Downtime in the manufacturing process is one of the biggest causes of lost productivity. It delays the production process and ripples throughout the supply chain, ultimately affecting your ROI. Here are five ways to reduce unexpected downtime, eliminate delays, and keep your business running smoothly.
Cross-train employees. One of the most important aspects of running a successful manufacturing business is keeping your employees well-trained and current in their skills. In order to do this, you must provide your employees with a variety of opportunities to learn new things.
Cross-training, or training employees in other functional company areas is a key component of a successful manufacturing strategy. It enables companies to expand their workforce and tap into a rich talent pool of employees with various skills and expertise.
The last thing you need is for an issue to arise only to find that the only person who can fix it is off-site or on vacation. Cross-training also enables employees to broaden their skill set, which can improve their performance in their current role and ensures that there’s always someone who can fill in or troubleshoot should the need arise. Putting in the effort now can reduce downtime and help companies strengthen their operations and increase productivity.
Perform an equipment audit. At least once a year, perform an audit to identify obsolete or aging equipment. An audit allows you to proactively prepare to ensure that you have sourced and stocked replacement parts to reduce the risk of future downtime.
It’s not uncommon in the manufacturing world to have equipment that is more than ten years old or pieces only used a few times a year. For older equipment, if something breaks, it could be weeks (or months, given today’s supply chain issues) to get a part, and for equipment that is used infrequently, making sure it’s in working order is important for when you do need it.
Move to a preventive maintenance model. When equipment is properly maintained, it is far less likely to break down and cause unexpected downtime so a preventive maintenance model is idea for manufacturing. Unlike the “Fail and Fix” method of maintaining equipment, with preventive maintenance, you eliminate the fear that “Today’s the Day” for something to break.
When you’re planning and setting up a schedule for technology and equipment, categorize them based on the impact they have to your production process. For example, setting up separate preventative maintenance schedules for your manufacturing equipment and machinery would make sense since these are generally more integral to your production process than office or shipping equipment. This way, you can ensure that your equipment is getting the proper amount of care and attention, and you can focus your resources on the equipment that’s causing the most issues. You can also use this system to identify areas for improvement and create action plans for improving performance.
Invest in backups. The best-laid plans often go awry. When something goes wrong, the last thing you need is to have to find parts. Having backup equipment for essential functions can help manufacturers reduce or eliminate unnecessary downtime.
If you have a duplicate on hand, you can minimize downtime by quickly repairing or replacing broken equipment. Even if the backup equipment is less efficient than the primary equipment, at least it will keep operations afloat until you have a fix.
Maintain and monitor. Your manufacturing equipment is the backbone of your business. No matter how large or small your manufacturing operation is, the key to reducing downtime is to maintain and monitor your equipment. You can use equipment monitoring systems to detect when a machine is operating abnormally, which gives you a chance to address the issue before it causes significant downtime.
Downtime in your manufacturing process is a costly inconvenience. It often causes production delays, resulting in missed deadlines and lost revenue. When there’s less downtime, you can increase output and produce more inventory. This results in missed deadlines and higher costs for both raw materials and finished products. But by ensuring that your manufacturing equipment is adequately maintained and monitored, you can eliminate downtime as much as possible and keep your employees productive throughout the manufacturing process.
With a focus on ease of use and maintenance, Miltec UV’s HPI lamps and reflectors are easy to change and our built-in touchscreen allows you to control, monitor, and troubleshoot more than 15 features of your system. This focus enables you to more effectively monitor for issues, avoid unplanned downtime, and speed up the maintenance process, ultimately increasing production and your bottom line.
Learn more when you download The True Cost of Manufacturing Downtime infographic.