According to one recent study, the average cost of downtime across all businesses in 2016 came in at an enormous $260,000 per hour. Not only is that an incredible figure, but it was also a 60% jump from just a few years earlier in 2014 – a trend that unfortunately shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Unplanned downtime is the bane of manufacturers everywhere, and organizational leaders are always looking for opportunities to eliminate it wherever possible. Some do this by prioritizing proactive and preventative maintenance measures. Others choose to focus on productivity benchmarks like OEE, or Overall Equipment Effectiveness. Many do all of these things at the exact same time in an effort to collect as much actionable information as possible.
Tracking downtime is always recommended – but far too many organizations are still making the mistake of trying to do so by hand. Not only does this make it more difficult to understand the real situation you’re dealing with, but it brings with it a number of other distinct disadvantages, too.
Why Manual Downtime Tracking is a Mistake
Even small businesses these days have manufacturing processes that are becoming increasingly sophisticated as the result of not only their own digital transformations, but also due to factors like increased automation and the global reach of the supply chain. Because of this, adequately collecting downtime data by hand isn’t just difficult – in most cases, it’s truly impossible.
If machine operators are still manually reporting downtime instances on paper, it creates a situation where inaccuracies can easily develop. They’ve been trained to make sure that their machine stays online and that they keep producing – they’re not experts in documentation, nor should they be.
What you’re left with is a situation where unplanned downtime is still happening, but you don’t understand it nearly as much as you think you do. You’re making decisions based on inaccurate information and you’re ultimately just treating the symptom, not the disease.
With an automated downtime tracking solution like the one available from Thrive, on the other hand, you can rest easy knowing you truly understand your manufacturing floor better than ever. These solutions are often plug and play, meaning there is no server or PLC required and absolutely no software to install. Within mere seconds of activation, you can access a dashboard with real-time information about your equipment from any computer or device on Earth with an Internet connection.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about maintaining paper records that can A) be lost, or B) may not get into the hands of the people who need them. With automated downtime tracking software and built-in reporting tools, you can export your data directly to your ERP to make sure that the people who need that information to do their jobs have it. Information is flowing freely across your enterprise and you can capitalize on opportunities for improvement faster than ever, which in and of itself you can’t do if you’re still operating in a world of paper.