Measuring and Reducing Equipment Downtime

by ManagerPlus on July 16, 2019
Asset Management Toolkit

When your assets are in tip top shape, no one notices. However, when assets go down, everyone is looking at you to get things back up and running. You lose revenue and time, not to mention all the employee productivity. Downtime is not your friend. That’s why our focus today is on measuring and reducing downtime.

What can I measure with downtime?

There are two very important metrics that you can only find with downtime: Lost Time and Lost Revenue. Each of them relies on a log that can (and should) be associated with any asset: the Equipment Downtime Log. In ManagerPlus, this allows you to record the time that an asset was down, and then report on it.

We’ll be going over both and why you would use each.

Lost Time

Equipment downtime stopwatch recording in Equipment management software

The first way to measure your equipment downtime is in actual time. For a given asset (or set of assets), record the amount of time during each month that the asset is broken down. Keeping a running tally and comparing it to past months will help you know when an asset is having more issues than normal. Comparing the asset’s Lost Time with other assets will show which assets are breaking down more than others.

Lost Time can also be calculated as a percentage of all time that the asset is in use. This will typically be your organization’s hours of operation each day. So for example, if your facility is in operation for 8 hours/day, 20 days/month and a particular asset is down for one day during the month (8 hours), then the downtime on that particular asset is:

downtime-calculation or  downtime-calculation-example

This should be calculated for all assets and averaged. You can then compare individual assets against this average to see which assets are doing well and which could use improvement.

Now, Lost Time may not mean much on an asset like an elevator or light fixture. Redundancy makes those assets less than critical to daily operations. So how do you know which assets are critical? Which equipment downtime is the most important? With the second measure:

Lost Revenue

The second way to measure the impact of your downtime is through Lost Revenue. This will help you determine which assets are the most critical to your operations.

For a given asset, determine the amount of revenue that is lost if that asset goes down for an hour. For example, if an elevator goes down, production lines and revenue remain the same. Almost no revenue is dependent on a single elevator. However, if a processing machine goes down, it can halt the production of an entire production line, leading to the loss of all revenue from that line while it is down.

Determining the Lost Revenue per hour will clearly show which assets are critical (with the highest Lost Revenue per hour) and which have the smallest effect on your operations.

It is important to know that Lost Revenue is not the only way that machine downtime costs your organization. This figure does not include the lost productivity of your employees, who will still need to be paid, despite being unable to work.

Reducing Downtime

Now that you’ve recognized just what your equipment downtime is costing you, let’s look at ways of reducing it. This will include using Failure Codes to identify where the downtime is coming from, and reducing the Mean Time to Repair to reduce, or even eliminate downtime.

Failure Codes

The first thing you should be using is failure codes on your work orders. These are codes that indicate why the asset went down in the first place. These can include many things, but should at least include the following possibilities:

  • User Error (sometimes called Abuse)– The failure happen because someone used the asset incorrectly?
  • Failure to Perform PM – The failure would have been prevented if Preventive Maintenance had been performed.
  • Failure to Inspect – The breakdown would have been prevented or mitigated by an inspection, i.e. there were signs that the failure was going to occur that were not observed.
  • Cultural Failure – There policies or procedures that weren’t followed that could have prevented the failure.

When looking at a failure code, the most important thing to look at is the why behind the failure. When you have failure codes, you know what to focus on to help prevent future breakdowns and failures. If you’re noticing a lot of your machine downtime comes with a User Error failure code, then maybe it’s time to invest in some training to reduce those errors. If your downtime is coming from Failure to Perform PM failure codes, then policies focusing on PM completion will help reduce the equipment downtime. In each case, the failure code will help you know what needs to improve to reduce your downtime.


Mean Time to Repair

The second way to reduce downtime is by directly finding ways to take less time for asset maintenance or your Mean Time To Repair (MTTR). Remember that this is not just time spent on repairs. To shorten your MTTR, look at ways you could reduce the following:

  • Time to Assignment – How long, on average, does it take you to assign a work order to an employee after being notified that it is down? What could you do to reduce that time?
  • Time to Diagnosis – In the case where it is uncertain what caused the asset to go down, how long, on average, does it take you to perform an inspection to diagnose what happened? What could you do to reduce that time?
  • Time to acquire parts – Do you have the parts on hand in your inventory? How long does it take to find and retrieve them? If not, how long does it take to get that inventory in stock?
  • Time to repair the asset – Once an employee arrives to make the repair, how long, on average, do they spend repairing the asset?
  • Asset Cooldown Time – Some Assets require time to cool down before they can be worked on. How much time is spent in cooldown? While this isn’t necessarily a time you can reduce, it should still be accounted for.
  • Time testing and restarting – Once repairs have been done, how much time does it take to get the asset restarted, calibrated, tested, and back in operation? Are there ways to shorten that process without compromising the asset?

While there are some time costs that cannot be avoided, there are still many human time costs that could be reduced through better efficiency, communication and following asset management best practices.

The Golden Rule of Downtime

When it comes to Equipment Downtime, there is one golden rule that will help you save money and time: First measure, then ask why. When you understand where your organization is currently at (measure), and you know the reasons behind that number (ask why), then you can take the steps you need to improve your downtime.

ManagerPlus - Enterprise asset management software can easily help you with this. We allow you to measure any aspect of your assets through logs, meters, inspections, and work orders. Then, we let you assign service codes and failure codes, and write notes, so you know the reasons behind your performance. Bi (Business Intelligence) dashboards and reports will display it all. We put real improvement within reach.

If this sounds like the type of improvement you are looking to make in your organization, give us a call and let us show you how ManagerPlus - maintenance management solution can enable you to take control of your asset lifetime. The use of maintenance management software is not limited till equipment management, instead it can be used for fleet maintenance,  work order management, inventory management and more.

If you already use ManagerPlus, we would love to provide the training to help you get more from your platform. We look forward to helping you succeed!

New call-to-action


Subscribe today!

Stay up-to-date with news, tips, and product
updates by subscribing to the ManagerPlus blog.