The Startup Magazine 5 Ways to Prevent Downtime in Your Manufacturing Business

In the ever-changing manufacturing industry, downtime may be an expensive and disruptive event. Whatever the cause, unannounced production halts can result in large financial losses and damage client confidence. This post provides a number of practical strategies for reducing manufacturing downtime and guaranteeing seamless operations in your manufacturing company.

manufacturing downtime
Manufacturing Worker


Have a Generator on Standby

The changing climate and increasing natural disasters are resulting in power failures across the US. As Colorado Standby notes, these power outages can cause losses worth thousands of dollars. Thus, having an emergency backup in the form of a generator is extremely useful to minimize downtimes and their financial effect.

Around 80% of all major power outages that occurred from 2000 to 2023 were caused by weather. Texas, Michigan, and California were among the most impacted states by weather-related outages. While measures are being taken to create a positive impact on the environment and the weather, generators present an ideal alternative for power outages.

Investing in a high-capacity generator can guarantee that your business continues to run smoothly even in the event of a power outage. It’s essential to choose a generator that matches your power needs and to conduct regular tests to ensure it’s ready to kick in when needed. Additionally, having a trained team to handle generator operations and maintenance can further ensure that this backup power source is effective when required.

Regularly Maintain the Equipment

Unplanned downtimes can be extremely costly for manufacturing plants. As the production halts due to faulty equipment, you have to bear the costs of labor, lost revenue, reduced capacity, etc.

Around 82% of the manufacturing companies surveyed have faced unplanned downtime at least once in the past three years. Forbes states that one of the major problems that causes these downtimes is that most of these businesses rely on reactive maintenance. They simply take action once equipment fails instead of maintaining it regularly to prevent the failure in the first place.

Establishing a preventive maintenance plan ensures that each piece of equipment receives attention based on its usage and criticality. Furthermore, keeping detailed maintenance records allows for tracking the performance and reliability of the machinery, helping to predict when maintenance should be performed.

Use Real-Time Monitoring Systems

These systems monitor the functionality and state of your equipment continually and can send you early alerts when any problems arise. Many parameters may be monitored by technologies like machine learning algorithms and the Internet of Things (IoT).

For instance, they are able to gather a lot of information on the equipment’s pressure, vibration, and temperature. By analyzing this data, insights that support well-informed decision-making may be produced.

These systems can identify abnormalities or departures from standard operating conditions and notify the maintenance crew so that preventative measures may be taken. By being proactive, problems may be resolved before they become significant setbacks. Moreover, real-time data can help optimize production processes, improve efficiency, and extend the lifespan of machinery.

Keep Critical Spare Parts in Stock

When equipment fails, the availability of replacement parts can mean the difference between a quick fix and prolonged manufacturing downtime. Identifying which parts are most likely to need replacement and keeping them in stock ensures that repairs can be performed promptly.

It’s important to work closely with your equipment manufacturers to understand the lifespan and wear patterns of different components. Establishing a parts inventory management system may also assist in monitoring stock levels and guaranteeing the availability of essential components at all times.

As IBM mentions, fortune 500 companies are losing around 11% of their annual revenue to downtime. One of the most common problems they encounter is poor tracking of spare parts, cited by 41% of survey respondents. With 37%, not finding the right parts when needed is another common problem these organizations face.

Having a thorough inventory system for tracking and monitoring these parts can help minimize the downtime significantly.

Leverage Predictive Analytics

By analyzing historical data and identifying patterns, predictive analytics can forecast potential equipment failures before they occur. This approach uses data from real-time monitoring systems, maintenance records, and other sources to create predictive models. These models have the ability to spot connections and patterns that might not be obvious at first glance.

A ScienceDirect study found that these models can predict maintenance requirements with up to 92% accuracy. They can not only classify machine stops but also enable timely maintenance actions. However, the accuracy rate may vary widely based on the algorithms used, the quality of the data fed, the number of neural networks, etc.

With the help of predictive analytics, manufacturing businesses can plan maintenance activities more effectively, allocate resources more efficiently, and avoid unexpected breakdowns and manufacturing downtime. Implementing predictive analytics requires investment in data collection and analysis tools. You might also have to train your employees to use the systems effectively and interpret and act on the insights generated.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the most common cause of unplanned downtime?

Unplanned downtime is frequently caused by unexpected faults or failures of machinery or equipment. These can occur for a number of reasons, including age, misuse, or neglect of routine maintenance. Some other causes are power outages, human error, natural disasters, etc.

What are the consequences of unplanned downtime?

Unplanned downtime causes expensive delays in maintenance, production schedules, and order delivery. It also raises the risk of worker accidents, environmental disasters, and urgent repairs. Moreover, operational disruptions, damaged reputation, and reduced customer satisfaction are also some consequences of unplanned downtime.

What are the two types of downtime?

Downtime is categorized as planned or unplanned based on how it occurs. Planned downtime is when the production is willingly halted for scheduled maintenance or any other reasons. On the other hand, unplanned downtime is when the halt is not scheduled.

In conclusion, a thorough and proactive strategy is needed to prevent downtime in a manufacturing company. By following the tips in this article, you can significantly reduce the risk of unexpected interruptions and maximize your production rates. Investing in these measures not only helps prevent downtime but also enhances overall productivity, reliability, and customer satisfaction.

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