Unplanned downtime has always been one of the biggest challenges for manufacturing maintenance organizations.

Recent studies indicate that unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion each year. “The cost of unplanned downtime can be devastating, ranging from an estimated $10,000 to $250,000 per hour for industrial plants”, according to Asset Performance Management: Blazing a Better Path to Operational Excellence, November, 2017.

Most organizations have at least some idea of their unplanned downtime costs. While it may represent significant money, many companies are not focused on addressing the problem, which is why industry-wide costs remain in the billions of dollars.

For companies that have begun to address their asset health and have implemented programs to reduce unplanned downtime, the results are significant. According to Aberdeen, plant unscheduled downtime for the Best-in-Class (top 20% of respondents based on performance) is four times better than that of All Others. Best-in-Class manufacturers also report a year over year unplanned downtime decrease of 9% while All Others reported no decrease at all, according to Asset Performance Management: Blazing a Better Path to Operational Excellence, November, 2017.

Steps to address unplanned downtime

The graphic below shows several steps that manufacturing companies can take to begin addressing unplanned downtime.

Accruent – Maintenance Connection – Blog Posts - Are Manufacturers Solving the Unplanned Downtime Challenge?

Implementing a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) like Maintenance Connection is a straightforward way to begin moving from a reactionary approach to unplanned downtime events to a proactive mindset that can not only reduce unplanned downtime, saving companies money, but also lower overall maintenance program costs.

The initial entry point is, in many cases, much lower than a single unplanned downtime event. A CMMS is a critical foundation on which to build an effective maintenance program. Many companies have taken this step, while others continue to use spreadsheets or even paper-based systems. These approaches can make it challenging to concisely collect data and it can also be very difficult to extract meaningful data from manually reviewing stacks of paper with a large volume of work order history.

The insight from a CMMS can be used to create an effective proactive maintenance or Preventive Maintenance (PM) program. Calendar-based approaches to PMs are common, and may be weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. depending on the system. Leading companies estimate that 33% of organizational asset maintenance is “proactive maintenance.” According to "The Rise of Remote Assets" by the Aberdeen Group, October 2017.

As easily searchable data becomes available in digital format, identifying trends is simplified. Conclusions can be drawn from that data about what triggers repetitive equipment downtime, whether it be the number of revolutions of a motor or something like a temperature reading from an associated piece of equipment. These triggers can be used to establish a Predictive Maintenance program. Developing a PM program generally requires having robust instrumentation in place and a complete understanding of how various process and asset information is related and the ways they can impact equipment downtime. Significant progress can be made in battling unplanned downtime through either proactive approach which can be useful in helping companies reduce, and often eliminate, unplanned downtime.

Manufacturing companies are continuing to lose significant money as a result of unplanned downtime. A CMMS is a strong first step in getting unplanned downtime under control.

Learn how Maintenance Connection helped the New York Times Automate Preventive Maintenance.