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4 Ways to Avoid Unscheduled Downtime in Manufacturing

February 25, 2020

Unscheduled downtime is one of the top concerns of manufacturing plants and can be harmful to your organization’s productivity and profitability. When critical machinery is out of service, this can create a bottleneck in your plant or completely shut down operations altogether.

Equipment malfunctions can — and most likely will — happen at some point. The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce manufacturing equipment downtime and save money in the process. Here are four ways to improve your plant’s bottom line and keep equipment running at its best.

Short on time? Skip straight to downloading the Equipment Downtime Prevention Cheat Sheet here.

How to Avoid Manufacturing Equipment Downtime

1. Provide regular safety training to reduce dangerous user error.

Small mistakes can lead to big disasters, especially in manufacturing. Did you know that user error is one of the top causes of downtime on a production line? One study found that 23 percent of all unplanned downtime in manufacturing is the result of human error, compared with rates as low as 9 percent in other sectors.

To reduce costly and potentially dangerous human error, set daily and quarterly incentive goals that encourage safe behaviors in the workplace. Then, perform a job safety analysis to highlight where additional safety training may be needed. Lastly, host regular training to ensure compliance with OSHA safety standards.

2. Create a preventive maintenance plan that you can rely on.

Preventive maintenance (PM) helps prevent catastrophic equipment failures before they occur. By investing your time and effort into a strong PM program, you’ll increase the longevity and productivity of your equipment while simultaneously reducing risk to people and assets. As a rule of thumb, it’s better to prevent issues than react to them, and PM program can help you stay ahead of the curve.

If you’re looking to kickstart a more proactive approach to maintenance in your manufacturing plant, check out this online guide to implementing a successful preventive maintenance program. You might also be interested in reading the Facility Management Preventive Maintenance Guide, which features an inspection preparation checklist, facility management budget template, and an asset replacement cheat sheet.

Facility Management Preventive Maintenance Guide CTA to guide download page

3. Establish a regular inspection schedule for critical equipment.

It can be incredibly difficult to reduce downtime in a manufacturing plant with so many vital pieces of equipment and moving parts. Keeping your equipment running smoothly starts with establishing a regular inspection schedule and following up with the tune-ups that a machine requires to operate at its best.

One of the easiest ways to manage inspection schedules in a manufacturing plant is with a building infrastructure management software. Software platforms can help hold your team accountable and keep them on track with inspections. For example, use software to create recurring work orders so your team never forgets when and what to conduct an inspection on.

4. Track the lifespans of equipment to determine when it’s time to upgrade.

When a piece of equipment has been working long past its expected useful life, the probability that it will fail becomes much higher. This is where an asset lifespan and cost analysis can come in handy. These methods can be used to better understand how an asset’s age, usage and condition can affect its ability to contribute to the organization’s bottom line. You’ll also gain a better understanding of how a poorly-maintained asset could end up costing your organization thousands more than if the asset were regularly maintained and properly serviced.

Use software to track a machine’s age and what type of maintenance it has received throughout its lifetime. Some software options can even forecast an asset’s expected useful life and overall risk of failure, which can show you at-a-glance which equipment you should prioritize for replacement.

Get the Full List: The Downtime Prevention Cheat Sheet

Unexpected downtime can take a toll on your organization’s productivity and profitability. After all, the longer it takes to complete a process or finish a product, the longer it takes to get those products into the hands of consumers.

Download the Equipment Downtime Prevention Cheat Sheet

If you’re looking for more ways to prevent unscheduled downtime in your facility, we’ve got you covered. Download the Equipment Downtime Prevention Cheat Sheet, a tool for increasing productivity in your manufacturing facility.  Inside, you’ll find ten easy ways to increase productivity, avoid unplanned downtime and keep equipment running at its best. Get your free copy here.

Meaghan Kelly

Former marketing content copywriter for AkitaBox.

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