When you run a business operation, downtime is commonly the bane of your existence. If the production line stops running or the shipping department has a hold-up, it can spell disaster. Either customer orders are getting backed up or distribution centers risk running low on your product. When it happens often enough, buyers may choose to go elsewhere if the product supply is proving to be unreliable. This results in lost opportunities, brand damage, lost productivity, and even data loss in nightmare scenarios.
To help with this type of problem here is how to minimize unexpected downtime.
Hold Safety Meetings
A regular safety meeting can help to go through what has been happening on the manufacturing floor or another active facility with many moving parts. While employees who have been working for the company for years may feel that it’s unnecessary because they already know what’s needed, this attitude ignores the fact that procedures change over time. New safety regulations mean you’ll need to update safety procedures when necessary to keep everyone safe.
Due to this, it’s best to use business safety best practices and inform long-standing and newer employees of the latest requirements from both the company and from them. Only this way can accidents be kept to the absolute minimum.
Regularly Service the Equipment
Anything mechanical will go wrong eventually. Even equipment that doesn’t have any moving parts, like a solid-state drive (SSD) inside a laptop, can develop a fault and can cause downtime. Vibrations on the production line are more likely to affect older platter drives than SSDs, but it can still happen. With any equipment used in production or in a warehouse facility too, regularly maintaining it substantially reduces the opportunity for sudden breakdowns. It can help to spot a part wearing out before it comes to the end of its life and shuts the machine down.
Earlier replacements can avoid complete failures. This is a maintenance model that’s used successfully within the airline industry where airline parts are replaced way before their expected end of life to avoid catastrophic failures in the air. The same works for production lines too.
Re-Train Employees to Reduce Human Error
It’s never possible to completely rule out human error in manufacturing, warehouse, or other business settings. Nevertheless, a lot of human error is caused by a lack of training and can cause downtime. Training staff members to use the equipment safely and fully avoids them making errors due to a lack of information, and an error of omission. It can also somewhat overcome situations where inexperience didn’t allow them to spot a potential problem before it happened – training using past failure scenarios can help here. If you’re unable to do this yourself, it could pay to hire in educators or send your staff onto courses outside of the workplace.
Provide improved training to increase performance and reduce mistakes or accidents. Always look for ways to boost the effectiveness of it rather than rest on your laurels too.
Mitigate Technology Failure
Hardware and software problems can cause highly sophisticated equipment to stop working or to function in unpredictable ways. This also causes downtime. Any updates to hardware configurations or software upgrades must be fully tested before implementing them. This should be done between major production runs, and preferably not when there’s a waiting order from one of the most important customers for the company.
Minimizing downtime is a bit of an art and a science. Many steps can be taken to reduce the possibility of it, but whether due to employee or equipment problems, it cannot be entirely avoided all the time. Businesses must plan for it and know what to do when it happens too.