Downtime on the manufacturing floor is inevitable. Mechanics need to repair machines, perform inspections, or upgrade the entire plant. If the professionals in your organization don’t regularly repair and inspect machinery, downtime can be painful. In fact, top performers’ unplanned machine shutdowns take only 3% of run time while bottom performers double that amount. During this downtime, organization return on investment (ROI) is significantly reduced.
Nevertheless, even in moments when you can’t avoid unscheduled downtime, you can help minimize the impact it causes. And when you view the situation in a larger scope, downtime is beneficial not only to your machinery but also your staff.
It opens an opportunity for improved communications.
Case studies show communication between employees and management is imperative to boost efficiency. During or before downtime begins is a prime time for both teams to get together and discuss reasons for the action. These discussions are not meant for criticism or complaint without reason. Rather, they are intended for open discussion on company status and brainstorming ways everyone can increase productivity and efficiency.
It allows for additional training.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing in the manufacturing world, and it’s not because of the products produced. The most modern manufacturing machines connect to the Internet to report on productivity or alert employees to outages and repair situations. In other words, the IoT makes manufacturing smarter. And this means the employees who work on those machines need to be smart as well.
This requires training, and downtime is perfect for this. Instead of having employees sit around, bring in educators who can train them on new IoT machines or send employees to other locations to learn. This is also the moment to introduce cross-training to all employees so productivity and efficiency remain high when employees are temporarily out or resign.
It allows for a business continuity (BC) review.
As we mentioned in the beginning, downtime is inevitable. However, you can mitigate loss of productivity and business due to unpredicted downtime with a BC plan. In fact, 73% of organizations aren’t protecting themselves well enough against disaster, so this period of downtime is the right moment to put one together. All parties need to be involved in training and communication to prevent production and revenue loss.
Many manufacturers already know this information but don’t implement it. Take advantage of the downtime and make the most out of it for your management and employees. If you implement just one of these items, you’ll likely see an increase in productivity, efficiency, and happiness in your workplace.