Successful manufacturing is all about efficiency: using the least resources in the least amount of time for production. Consequently, machine downtime can have serious implications for manufacturing efficiency.
However, modern manufacturers must also factor in the dangers of digital downtime, especially with an increasingly close interface between production, supply chains and meeting customer demand.
The Cost of Downtime
“Downtime and data loss represent a considerable risk to manufacturers in an age where big data is helping drive demand. There is also the reputational damage to consider.”
This sort of damage may have far-reaching consequences, and takes more than IT expertise to fix.
“Trust is the key thing here. Once you lose that trust, over issues to do with sensitive data, say, it’s hard to win it back.”
“The impact on efficiency, where physical orders are directly dependent on digital communication, can prove catastrophic. Where customer confidence drains away, this may have long-reaching consequences.”
“If a manufacturer fails to meet demands, or faces a disrupted supply chain due to computer downtime, then this can mean a permanent loss of business, where customers look elsewhere to fill the gap in their orders.”
How Could Downtime Impact You?
There are several ways in which downtime impacts on manufacturers:
- It can interrupt the smooth flow of business and production, delaying orders and causing disruption to efficiency, and ultimately affecting customer service and satisfaction
- It can cause serious backlogs, with the business concerned then having to try and claw back time and find extra resources to get its orders back on track. The extra expenditure involved in this can then erode margins
- It can fatally damage customer confidence, leading to permanent loss of business
- There is also a reputational threat from negative social media reporting
“The effects of downtime are more difficult to contain where disgruntled customers take to social media channels to publicly voice their dissatisfaction.”
Diagnosis and Resolution
Studies suggest that people spend, on average, five and a half days each year waiting for slow computers, applications and files to load.
“The diagnosis can be a physical electrical wiring issue, where faulty points or cables affect a system’s day to day running. Regardless, the important thing is to have your system checked out.”
There may be a temptation to try and work around downtime, to build it into the system, but this is simply putting off the problem.
“What may seem like an inconvenience today may prove to be critical tomorrow. Once it impacts on the volume and rate of your production, you are in tricky territory”
“If you cannot access your data, you cannot manage it, or what it represents – orders, schedules and, ultimately, satisfied customers,” Nick concludes. “Is downtime really worth ruining your reputation over?”