Downtime is something a company has to face from time to time. According to a study, around 82% of companies have faced unplanned downtime at least once in the past three years. The impact of downtime on production is significant, even more so in the manufacturing industry.
A manufacturing plant has multiple processes. Now, suppose if one of the processes is down, it will impact all the other operations waiting for this one to complete. It’s like a snowball effect. The more time it takes for the production line to be up and running, the greater the production and revenue lost. Hence, we are here with this list of tips that can help you prevent downtime in your manufacturing plant.
How to reduce downtime in manufacturing
Depending on the scale and levels of the business, downtime can cost a fortune. Hence, it is essential to plan a strategy to minimize downtime and keep your manufacturing plant running.
1. Equipment maintenance
According to a Plant Engineering maintenance study, one of the biggest reasons behind downtime is aging equipment (44%). Timely maintenance can increase the life of equipment, thereby reducing downtime. Hence, the best way to go around this is by ensuring timely heavy-equipment repairs.
Assess your systems and keep records of the maintenance services. For instance, having data about the last maintenance can help you track how frequently a piece of equipment will require servicing. Thus, you can plan accordingly and create a maintenance schedule that will serve the purpose.
2. Train your staff
Human error is a leading cause of business downtime. Suppose your production line staff is not adequately educated on handling the machines. This can lead to machine failures, thereby causing downtime. Besides that, it can also prevent the employee from providing optimal productivity. If the person does not know how to operate the equipment efficiently, it is evident that the output will be less.
You need to train your employees for every situation. Conduct regular and frequent training sessions. Also, try to share any relatable experiences that you have had. This will help them learn the best ways to operate a machine and help prevent any downtime.
3. Leverage technology
Several businesses are also using technologies to enable predictive maintenance in their organization. For instance, technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can together help predict the chances of equipment failure. For example, IoT sensors can collect information about the equipment, and AI can analyze the data collected by the sensors. Depending on information such as last maintenance, current equipment temperature, etc., both technologies can help prevent equipment downtime.
You can also use the data and AI to automate the production line. You might think, how is it going to help reduce downtime? Well, it is. When you automate the production, the chances of human errors reduce significantly. Thus, all the downtime caused by human error is eliminated.
4. Create backups
If you are automating anything in the production, it is essential to back up the software used to automate. Suppose you don’t have a backup and the system fails. It will be even a bigger headache than a usual downtime. Hence, it is vital to have a backup ready for such a scenario.
While you can create a backup on premises, the best thing is to use the cloud. Cloud computing is on the rise, and why not? You get several benefits of utilizing the cloud environment for creating backups and storing information. Some significant benefits include data security, reduced IT costs, scalability, agility, etc.
5. Create documentation
Small machinery failures can be handled easily by the workers themselves. But imagine that none of your staff knows how to restart or find out the reason behind the failure. This is simply going to increase the amount of downtime. You will ultimately have to call a service vendor. On top of it, you would never know how quickly the vendor will arrive upon calling.
In such a scenario, documenting can help. Although it is a simple step, it can have a tremendous effect. If the documentation has the relevant images and information about the machinery, your staff will get the machine working. Thus, you will not have to wait for the vendor to arrive, and the downtime will be reduced.
Downtime is a struggle for everyone, but a clear mindset and predictive strategy in place can prevent downtime from getting in the way of your business’s growth. However, a preventive approach, timely maintenance, and training will be of no use unless your employees have the right mindset. They are the ones who will ultimately help you fight downtime.