The Art of Making the Most Out of Planned Downtimes     

By far, one of the most frustrating “costs of doing business” for any manufacturer is downtime in all its forms. 

Yes, if you had to pick between unplanned and planned downtimes, the latter is always preferred. Planned periods of downtime you can control, whereas unplanned instances are fraught with uncertainty and frustration. 

Having said that, you don’t necessarily have to write planned downtimes off as an “inconvenience that you’re just going to have to deal with.” In fact, you can actually turn it into an opportunity to shift your attention to other matters that are just as critical to your long-term success. 

Turning Planned Downtime Into an Opportunity: Your Overview 

Obviously, whether you’re talking about a planned lunch break period or an entire shift change, you’ll want to keep even your planned downtimes as short and as infrequent as possible. Every minute that those machines are offline is a minute that you’re not making money and especially given everything that is going on in the world right now, that’s probably a situation you’d want to avoid if you’re able to. 

Having said that, planned downtimes are actually a perfect opportunity to take care of a lot of those preventative maintenance items that you’ve been working through on your checklist. Rather than waiting for something to break so that you can fix it, it makes far more sense to stop a small problem today before it has a chance to become a much bigger (not to mention more expensive) one down the road. 

Of course, maybe the biggest criticism that a lot of people have when it comes to preventative maintenance is that you’re performing “excessive maintenance.” To put it another way, people are concerned that technicians are spending so much time inspecting and maintaining pieces of equipment that probably don’t (yet) require that level of attention-to-detail. 

While this is certainly valid from one perspective, it also underlines the importance of having the right downtime tracking solution by your side in the first place. By understanding the maximum potential of each piece of equipment on your shop floor, and by being able to take a closer look at their current status at a moment’s notice, you always know WHERE to direct those human resources during periods of planned downtimes. 

They don’t have to spend time inspecting everything only to accomplish nothing if everything is working as it should be. But by tracking OEE, you won’t have to go looking for those “small problems to fix” today because the data will come right out and tell you. That way, during shift changes or lunch periods, technicians can step in and address those issues to avoid costly UNPLANNED periods of downtime moving forward. 

If you’d like to find out even more information about what you can do to make the most out of planned downtime events, or if you’d just like to discuss your needs as a business with someone in a bit more detail, please don’t delay – contact Thrive today.