Three Ways to Keep Your Company’s Downtime to a Minimum
In any company, unplanned and non-constructive downtime is a great enemy of productivity. It’s as true in office settings as it is in manufacturing. A hold-up in any part of the manufacturing line or in any department, can cause work to stop all down the line, stalling production and causing cascading issues. Some downtime is inevitable. People will make mistakes, machinery will break down, planned upgrades will need to happen, and things will go wrong. But there are some steps you can take to reduce the instances of downtime and to reduce its duration when it does happen.
Don’t Skimp on Maintenance and Upgrades
Whether your equipment consists of employee laptops and phones, industrial manufacturing machinery, or simply your building’s HVAC system, you are dependent on it. It’s likely that most of your company’s downtime can be chalked up to malfunctioning machines and computers. Make sure your technicians have a routine to follow when it comes to doing all scheduled maintenance. Just like getting the oil changed in your car, regular maintenance will go a long way to keeping you up and running.
When equipment is wearing out, or is outdated, don’t wait to upgrade. Break downs will cost you more in the long run, than simply biting the bullet and paying to replace what needs replacing.
That being said, sometimes a replacement or upgrade can cause an inordinate amount of downtime in and of itself. If a new piece of equipment or software needs infrastructure changes to run correctly, upgrades may not just be “plug and play.” If upgrading one component is going to mean upgrading many other things that are working well, you might consider retrofitting. For example, if you have outdated protection relays in your electrical grid, Australian company GFF Power offers a range of Multilin Relay Retrofits that could solve the probem with minimal disruption and downtime for your workforce.
Empower Your Staff
Many machine outages and other downtime is caused by user error. Make sure your staff is well educated in the tasks they need to perform. They should be trained in best practices, even if those best practices take a little bit longer than other, less safe methods. But empowering your workforce goes beyond the training room. Your employees work with your equipment every day. They know, long before management, if a particular machine is acting up, or if an IT system needs attention. They also often know how their jobs can be done more efficiently. Create a culture in the workplace that encourages your team members to speak up and share their knowledge. Make sure everyone understands the whole productivity chain in the company. You may be surprised by the insights of all your employees, from custodial staff to administrative assistants.
Finally, don’t make the mistake of thinking that all downtime is a bad thing. You might be surprised to find that your productivity actually improves when you build a few breaks, beyond the mandatory 15 minutes, into the day. And, as an added benefit, a little breathing space will make yours a very desirable workplace.