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The True Cost of Downtime [And how to fix it]

Imagine you’re a plant manager discovering that a belt has fallen off track and is creating a bottleneck in your production line. You call two companies to repair the equipment. One explains they can be there later in the afternoon while the other says they can be there in the next half hour. At this point in the conversation, pricing hasn’t been mentioned yet you’re more likely to choose the second company. Why? Because even if this second company is more expensive, the cost of unplanned downtime can be far more damaging for your plant.  

On average manufacturers experience up to 800 hours of downtime a year which can be a pricey setback – costing thousands a minute. From equipment failure and supply chain delays to labor shortages and highly competitive markets, it can be difficult to maintain operations and meet production goals. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to this problem, but there are several ways to minimize unplanned downtime.  Outsourced maintenance helps factories meet their production demands when faced with labor and skill constraints.  It’s a cost-effective solution that can be used for both short-term and long-term maintenance projects, depending on the plant’s needs. There are many benefits of choosing a third-party maintenance provider. Read on to learn a few:

Savings on labor and other labor-related costs

Getting labor in today’s world is hard. Getting skilled labor is even harder. This can feel like an uphill battle when you’re constantly being pressured to produce more with fewer resources. It’s no wonder why so many manufacturers face employee burnout. Outsourcing is a great solution to help companies avoid this and save on overtime and other labor-related costs. Unlike hiring in-house, third-party providers are responsible for their own recruiting and training and the high fees associated with both.  

Most outsourced maintenance techs undergo rigorous training to identify production and facilities equipment issues and can bridge the skills gap for your team. This not only allows you to complete the work at a much faster pace but helps your maintenance staff focus on other tasks within the plant, which can be especially important if you’re short-staffed or under pressure to get something done quickly.

Extended equipment life

In an ideal world, there would be enough time and manpower for your maintenance team to assess equipment before it’s run to failure. Unfortunately, that’s not always feasible with many companies relying on a reactive maintenance approach. Reactive maintenance can drive down costs when used on equipment that’s not essential to operations but this strategy isn’t sustainable.  On the other hand, a preventative maintenance approach aims to address issues before they arise which means you’ll be able to use your equipment longer without needing repairs or replacements.

Increased uptime and productivity

Any amount of downtime can impact your bottom line. Don’t get stuck in a revolving door doing costly reactive maintenance work only to have the same problem emerge a few months later. Partnering with an outside maintenance company is like getting a checkup for your car — they don’t just address any problems that have occurred, they also identify potential issues before they evolve into major repairs, extending the life of your equipment and increasing plant productivity and efficiency.

At Boulter, we offer maintenance services to work with your schedule and budget. Whether you’re looking for support during a scheduled shutdown or a more long-term solution, we’re here to help. Our line audits are an excellent resource for manufacturers interested in learning more about a preventative maintenance plan for their facility. Our professionals will inspect every component and aspect of your system and will identify any issues affecting the safety, efficiency, or longevity of your equipment.  From there, we will provide you with a report of the findings. If you decide to hire us to complete the work, we’ll credit the audit fee towards the total maintenance cost.

Use the calculator below to determine your facility’s hourly cost of downtime and discover if outsourced maintenance may be a cost-effective solution for your organization.