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Reduce the Cost of Planned Downtime with Maintenance Automation

April 1, 2021

In all production facilities, maintenance is involved in a variety of activities, from special projects, outages and equipment refurbishing to daily maintenance programs. All these efforts require planned downtime. Product changeover, when a manufacturing plant switches from producing one product to another, also occurs during planned downtime.

These efforts generally shut down production, even if only for a short time, which can still come with a hefty price tag. That cost varies based upon the level of planning and automation in which the company engages. Consequently, shrewd facility leaders seek to eliminate as much time and effort as possible from all planned downtime work. That effort rewards them with the recapture of production time.

Planned downtime is essential for manufacturers to decrease the chances of unplanned downtime, a much costlier and disruptive process. (Numerous studies have been conducted to estimate the value of unplanned downtime, which costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion annually. Research firm Aberdeen estimates the average cost of unplanned downtime can be as high as $250,000 per hour.)

Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) Prove Their Worth

CMMS systems are best known for their ability to reduce outages (unplanned downtime). However, they can also reduce planned downtime. CMMS systems capture small problems before they become big ones, so they can be scheduled as part of a planned downtime event. Furthermore, full-featured CMMS like Tero Azzier support proactive scheduling, assignment and prioritization of maintenance tasks so no jobs fall through the cracks.

Another area where CMMS can save firms money is through the increase in labor productivity when planned downtime is managed by a CMMS. Published studies have proven that proactive human resource allocation can increase labor productivity by as much as 24%. One example of time savings is elimination of duplicate data entry. A second, but no less important, savings comes through more efficient inventory flow, which reduces the time spent waiting for or sourcing parts.

Consider this example: A company with large, geographically dispersed regions has maintenance people spending a great deal of time driving between locations to conduct planned maintenance. A full-featured CMMS like Azzier could record all travel time, enabling leadership to determine whether adding more workers would enable each worker to spend less time traveling and more time maintaining assets.

In a shop of 10 maintenance staff averaging $30.00 per hour, increasing productive time spent on physical maintenance by 15% adds an additional 9 minutes per hour of productivity. The savings would be measured as follows:

9 min/hr X 7.5 hr/day ÷ 60 min/hr = 1.125 hours per day added productivity

1.125 hr/day X 220 working days/year = 247.5 hours per year added productivity

247.5 hr/yr X $30.00/hr/staff X 10 staff = $74,250.00 total labor savings

This hard evidence illustrates just one of many tangible benefits for organizations that implement a CMMS. Over time, the cost savings alone could far outweigh the initial implementation and software costs. Planned downtime will always carry some expense. However, prioritizing and expediting the effort with the help of a CMMS can substantially reduce the impact on operating and profit margins. In the case of product changeovers, it will also eliminate the impact on customer delivery.

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