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2021 was not an easy year for many companies, with some experiencing service disasters more publicly than others. As you may already know or experienced for yourself, Facebook (now re-branded as META) experienced a massive global outage that lasted roughly 6 hours on Monday, Oct 4, 2021.

An array of IT issues on their systems would ultimately cost the company over EUR 51 million or EUR 8.5 million per hour of downtime due to missing ad revenue (not accounting for stock value and reputation losses, which followed soon after).

Just like Facebook, industrial companies run the same risk of downtime, with potential legacy IT issues often being accompanied by mechanical and electrical failures as well. A prominent example is the 2016 United States’ Delta airlines outage that lead to a EUR 110 million loss due to electrical equipment failure. Though the outage lasted only about 5 hours, it was the supply chain dependencies and other cascading effects that lead to the grounding of over 2,000 flights over a span of 3 days.

In a manufacturing environment we can typically attribute downtime to inefficient processes and equipment failures. Proper implementation of tools, maintenance and reliability plans can go a long way to improve OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) and reduce downtime. In fact one study found that implementing a preventive maintenance plans resulted in a company having an ROI of 545% over a period of 25 years on their assets. Implementing a preventive maintenance plan added life to the assets delaying the time for asset replacement. That is not all. The more interesting fact is that the above ROI did not calculate the cost of potential downtime due to lack of well maintained equipment.

Lets take a look at how one could approach this, starting from...

How downtime impacts a business and its operations

  • Loss of production or activity due equipment failure
  • Non-compliance to planned project timeline or KPIs
  • Damaged reputation resulting in loss of business or client
  • Unbudgeted expenses and resources on fixing the problem

Why the cost of unplanned downtime can vary:        

  • Duration of the downtime
  • Time of day and week
  • Availability of maintenance workers and OEM support
  • Departments and individuals impacted    
  • Complexity of the cause
  • Availability of the part in stock needed for defect repair

What causes downtime?

  • Inefficient changeovers, tool changes, early shutdowns
  • Irregular inspections or no inspections at all
  • Equipment failure
  • Lack routine maintenance and reliability plan in place
  • Improper training of technicians and production teams
  • No root cause analysis or lesson learned workshops from previous downtime
  • A non integrated technology/software

Now that we have an understanding on the issues of unplanned downtime and the impacts of it, lets now look at some tips to get you started and help you improve your uptime and asset reliability.

Tips to prevent downtime

  • Quantify everything. Identify all the problem areas, how often these problems occur, which are the worst performing assets and so on. Set benchmarks regarding what should be the acceptable levels of performance in each of these problem areas
  • Get all the departments in one room. and make all stakeholders understand the impact of each process or asset downtime. Collaborative approach across the organization is the key to create an effective process.
  • Based on benchmark, set goals and create action plans that ensures continuous tracking of machine conditions, schedule compliance and work order feedback to measure the enlisted KPIs against the target.
  • Ensure regular inspection to avoid any unexpected failures cascade and result into major breakdown. Have an inspection plan in place and ensure its being followed as per the time plan.
  • It is recommended to stock up on parts that wear down fast. Have regular evaluation of your suppliers and categorize them based on their performance towards deliverables. This will help you identify your best fit in case of urgent need of spare parts.
  • Inspection manuals and standard operating procedures (SOP) should be quickly accessible and clearly sorted, ideally integrated in a digital software and logged as a maintenance tool. This should enable the maintenance professionals by guiding them through steps to follow based on status input provided to this tool.
  • Regular training for employees either on the software or the manual tasks such as changeovers, repair, and replacement
  • Lastly and most importantly, design your operations around centralized systems that can simplify, support and engage workers. Let the systems do the heavy lifting for you.

Adopting a CMMS and Asset Management tool, like dintegra EAM, can help accelerate the transition into better productivity and OEE, ultimately preventing unplanned downtime. Due to rising competition and complexities in processes, digital solutions are becoming a necessity to keep costs manageable and meet maintenance and reliability needs. This is why we have specialized in supporting our client/partners in identifiying pockets of opportunities and accelerate adoption towards technology-supported operations.

Explore our blog for further resources and tips and if you are interested in exploring digital solutions get in touch with us today.

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