A production or maintenance manager’s main goal is to increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and optimize the output of their facility, which takes a close eye on reducing equipment downtime to keep their machines running longer.
Machine downtime and equipment failure not only halts production but can also cause resulting damage to other equipment, dangerous situations to personnel, or a failure to meet production deadlines. Downtime tracking software can help.
What is downtime tracking software?
Downtime tracking software is any digital system designed to measure, visualize, and evaluate equipment downtime to drive overall equipment effectiveness. It is also commonly referred to as OEE software.
There are two primary benefits of machine downtime tracking, each tied to an asset maintenance KPI.
1. Reduce MTTR (mean time to repair)
Your maintenance team can be alerted right away to machine downtime and reduce the time it takes to respond and resolve the issue.
2. Increase MTBF (mean time between failure)
Your leadership team can visualize trends in your downtime to identify root causes and prevent them from happening, extending machine uptime.
How does downtime tracking software work?
Downtime tracking software records each time your equipment goes down and allows you to look back on these downtime events to understand better what’s going on in your facility. Ideally, downtime tracking software should also notify maintenance technicians to resolve the machine downtime as quickly as possible.
Alert maintenance departments
In the short term, resolving a down piece of equipment is the most pertinent task to return to full efficiency as quickly as possible. It requires not only notifying a maintenance technician of the issue but also providing the necessary details (i.e., which particular item, what went wrong, and any resulting damage to other equipment) to allow them to resolve the task as quickly as possible.
For this reason, downtime tracking software is often paired with work order management software. With both capabilities in a single platform, team members don’t have to jump around to multiple systems, hurting overall productivity. A common system that combines both of these capabilities together is what’s known as a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).
Record relevant information
Once the immediate repair is underway, the next important step is to collect accurate data about the downtime event. This data is vital for monitoring the bigger picture, identifying any patterns or trends, and evaluating overall machine performance.
Common data points to gather are:
- Which machine(s) were affected
- When the downtime began (and ended)
- The tasks at hand during the downtime event
- The cause of the downtime
- Who was involved
- Labor hours to resolve the event
- Any associated cost
Provide actionable insights
Having the data is only half of the equation; now maintenance and production teams must evaluate the data in order to increase efficiency. How often are particular machines experiencing equipment failure, and are there any commonalities between them? (i.e., a specific vendor, process, operator, cause of downtime, etc.)
One frequent use for downtime tracking data is monitoring unplanned downtime frequency for a particular machine and scheduling planned downtime in preventive maintenance software before these breakdowns occur.
Manual vs. automated tracking systems
Tracking downtime data can be done on a broad spectrum between manually inputting downtime events into a spreadsheet or having a sensor monitoring every bit of data automatically.
Manual downtime tracking is the most straightforward, least expensive option, but it is also the most prone to human error. The spreadsheets recording the downtime events can be lost and aren’t always accessible to the people that need to use them.
Automated systems, on the other hand, monitor downtime through IoT sensors on the machine. These systems are more expensive to implement and require an operator to fill in additional details surrounding the events and the downtime reason; a sensor can only record an error code or input from a connected machine.
Many organizations use a system that falls somewhere in the middle between automated and manual, leveraging digital software in a way that makes sense for the size and complexity of their operations. For example, operators have access to a digital form for recording the downtime event details, a maintenance technician can update the downtime status when the event is resolved, and the system will automatically record the time in-between.
Having data stored in the software platform allows production managers or operation managers real-time reports surrounding total downtime, machine performance, and overall trends throughout the facility with the click of a button.
Downtime tracking with FMX
FMX combines downtime tracking with maintenance management to handle all things productivity.
Operators can report equipment downtime and submit a work order for the relevant technician from the same platform. Turn your tracking data into reliable performance with our connected preventive maintenance feature to optimize your overall equipment effectiveness.