19 Feb
2018

Machine Monitoring: What is the Cost of Your Downtime?

Find out how much your downtime, both planned and unplanned, is really costing you -- and what you can do about it.

Machine Monitoring
Machine Monitoring: What is the Cost of Your Downtime?
Machine Monitoring
Machine Monitoring
Food & Beverages Processing
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Consumer Product Goods
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Material Building & Construction
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Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)
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Pharmaceuticals & Supplements
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Packaging & Co-manufacturing
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While you may think of downtime as only relating to your technology, the truth is that any time your plant isn't operating at maximum efficiency, you stand to lose money. Find out how much your downtime, both planned and unplanned, is really costing you -- and what you can do about it.

Analyze Your Current Metrics in real time

You can only reduce your downtime when you know how you are doing. Review data to determine how many downtime events your business has had (say, in the last year), how long the downtime lasted, what percentage downtime you had, and what percentage availability you had. 

What you find out may surprise you. Businesses who mine their metrics often realize they have much more downtime across a one-year period than they originally realized. 

Be Break Aware to maximize productivity

Too many informal breaks can reduce productivity onsite. Create a break aware culture where employees understand they need to start work fresh at the beginning of the day and remain focused through the end of the work day. Lunch and rest breaks are allowed, but other than those planned breaks, staff should be 100 percent productive. 

Wisely Schedule Production and Maintenance

After you analyze your data, compare the scheduled production hours to the actual production hours. Is your facility meeting production goals or are you falling short of where you want to be? 

If you don't already, try scheduling maintenance during off-hours so it interferes less with productivity. By being smart about when you are scheduling maintenance, you can be as productive as possible while keeping your system up to date. 

Maintain and Clean Key Equipment 

Your facility can only be as efficient as your equipment. If your capital equipment is not working, then it cuts into your productivity. If capital equipment is broken, schedule a service appointment so you can maximize efficiency and revenue. If your equipment is due for regular maintenance, schedule maintenance appointments now. 

Many manufacturing facilities make do with older equipment, which may struggle to keep pace with minimum standards. If your facility is relying on older equipment, you have two choices: Stop and get preventative maintenance to boost the capability and efficiency of your old equipment, or stop investing in your old equipment and purchase efficient replacements to boost your capacity and modernize your plant. If you've been meaning to replace that old bottling line someday, perhaps now is the time. 

Along with periodic maintenance, review equipment cleaning times to see whether you can streamline the cleaning process. Cleaning needs vary by the type of manufacturing facility. While a water bottling plant may need to be cleaned on a weekly basis, a chicken processing plant must be cleaned every day. 

Determine when your plant is cleaned and how it affects productivity. Could you clean the site at another time, thereby gaining a few more minutes of uptime? Could you stagger cleaning across your facility's equipment so there's always work being done?

Monitor Performance and Look for Trends in Shift Output

If your employees don't have sufficient training, they cannot match the output of more experienced workers who received on-the-job training. If you notice trends in productivity -- for instance, a dip in output when newer workers are manning the machines -- then it could point to insufficient training on the line. 

If the data shows machines frequently clog or break down, so mid-shift maintenance is required, then you're paying employees to be on the clock regardless of whether they're producing value for your organization. If you're often calling in external resources to come and fix a problem, you're spending money over and above what you are losing in productivity. 

Lastly, review employee scheduling data to see whether there are differences between day and night shift output. You may find that moving more employees from the night to the day shift increases productivity because workers have more energy and focus. 

Compare Product Data with Analytics

After reviewing downtime by employee teams and by machines, look at the data on different products. Some products naturally require more resources and time, which could translate to more downtime due to equipment malfunctions.

Aim to identify the top three products in your portfolio that create the most frequent episodes of downtime. Downtime can occur when you run out of raw material and need to wait for delivery, when equipment needs cleaning or servicing, or when employees need to respond to an unexpected problem during manufacturing. 

Automate Data Collection in your Smart Factory

To really figure out where you are experiencing downtime and what you can do about it, you'll need to dig into data from equipment, shifts, products, and more. Automate data collection to make this easier for you and get your employees information that helps them thrive. 

Then dig through the data, looking for areas where you can quickly make improvements (aka "low hanging fruits"). Often, just by looking at data that's been collected over a time frame, you'll be able to spot patterns you would not have noticed by just thinking about shift or facility performance. For instance, you might find that turning off the break room television increases productivity. 

Making change is never easy, but the right mindset can help you find success with increasing efficiency. Test out different approaches to the way you handle everything from cleaning to staffing, and increase employee buy-in by looking to workers for their suggestions on how things might improve. Gather data around the new procedure, then compare whether it's making your factory more efficient by increasing uptime. Any improvement you make translate directly to more profits. 

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