring production is about continuously overseeing and evaluating the performance of your manufacturing processes. This includes tracking the output rate, quality of products, machine efficiency, and workforce productivity. By keeping a close eye on these elements, you can quickly identify and address issues before they escalate into significant downtime.
Furthermore, monitoring production helps in optimizing resource utilization. By understanding the intricacies of your manufacturing process, you can make informed decisions about resource allocation, including materials, machinery, and manpower. This ensures that every aspect of your production line is operating at optimal levels, reducing waste and increasing overall efficiency.
Downtime prevention can be done in various ways. However, as effective as any prevention program you do, it will not work if it is not supported by disciplined and dedicated human resources to run the program.
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