8 Jul

What is the Definition of Lean Manufacturing Downtime?

Lean manufacturing downtime is the period of time in which a system or machine is out of order. Here we discuss downtime, and specifically, what it means in manufacturing.

No items found.
What is the Definition of Lean Manufacturing Downtime?

What is Downtime?

Words are important, they help us to come to a common understanding. Sometimes in high stress environments like the modern manufacturing floor, we can have a tendency to talk past one another and this isn't productive. At Worximity, our technology facilitates a shared understanding of the actual state of our manufacturing KPIs, but sometimes we find that our customers don't have a shared agreement on what specific, commonly used terms actually mean. Today we're going to discuss downtime, and specifically, what 'Downtime' means in manufacturing.


Downtime is the period of time in which a system or machine is out of order. In the manufacturing industry, it refers to the period of time in which a company’s factory is not producing product. This can hurt a company’s bottom line and profit margins, as often downtime is unplanned and occurs while normal business functions continue, including paying employees and ordering material to manufacture products. 

Downtime is costly and not uncommon, as a ServiceMax sponsored study found that 82% of companies surveyed had experienced at least one unplanned downtime event in the previous three years, with the average number of outages being two. These outages lasted an average of four hours and cost the companies an average of $2 million. Aberdeen research also found that unplanned downtime cost companies an average of $260k for every hour of downtime, while a 2006 study by Advanced Technology Services, Inc. found that car manufacturers lost $22k for every minute of downtime.

Examples of Downtime

There are many different events or issues that can cause downtime, both planned and unplanned, but the downtime that does the most damage to a company is unplanned. Planned downtime is usually some sort of scheduled maintenance or simply a time when a machine or system isn’t operating because it is unneeded at the time. Unplanned downtime is usually when an unexpected problem has occurred somewhere in production.

The following are some examples of downtime:

Hardware failure

  • Hardware failure is fairly self-explanatory, as it is when part of a machine breaks or malfunctions, halting all use of the machine for production tasks.

Waiting on materials

  • Materials are necessary for most types of manufacturing and production, so when a system is starved, meaning it does not have enough material to make a product, downtime will occur. 

Excessive changeover time

  • Changeover refers to when a machine or production line is being converted from producing one product to another. This can often be considered planned downtime, but if the conversion process takes longer than expected or delays occur during the process, it is considered unexpected downtime. 

Lack of operator

  • A missing operator can be considered planned or unplanned downtime depending on the circumstances. If an operator or operators are not scheduled to be at work a certain time, this can be considered planned downtime, as the company knows that these employees will not be present to operate the system or machines. If an operator is not present but the absence was unexpected, this is of course an example of unplanned downtime.

Machine maintenance

  • Scheduled machine maintenance is considered planned downtime, but unscheduled maintenance, as a result of hardware failure or attempting to avoid it is considered unplanned downtime.

With a clear understanding of downtime, you're now prepared to organize your team around the next step, measuring it and reducing it!

Beyond measuring, quantifying and reducing downtime, there are lots of great business reasons to get onboard with automatic factory data collection.

Learn more in our guide here:

Want to learn more?
Download the ebook
Related blog articles

Related articles

Back to the blog
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
No items found.

Related articles

Back to the blog
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
May 2024

Exemples de Lean Manufacturing provenant des principaux leaders de l’industrie

La mise en œuvre du Lean Manufacturing peut vous apparaître comme un défi colossal. En regardant ce que les meilleurs ont accompli en appliquant les principes du Lean Manufacturing, vous serez à la fois inspirés et motivés.

Apr 2024

How to Analyze Throughput Rate

Throughput rates are an important measure of factory performance. Not only does throughput indicate whether the factory can meet customer demand, but it's also an indicator of overall plant efficiency.

Apr 2024

Les meilleurs outils d’amélioration continue pour les entreprises manufacturières œuvrant dans le secteur agroalimentaire

Dans le paysage concurrentiel du secteur agroalimentaire, la mise en œuvre de méthodologies d'amélioration continue n'est pas seulement un choix : c'est une nécessité pour rester compétitif.