Reduce downtime in production facilities with these 4 tips

Published: 2022-01-27
Written by: Linn Björklund

There’s a lot of truth in the expression “what gets measured gets done”. Unless you start tracking the causes of unplanned downtime or breakdowns in your facilities, you won’t know what measures to take to improve availability in the future. Therefore, documentation and traceability are key to reduce downtime. But how do you prioritise these matters in a busy workday? These four tips will help you succeed.

1. Build a continuous improvement culture

Making sure everyone knows what they’re supposed to do is one thing; getting that bevaviour to really stick in the group on a day-to-day basis is a different matter. To succeed requires clear leadership and division of responsibilities. The employees need to understand the purpose – and see the results of – following the established routines and documenting every defect and deviation. Otherwise, lack of motivation (and human error) will lead to negligence, low priority, and important data not being recorded. Again, continuous follow-ups are crucial. They will show the long-term results of performing tasks that might be difficult to see the immediate impact of and allow plant managers to detect if anything has been neglected. Doing the right thing should be easy and rewarding; not doing it needs to have consequences – before it causes another unplanned stoppage.

Find out more in the article How to establish a continuous improvement culture for your facility.

2. Simplify, and digitize frontline reporting

The bigger the facility, the more there is to control and document, which becomes overwhelming if done on paper. More and more companies use digital systems for documenting and following up on stoppages and downtime (caused by acute corrective maintenance or other disruptions), as well as detailed checklists and routines for preventative maintenance tasks. This enables extensive documentation with categorisation, photos, and comments showing the full historic records – without requiring vast resources; neither in time nor storage space. By connecting the control systems of your machines, vehicles, or facilities, you can make sure different routines are activated automatically after a specified production time, mileage, or number of produced units. This makes your maintenance work more accurate than if a routine is carried out at a fixed time interval, regardless of the actual production during the time span.

BEST PRACTICE  Get the 9 keys to maximise availability through frontline digitisation  Download guide

3. Keep a downtime log

Keep a downtime log that includes all forms of standstills, disruptions, and acute corrective maintenance that cause downtime. Make sure the documentation is as detailed as possible with photos and comments to clearly show what led up to the stoppage, which part of the facility caused it, as well as how long the downtime lasted, and what measures were taken to solve the problem.

By continuously collecting this data, you can start mapping out which types of issues are causing the most disruptions to planned production. That way, you’ll have the facts in place to make well-informed decisions that will reduce unplanned downtime in the future. Examples of measures could be improving routines and processes or calculating the ROI of larger investments needed to eliminate the root cause of recurring stoppages. The documentation in the log also minimises the risk of important information being lost if someone in the team should fall ill or leave the company.

4. Do continuous follow-ups

Documentation is an important first step, but without a proper follow-up, it won’t provide the desired results. Don’t let your documentation collect dust on a shelf somewhere. Identify stoppages where you see a pattern as well as the biggest potential for improvement. Analyse the root causes and set up an action plan to design them out or create additional routines to minimise future breakdowns. Include continuous follow-ups as a regular part of the agenda on weekly or monthly staff meetings. That way, you’ll show staff that these matters are prioritised by the company. It also means important lessons can be learned and shared directly with the entire team.

Want to know what CheckProof can do for you?

CheckProof's easy-to-use app makes it easier to do the right thing at the right time. Discover how you can run world-class maintenance that is both cost-effective and sustainable.

Book a demo
Featured image for “SOP compliance: How to get your frontline teams on board”

SOP compliance: How to get your frontline teams on board

Setting up SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for crucial tasks is an effective way to ensure safe and consistent work methods across your heavy industry sites. At least if your SOPs are available, relevant, and easy to use for frontline workers – which is, unfortunately, not always the case. This article offers you eight best practices that will help improve SOP compliance by adapting your instructions to suit the people who depend most on them. 
Featured image for “Lack of documentation = lack of HSE compliance. Here’s how to fix it.”

Lack of documentation = lack of HSE compliance. Here’s how to fix it.

To keep your frontline workers safe – and prove HSE compliance to external auditors – you need quick access to all required documentation for hazardous tasks. Find out how switching to digital processes will help you save time and improve traceability across your heavy industry sites.
Featured image for “Downtime reduction: 6 ways to optimize your heavy industry operations”

Downtime reduction: 6 ways to optimize your heavy industry operations

To run a profitable business, you need to optimize the use of critical resources such as equipment, energy, and manpower. One of the most important elements of resource optimization in heavy industries is downtime reduction. The key to success? Proactivity. 
Featured image for “Resource Optimization”

Resource Optimization

By optimizing the utilization of your resources, your business can increase your operational efficiency, reduce your carbon footprint, and cut costs. This comprehensive article covers various aspects of resource optimization, primarily in a heavy industry context. You’ll learn about everything from the definition of common terms to the benefits of implementing digital technology in your frontline teams.  Table of contents: 
Featured image for “Skills shortage in heavy industries: how technology can help”

Skills shortage in heavy industries: how technology can help

If your business relies on skilled and experienced frontline workers, you’re probably struggling with the same challenges as many of your industry peers: How can you replace the generation of workers now reaching retirement age? And how do you ensure you don’t lose the valuable knowledge they’ve gathered through the years?
Featured image for “How to bridge the communication gap between frontline and office”

How to bridge the communication gap between frontline and office

Where there’s a lack of communication between frontline workers and management in a heavy industry company, there’s also a lack of cooperation and mutual understanding. By successfully bridging this gap, your business won’t only improve workplace safety and employee engagement. You’ll also save vast amounts of money.
Featured image for “Sustainable aggregates: challenges and solutions for a rapidly changing industry ”

Sustainable aggregates: challenges and solutions for a rapidly changing industry 

Electrification, technological development, and tackling climate change are all top priorities for the aggregates industry. What are the main obstacles toward a more sustainable industry, and what actions must be taken to reach the climate goals going forward? Although the numbers are looking bleak, there’s a great deal of optimism among industry players and experts within sustainable technology.
Featured image for “Unannounced inspections? With these 6 steps, your plant is always ready ”

Unannounced inspections? With these 6 steps, your plant is always ready 

All of a sudden, a government inspector walks into your plant. Before you could blink, they already noticed that one of your processing equipment is missing its guard. The next minute, you’re served a hefty fine, and your plant is ordered to shut down until it’s fixed. To prevent this from happening again: what steps can you take to ensure your plant is always ready for an inspection?
Featured image for “Health, safety, environment, and quality (HSEQ)”

Health, safety, environment, and quality (HSEQ)

Without exaggeration, health and safety in the workplace is a matter of life and death. ILO (International Labour Organization) estimates the yearly number of work-related deaths globally to be nearly 2 million. Creating and maintaining a solid HSEQ framework is crucial for protecting your employees – but also your business – from harm. This comprehensive article will walk you through the key areas of HSEQ and what you need to set up a successful strategy.
Featured image for “Preventive Maintenance – What it is, examples, and benefits”

Preventive Maintenance – What it is, examples, and benefits

Preventive maintenance is the practice of routinely inspecting and proactively servicing your facility’s equipment. This way, you’re able to notice minor issues and fix them before they turn into machine failure – in contrast to acting after. In this comprehensive article, we touch on everything from different types of preventive maintenance to implementing an efficient and future-proof maintenance plan.