How Manufacturers Reduce Downtime & Maximise Production With a CMMS

CMMS Software / December 2022

Between 2015 and 2018, 82% of manufacturing companies experienced at least one case of unplanned downtime. Costly downtime of manufacturing equipment, slow production processes, and a lack of asset data are some of the most common challenges manufacturing teams face.

This can harm operations in several ways, including:

  • Disruption to business
  • Excessive emergency repair costs
  • Reduction in employee productivity
  • Damaged reputation and loyalty

Because of this, businesses are pointed in the direction of specifically targeted maintenance software for their manufacturing maintenance needs, or a Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS).

Why Businesses Choose a CMMS for Their Manufacturing Processes

A CMMS reduces maintenance costs and prolong the useful life of production-critical assets is essential for various organisations and industries, such as oil and gas, and – most importantly – manufacturing.

Whether managing an entire plant or leading a production line, carrying out responsibilities for the efficient production of tangible goods can be overwhelming. Especially if businesses are using paper-based methods or spreadsheets to track and manage their maintenance processes.

As well as making sure all equipment is compliant and in optimal working condition through scheduled maintenance and repairs, it is a business’s job to keep the production line in operation. That includes maintaining heavy machinery and equipment, organising inventory, placing orders for spare parts, and collecting equipment performance data.

Without the use of a digital maintenance solution, manufacturers face several challenges. One common issue is experiencing unplanned downtime of critical equipment. Manufacturers face an unprecedented loss of up to $260,000 per hour through unplanned downtime alone.

Other challenges that manufacturing companies will face include:

  • Overstocked/understocked inventory of spare parts
  • Lack of essential equipment and performance data
  • Delayed or missed work orders
  • Expensive equipment and machinery replacements

But, with a Manufacturing CMMS solution, these issues can be a thing of the past.

Operating from a centralised database, users can utilise tools and get a better hand on maintenance activities. By supporting a preventive maintenance strategy, a CMMS will increase uptime and life of machinery, reduce downtime during working hours, and efficiently handle work orders.

Find the Best Maintenance Management Software to Reduce Unplanned Downtime

Get Started

What Type of Assets Are You Looking to Maintain?

3 Ways Manufacturers Can Reduce Unplanned Downtime

Manufacturers tend to rely heavily on a production line of automated machinery to produce finished goods. The mass production of discounted raw materials keeps labour costs to a minimum while gaining higher profit margins. But, with a reliance on equipment and machinery, the risk of falling foul to unplanned downtime can be devastating.

A company that experienced this first-hand was Simons Feed Ingredients (SFI), a manufacturer of animal nutrition. During a period of unscheduled downtime, due to a change of machinery lubrication oils, they were forced to sell their perishable ingredients to customers at a reduced cost to avoid expiration.

However, there are three opportunities available to manufacturers to help limit the possibility of unplanned downtime and keep unexpected costs low.

1. Upgrade Equipment and Machinery

Outdated and old equipment can prove troublesome for operators. It results in delays to jobs and can slow down the manufacturing process as a whole. To combat this, ensure that all obsolete assets are replaced. Although this can depend on revenue restraints, the improvement in machine performance and job completion times can outweigh the costs.

2. Increase Employee Training

70% of manufacturing downtime and equipment loss can be traced back to human error. Without proper training, your employees could be accountable for a loss in production. Simply because they haven’t been trained correctly. By sending staff on training courses and providing the right resources, human error is reduced. Employees can understand how to correctly operate machinery, how to use tools effectively, and even how to fix a broken machine. Ultimately reducing delays and downtime.

3. Deploy CMMS Software

Purchasing automated tools such as CMMS Software and digitising your manufacturing data might sound expensive, but it’s an investment that will pay off in the long term. A CMMS will provide you with the knowledge to help reduce your manufacturing downtime. Digitised maintenance tools are designed to centralise all maintenance data, allowing operators and maintenance teams to maximise the usability of assets. There are several benefits of using CMMS Software, such as:

  • Providing asset and work order visibility
  • Increasing operational efficiency
  • Controlling inventory, waste, and running costs
  • Ensuring compliance management
  • Improving workplace health and safety

What Is the True Cost of Downtime In Manufacturing?

Manufacturing downtime occurs when a piece of equipment or machinery is not in operation. For instance, a manufacturer may stop production to carry out maintenance and repairs on a machine to help improve performance. This type of downtime is harmless, and can even be necessary. But, there are other types of downtime that have a less desired impact.

