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If your business depends on its equipment, you are bound to face downtime from time to time. If you’ve ever dealt with it, you know it can be more than frustrating. It is very costly, even more so than you might think.

How to reduce downtime?

Every time equipment breaks down there are certain unexpected expenses. These include paying workers who are unable to do their jobs, slowing production, losing profit and costly repairs. The key ways to decrease downtime:

  • Improve Staff Communication
  • Simplify Maintenance Requests
  • Improve Preventative Maintenance Quality
  • Document Equipment Performance
  • Track the Lifespan of Equipment
  • Understand Issues and Why They Happened
  • Improve Vendor Insight

There may also be waste resulting from items that were partly through the manufacturing process and had to be stopped. Late delivery fees or loss of customer goodwill if you are not to be able to fill orders on time may also result.

To avoid reduced equipment downtime, there are precautions you can take. Having an equipment management system like a CMMS can help you reduce equipment downtime in many ways.

Techniques to reduce breakdown maintenance time

Improve Staff Communication

Ensuring everyone knows which tasks they are responsible for is one of the most important, but often overlooked keys to avoiding downtime. A CMMS system can help with this in a couple of ways.

By implementing a CMMS you can reduce your dependence on paper and pencil or spreadsheets. Losing paper notes or forms happens all the time. Spreadsheets are a better solution than paper and pencil in that they are somewhat harder to lose. But, they often live on one person’s computer. And, if the owner doesn't share with others, they have no way to access the information. A CMMS will also get rid of cumbersome email chains. Many businesses use email as the main way of communicating. But, the longer email strings get, the harder it becomes to find the information you need. Also, sometimes people forget to send their reply to everyone. And that leads to people not getting the information that they need.

A CMMS will also get rid of cumbersome email chains. Many businesses use email as the main way of communicating. But, the longer email strings get, the harder it becomes to find the information you need. Also, sometimes people forget to send their reply to everyone. And that leads to people not getting the information that they need.

A CMMS solves these issues by giving you a single database to store all the details about your equipment and its maintenance. That way, anyone can access it at any time. The search for a missing form, spreadsheet or combing through a never-ending email chain can be eliminated.

Simplify Maintenance Requests

Everyone knows one of the keys to reducing downtime is making sure that your equipment gets the preventative maintenance (PM) it needs. Like people need to go to the doctor for checkups, machines also need regular tune-ups. An equipment management system helps you remember your equipment’s important check-ups. Instead of using paper and pencil or spreadsheet to track these things, you can set up a record in the system. When you choose the due date, the CMMS will automatically let your team know when there is a task for them to take care of. The CMMS softare will also send out reminders.

Improve Preventative Maintenance Quality

For preventive maintenance to be successful, the maintenance must be done the same way every time. Even if you carefully train your employees, they still may forget things from time to time. A CMMS lets you store PM task checklists, so they are always available. When the PM checklists are right in front of a technician, there is no reason for them to miss a step.

Document Equipment Performance

Often, a piece of equipment will give you a sign that something is going wrong before it fails. The trick is catching the signals and doing something about them before it’s too late. A CMMS will track all kinds of data from your machines. These include things like runtime hours, PSI, mileage, and much more. You can set tolerances inside the system for each of these things. If any of these data points exceed the limit that you have set it will trigger a PM work order.

Track the Lifespan of Equipment

When a piece of equipment has been working long past its expected useful life, the probability that it will fail becomes much higher. It is important to keep track of how old each piece of equipment is and what kind of maintenance it has had during its lifetime. A CMMS lets you track all this in one convenient location. That way, it is easy to see at a glance which equipment you should replace next.

Understand Issues and Why They Happened

It is important to know the history of your equipment. If you don’t take the time to understand what went wrong, you can’t fix it and look out for in the future. A CMMS will track this information in real time, every time downtime occurs. That way, you can look back at the data later and figure out what happened. Once you understand what went wrong, it is much easier to adjust your procedures to keep it from happening again in the future.

Improve Vendor Insight

Would you know it offhand if you had bought the same part from the same vendor multiple times? If not, unrecognized quality problems could be to blame for your recurring downtime. Similar to other types of data, an equipment management system will keep track of this information for you. When downtime occurs, you can pull inventory reports and look for patterns. If you find that you are ordering the same part over and over, you can look for a new vendor who might be able to offer a higher quality solution.

By following these simple tips, you will be well on your way to reducing downtime and making your business more efficient.

Increase productivity with equipment maintenance software

Hippo CMMS strives to be a leader in simple preventive maintenance software. We are known and well respected for developing user-friendly, cost effective software. We back our software up with some of the best customer support in the business. We invite you to take a closer look at our industry leading software. Go ahead. Take it for a test drive. 

Try Hippo CMMS for yourself to learn more or speak to a Software Specialist.

About The Author

Reena Sommer

Reena Sommer originally hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba and currently resides in the Houston, Texas area. In 1994, she graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Ph.D. in Psychology, Sociology and Family Studies. Reena is a regular contributor for Hippo CMMS.
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