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Reference » Factory Downtime
Factory Downtime

How Much Downtime Do You Have?

May, 2006

Russell D. White, P.E.
President, Automation Technologies, Inc.

How much downtime does your plant have?  I recently asked a client this question and was astounded to hear, “well we don’t have any definite numbers, but…” If you don’t have accurate information about something as important as when a machine or line is running, how can you ever hope to improve its operation?  Producing or not producing.  There are not many more straight forward issues that can directly affect your bottom line, yet it amazes me that many facilities I visit have little or no accurate information concerning their equipment run status.  Oh, they may know this or that was down for a few hours the other day or this system never seems to run right, but with these anecdotal kinds of tracking they never have a firm grip on what is going on in their facility.  Every production facility should have accurate information about when they are and when they are not producing - no matter what size.  Without solid tracking of this vital information, they are sure to be blindsided by a system going down for significant downtime that with accurate numbers would have been preventable. 

Downtime costs can be significant.  The argument can be made that downtime doesn’t just result in a loss of profit, but in a loss of the total revenue generated by the product that could have been produced.  With unplanned downtime you have the full costs of production with the exception of the raw materials.  The facility costs (lights, power, heat, etc) are still required and the production personnel are also still being paid.  Most all of your costs of production are still bleeding out in addition to the lost profit.  Ouch. 

Part 2  >

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