Instead of upgrades and scheduled maintenance, downtime in manufacturing plants can be caused by a number of unexpected errors. This is when a system fails to provide or perform its primary function, known as unplanned downtime.

Unplanned downtime can be the result of multiple factors. It could be caused by an operating error, poor maintenance, or even a software bug.

The Cost of Unplanned Downtime in Manufacturing without preventive maintenance

In 2016, offshore oil and gas organisations highlighted an average annual loss of $38 million due to unplanned downtime. With the worst impact costing upwards of $88 million.

Ultimately, 46% of companies couldn’t deliver the services they promised to customers.

5 Additional Benefits of Using a Maintenance System In Manufacturing

The benefits reaped by using a CMMS for manufacturing maintenance activities are vast. Overall, the right tool will help to control costs and increase efficiency throughout a production line. There are many key benefits that can help businesses get to this stage, including:

1. Schedule Preventive Maintenance

Aside from further employee training and lengthy risk audits, the most effective way to overcome costly equipment outages is through preventive maintenance. Also referred to as preventative maintenance, this approach is the process of regularly performing checks while equipment is still in working order.

The aim of a preventive maintenance program is to build a maintenance schedule that reduces the likelihood of equipment failure to prevent downtime before it happens.

Users are able to log all past service reports and collect real-time operational data. As well as scheduling equipment maintenance based on automated triggers for running time, usage, and condition. All with the intention to build the most efficient maintenance program for keeping production lines in optimal working order and extending the usable life of equipment.

In the case of SFI, the company changed its maintenance program from reactive to preventive. This meant that instead of waiting until equipment failed to then fix it, which resulted in unscheduled downtime while waiting for spare parts, its newly formed maintenance schedule subsequently eliminated costly downtime. So much so, that SFI now acquires perishable goods from its competitors at a discounted price.

2. Track Work Orders

With manufacturing software, maintenance managers can build, track, review, and prioritise their team’s work orders. This feature can also be available to operators, technicians, and engineers. Each professional is able to submit maintenance and repair requests, input notes and documentation, mark a job as complete, and change equipment statuses.

A CMMS will also have the capacity to store all work order data, allowing users to view past data and plan for future reports. This data can include repair history, user manuals, documentation, and operational checklists.

3. Record Real-Time Asset Performance Data

Included in all digital manufacturing systems is a form of asset management. With this, businesses are able to analyse, access, and collect data in real-time to enhance the productivity of assets that are essential for production. This data is then stored and used to help build maintenance programs and identify trends.

Specific asset performance data includes:

  • Usage (hours, mileage, gauge readings, etc.)
  • Condition
  • Operators
  • Maintenance history
  • Purchase date
  • Compliance

4. Optimise Spare Parts and Inventory Management

A useful part of a CMMS tool is its ability to manage and track inventory. Not only does this produce a definitive figure as to how much inventory a business has, but it also helps save money on needless purchases. By knowing how many spare parts are available, businesses can instantly know if they’re understocked or overstocked. This is also helped by a CMMS’s automation feature, which can be programmed to order inventory when it is needed.

Users can also label, store, and assign the right spare parts to the right equipment. This means when an asset needs repairing, technicians will know which part is available and where to find it.

5. Access Manufacturing Data Anywhere at Any Time

With a cloud-based manufacturing CMMS solution, users can access, edit, and upload data from anywhere at any time from a mobile device. This allows field workers and technicians to use laptops, smartphones, and tablets to analyse important maintenance data. It also leads to a reduction in wait times and delays to work orders, as information is available instantly without having to wait for an email or phone call.

Use Our Maintenance Management Software Finder to Identify the Best Tool For Your Manufacturing Operations

What Type of Assets Are You Looking to Maintain?

Implementing a CMMS for Manufacturing Maintenance Activities

Once you’ve chosen a suitable CMMS vendor and product that matches your needs, there are a few final steps to take before presenting your option to the company’s decision-makers and getting buy-in:

  • Have a calculated ROI
  • Assemble an evaluation team to test the program (if you’re a smaller company, the evaluation team may only consist of yourself)
  • Ensure that everyone is happy with your choice (the tool will be used by most employees including technicians and the financial department)

Once your computerised maintenance management system is up and running, you’ll be on your way to figuring out the optimal running times for your equipment and building preventive maintenance schedules. You can begin to monitor the true cost of your maintenance and get detailed insights into your manufacturing operations. Eventually saving you thousands of pounds.