How to Maximize Uptime by Utilizing CMMS Software

Maximize machine uptime by utilizing LLumin’s CMMS+ software

A major goal of industrial facility managers and decision makers is to maximize machine uptime (the average amount of continual running time of machines) and minimize downtime (the average amount of continual time machines are not operating). Production and profits are directly tied to machine uptime. When machines are not operating (downtime), production bottlenecks often occur, which affects production efficiency throughout the facility. Further, production issues slow order fulfillment—which may result in the loss of long-term customers and customer referrals. It is clear that maximizing uptime while limiting downtime is extremely important. However, fully implementing a comprehensive strategy on how best to achieve this goal is challenging.

Today we will discuss the characteristics of planned and unplanned downtime, how to minimize downtime (which will conversely maximize uptime), and how utilizing LLumin’s CMMS+ software will significantly help achieve your peak production goals.

Maximize Uptime by Understanding Downtime

To limit downtime, it is essential to understand the reasons for downtime. Some downtime is necessary for reasons such as general maintenance, training of staff, and routine component replacement. This type of downtime is termed planned downtime and, though planned, can still be minimized to achieve an overall OEE improvement. However, downtime can also be unplanned, and the reasons for this are varied but include machines needing repairs, delays in the ordering and receiving of replacement components, and staffing issues.

It is important to fully understand the characteristics of plan and unplanned downtime as well as common ways to limit both types of downtime.

Planned Downtime 

Planned downtime is generally thought of as “the good downtime,” with some planned downtime always being necessary. Planned downtime often includes time to examine machines and take measurements of machine components. This helps to identify mechanical issues before they become larger problems. Planned downtime also includes replacing parts with predictable and regularly scheduled replacement timelines. Similarly, some components require regularly scheduled cleaning. For instance, the replacement or cleaning of filters is commonly done during planned downtime. Planned downtime is also used for safety and emission checks. The workplace should be regularly checked to ensure it follows Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. The Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and other national and local guidelines for emissions and pollution also need to be followed. Workplace and environmental checks are an essential part of managing a facility. Failing to follow OSHA and EPA guidelines may result in hefty fines, government-forced shut-downs (additional unplanned downtime), or worse such as medical issues for employees.

Optimizing Planned Downtime 

Though some planned downtime is necessary, there are common ways to lessen the amount of planned downtime. During scheduled downtime, addressing as many of the necessary safety, environmental, and mechanical checks as possible is advantageous. However, doing so requires staff with the training and expertise needed to be scheduled simultaneously to best take advantage of the planned downtime. In addition, planned downtime is a great time to do filter replacements or any other routine maintenance. This requires that replacement parts should have been ordered and tracked to take full advantage of this time.

Unplanned Downtime 

Unplanned downtime is typically due to machine or staffing issues. Malfunctioning machines may create a production bottleneck or strain on other machines and result in unplanned downtime. When making decisions on staffing and the scheduling of staff, the skills and expertise of workers need to be considered. A common problem that results in unplanned downtime is when an employee with a unique certification or skill set is absent, and there is no employee scheduled who can cover their duties. Yet another reason for unplanned downtime is due to failures stemming from planned downtime—failure to test machines thoroughly and to ensure that OSHA and EPA guidelines are followed. The resulting cause of extended, and therefore unplanned, downtime occurs due to machine failure, employee issues, or government regulatory non-compliance.

Optimizing Unplanned Downtime 

Staff with the proper expertise also need to be scheduled to work as soon as replacement components are delivered or further risk extending unplanned downtime. Similarly, staff scheduling needs to prepare for unexpected staff absences and quickly rearrange scheduling based on staff skill sets. Finally, failure to utilize planned downtime for thoroughly testing machines often results in unplanned downtime due to machine failure. As such, it is imperative to have clear and standardized steps to fulfill facility needs when planned downtime occurs to not only minimize the down interval but to eliminate any possible extended, unplanned downtime.

For both planned and unplanned downtime, there are easy strategies to optimize this time. 

  1. Whether for planned or unplanned downtime, it is essential to have parts on hand or have the parts needed ordered quickly. 
  2. The arrival of replacement components should correspond with staff scheduling to quickly deploy the components. Scheduling should also account for staff expertise to cover issues from employee absences. 
  3. Finally, a standardized protocol for checking systems, repairing or replacing components, and ensuring the facility is up to safety and environmental codes needs to be in place and easily understood to quicken planned downtime and limit unplanned downtime.

Utilizing LLumin’s CMMS+ Software to Maximize Uptime

Limiting downtime may seem daunting. Planned downtime requires repeatedly making and tracking a long to-do list. Unplanned downtime is often due to surprise machine malfunctions or staffing shortages. However, LLumin’s CMMS+ software can help with both planned and unplanned downtime. LLumin’s CMMS+ software is cloud-based, allowing for interconnectedness between all facility departments, the supply chain, and staffing crews. The software can be implemented within existing machine and plant environments and will quickly identify and alert operators and maintenance personnel of component malfunctions. Orders, tracking, shipping, and verifying delivery of replacement components can become automated to allow for increased speed of maintenance and repairs of malfunctioning machines. Personnel scheduling can be automated based on employee skill sets and responsibilities. Management data such as time to replace malfunctioning components can be tracked for ongoing analysis and process improvement. These are just some aspects of LLumin’s CMMS+ software that will make planned and unplanned downtime more efficient and increase overall uptime and OEE levels.

Getting Started With LLumin

LLumin develops innovative CMMS and Asset Management software to manage and track assets in industrial plants, facilities, municipalities, and universities. If you are interested in how you can maximize uptime by utilizing LLumin’s cutting-edge CMMS+ software, we encourage you to schedule a free demo or Contact the experts at LLumin to see how we can help you reach your efficiency and cost-cutting goals.