Downtime is the duration of time during which equipment or machinery is inoperable or not in use. There are numerous causes for downtime, including equipment failures or breakdowns, maintenance or repair work, and software or system difficulties. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of downtime:
1. Human error – People make an alarming number of mistakes while on the job – from operating equipment correctly to failing to follow established rules properly. These actions can lead to the breakdown of equipment or disrupt processes, leading to downtime.
2. Equipment failure - Failures or breakdowns of equipment can be caused by a variety of circumstances, including mechanical problems, electrical issues, and component malfunction.
3. Maintenance or repair work - In order to keep equipment or machinery in proper functioning condition, it may be necessary to take it offline for maintenance or repair work.
4. Power outages – Issues with power supply can be a cause of downtime, especially if equipment runs on electricity or needs software or the Internet to function.5. Software or system issues - System issues such as bugs, outdated software, compatibility issues, and even cybersecurity attacks like malware can cause software and systems to glitch, malfunction, or shut down.
How to Reduce Downtime
By conducting regular inspections, you can find potential issues before they cause downtime. Here are 3 ways inspections can help you prevent downtime:
1. Preventative maintenance - While maintenance or repair work is a cause for downtime, it is far better to schedule when to take equipment offline so that it causes the least disruption rather than wait until the machine breaks down unexpectedly. During an inspection, you can discover and address possible causes of equipment failure or breakdown causes, such as electrical or mechanical issues. By periodically examining and maintaining equipment, its dependability can be increased, thereby decreasing the likelihood of unanticipated malfunctions.
2. Identify (and deal with) equipment that is no longer fit for use - During an inspection, if the equipment is determined to be in bad condition or no longer suitable for use, it can be replaced or phased out before it causes unexpected issues.
3. Identify gaps in training and knowledge – Inspections are good opportunities to identify if workers lack training and knowledge. Since human error is a primary cause of downtime, make regular inspections a part of your process and risk mitigation strategy. This helps create a culture in your company that reducing downtime and disruption is the responsibility of all.
Downtime can negatively affect a company by decreasing productivity, increasing costs, and disrupting business operations. Businesses need to reduce downtime to optimize efficiency and output.