Uptime Increases: How to Find 1% & Why You Should Try

An extra percentage of uptime and productivity can have a huge impact on your business.

In the field of air navigation, there’s something called the 1 in 60 rule. It states that for every degree a plane diverts from its original course, it will end up a mile from its target destination for every 60 miles travelled. On a long enough flight, a matter of one degree can make the difference between landing in Moscow and Melbourne. 

This is a powerful example of how small changes can lead to huge outcomes. 

The same principle applies to manufacturing. Improving your uptime or productivity by a small amount, as little as 1%, can lead to significant impacts on the overall output and profitability of the business. 

So how can your plant find that elusive 1%? There are many changes that you can put into practice this week, from your production processes to your equipment health, that can produce major improvements. 

Increase Production Capacity

There are many ways to increase production capacity, such as extending your scheduled uptime (if you don’t already run 24/7). Bringing mothballed equipment back into use is also a viable option during peak production periods. You can also try to extend the time between maintenance shutdowns, which you can do safely by taking a predictive maintenance approach, which allows you to conserve resources by identifying the best time to perform maintenance, rather than simply doing it according to a set schedule. 

It’s also possible to increase production capacity, even if you already run your operations continuously. In cases like this, you’ll want to focus on reducing downtime. 

Reduce Unplanned Downtime

Unplanned downtime is one of the biggest drains on productivity and efficiency, so finding ways to reduce it will help you find that elusive 1% and much more. 

To use an example from one of our clients, a well-known food manufacturer with seven production lines, one small change in their operations saved them from several instances of unplanned downtime and over $300,000 in lost production. That was in just the first few months! 

How were they able to do it? By utilising FitMachine and embracing predictive maintenance methodologies. All it took was a modest time investment of three hours, without the need for special tools or machine downtime. The maintenance team were alerted to abnormal behaviour in one an oil pump before it caused a major blockage. Had this occurred, the manufacturer would have suffered multiple hours of costly unplanned downtime. 

Tap Into Your Workers’ Unused Talents

Are you making the best use of your operations and maintenance teams? If you haven’t performed a staff audit recently, now is the time to. You may find that you are overstaffed in some areas and understaffed in others. 

If your operators outnumber your maintenance workers, consider how your operators can assist your maintenance people in ways that don’t require technical know-how. They can offer support by grabbing tools or preparing areas so that maintenance work can be performed more efficiently. 

What’s more, your workers may have skills they’re not using that could bring incredible value to your operation. This is why it’s so important to get to know your workforce. Do they have qualifications they’re not using? Or hobbies that have relevant applications at the plant? Perhaps you have staff who build furniture or are handy under the bonnet of a car and who could use these skills to improve your operations. 

Bring an eye to new ways of configuring and allocating your workers to make the best use of their talents (which also gives them opportunities to grow their skills) and you may find that your plant’s productivity starts to skyrocket. 

Make Finding That 1% Uptime a Team Effort 

On the topic of your workforce, they are your best resource for improving efficiency and profitability. Nobody is more in tune with your asset fitness than they are, since they are the people who work directly with the equipment week in and week out. 

Involve your maintenance and operations teams in discussions about how to find that 1%.  You may be surprised at the ideas that emerge from your discussions. Plus, you’re also likely to enjoy a significant increase in worker morale. Employees appreciate being asked for their insights and having their knowledge respected. 

Key Uptime Takeaway

A little bit goes a long way when it comes to improving your plant’s overall productivity and profitability. Small changes to your production capacity, unplanned downtime, and workforce can set you on a new course that is miles ahead of where you are now.

Deploying FitMachine can be a great first step. See how you can find that 1% in your organisation with a free trial – register here.

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