Downtime has a tangible impact on production, revenue, and an asset’s lifecycle costs. Hence why it is critical to accurately track downtime data to spot and remedy problematic trends. This article shares a few of the many benefits of collecting downtime data. 

Key Takeaways

  • Downtime has a tangible impact on production, revenue, and an asset’s lifecycle costs
  • Two commonly used tools to track downtime are a CMMS and EAM
  • Downtime data can be used as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track the impact of maintenance strategies
  • There are five benefits to tracking equipment downtime, including improved PM programs

Equipment downtime is costing your organization – big time. In fact, according to one study released by Aberdeen, the average cost per hour of downtime is $260,000 USD. And that cost is steadily rising. However, despite the fact that reducing equipment downtime is a top priority for many organizations, maintenance teams across industries often grapple with scheduling maintenance activities to minimize their downtime. 

Quick summary of downtime 

In a recent article covering Mean Downtime, we shared an in-depth definition of equipment downtime and its subcomponents, planned vs. unplanned downtime. In short, downtime is the timeframe that an asset is not in operation and results in a pause in production. These fall under two downtime categories: 1) scheduled downtime and 2) unscheduled downtime.

The impact of equipment downtime 

Downtime has a tangible impact on production, revenue, and an asset’s lifecycle costs. Hence why it is critical to gather accurate failure data to spot and remedy problematic trends.  

Using a mixture of data-gathering tools, such as equipment condition monitoring devices and maintenance management systems, maintenance teams can gain insights into:  

  • the impact a downtime event has on the availability of critical assets 
  • the frequency of downtime events 
  • how long it takes to restore an asset back to its intended function 
  • the cost of downtime events 

More importantly, by developing a proper system for tracking and identifying problematic trends, maintenance departments can make critical improvements to reduce the time a machine is down.  

This makes understanding the best practices for collecting data, which key data to review, and how to act upon this information critical. 

Value of tracking equipment downtime 

By tracking downtime and making this data actionableyou will find yourself in a better position to make smart decisions about your maintenance strategy 

  • Maintenance process improvements.

    Tracking downtime allows maintenance managers to identify areas where processes could be causing unnecessary delays and bring clarity to questions on an asset’s availability. This allows continuous improvement with respect to maintenance processes, such as how to distribute maintenance resources, where to improve repair time efficiency, and whether to repair or replace an asset. 

  • Calculate your true cost of downtime.

    A CMMS or EAM system will help keep track of man hours, repair costs, emergency parts ordering and other factors that are adding to your hours of downtime equipment costs. By tracking these downtime factors, you can get a clearer picture of how lost productivity is affecting revenue. This is useful information wheestablishing department budgets and allocating resources. 

  • Enables dynamic maintenance reporting.

    By using a tool like a CMMS or an EAM system, maintenance leaders can easily create reports showing the amount of time spent on each type of maintenance activity. From there, they can view the percentage of time spent on preventive maintenance versus replacement. They can also view how often maintenance tasks were performed on specific assets.

    These reports can provide valuable insight into how well the company’s maintenance strategy is working. In addition, they can be shared with stakeholders to show them exactly how effective the company’s current maintenance practices are.

  • Establish ‘Standard Operating Procedures’.

    By making the previously mentioned decisions using a data-backed approach, maintenance managers can set up Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This dictates how day-to-day activities contribute to overall uptime. 

    By following established procedures, maintenance teams can ensure that their workflows are optimized and streamlined, which reduces the risk of operator error. It also sets up naming conventions that help to standardize parts and components, which allow for interchangeability and efficiency in the repair process. 

  • Improved Preventive Maintenance Programs.

    Finally, by using a data-based approach to decision-making, maintenance managers can improve their programs with greater confidence. They can monitor the effectiveness of their current program, and adjust their strategy based on the results. For example, if an asset has been performing poorly, it may indicate that the current maintenance plan is not addressing the root cause of the issue for that particular asset. 

    In this case, the manager would need to reevaluate their maintenance strategy and figure out what needs to change. The same goes for assets that have been performing well. If the asset continues to perform well, the manager should consider changing the maintenance plan to accommodate its continued success. 

How to track equipment downtime 

Many organizations have invested in digital solutions to gather asset data, analyze real-time data, and share this information on a centralized dashboard. Two commonly used technology platforms are a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system.

A CMMS is used to manage all phases of asset management including preventive, predictive, corrective, and recovery actions. It provides detailed information about the health of each component and helps identify potential issues before they become problems.

An EAM system is another tool that focuses on the operational aspects of asset management, including monitoring the performance of your machines and understanding what is happening when things go wrong. EAM systems collect data from sensors installed on machinery and other sources to figure out if something is broken. It is highly effective for supporting ambitions around preventive maintenance and for ensuring asset stability.

Data collection tools for tracking downtime

A great benefit of CMMS and EAM systems is that all this data is tracked and backed up for future reference, regardless of who is operating or working on a machine. However, a critical point to remember is that these data points should have standardized naming conventions and open fields should be limited as much as possible. The more exact historical data that is collected on these systems, the easier it will be for maintenance to collect failure data to track down problematic trends. 

Maintenance metrics

This information can then be summarized in a report used to establish key maintenance metrics. For example, if we isolate failure, we should know an asset’s:

These can be used as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and influence benchmarks to track the impact of maintenance strategies or objectives. 

Closing the loopActing on downtime data 

By this point the benefit of tracking downtime is apparent. However, knowing the data points to track and implement a CMMS or EAM system is only half the journey. One must put this knowledge to use and connect the dots between people, processes, and tools that help strengthen an organization’s maintenance strategy. 

data-driven maintenance approach can lead to improved productivity, increase in revenue and profitability, and improve customer value. 

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