The Most Effective Way To Minimize Downtime In Manufacturing Is…

#1 Do Not Plan for It: Sounds obvious but it’s NOT.…

Too often management fails to assign enough work for their employees.  They tend to underestimate how much work someone can actually achieve when completely focused and working against the clock. 

In some cases, employees were assigned an average of 4.5 hours of work for their 8-hour shift.  How logical is it to only hold employees accountable for slightly over half of a full day’s work, when they are being paid for double the amount of productivity?  This proves to be a complete waste of resources.  

Will planning for less downtime be more effective?  After applying the PDF Factor (Personal, Distractions, and Fatigue) Management should expect at least 6.5 productive hours per employee/shift. When assigning 4.5 only, they are planning for 30% built-in downtime.  

It should not stop there.  Not only should management assign 6.5 of practical work, but they should provide employees back-up tasks in case they run into obstacles on their primary job.   Broken tools, other trades in the way, lack of materials or additional reasons that prevent an employee from completing their task should not be expected, but it would be beneficial to prepare for hurdles in a way that denotes busy work and promotes some kind of advancement.  This way, money spent truly is money earned. 


The potential annual cost of downtime can be exemplified as follows: 

  • 2 hrs. X 500 Employees (Average production Facility Crew Size) 
  • Multiplied by $49.00/hr. (Average burdened Manufacturing Hourly Rate)
  • Multiplied again by 257 working days per year equals… 

$12,593,000 of Potential Annual Cost of Downtime. 

 This example proves that adding downtime to the day can be quite costly.  Avoid this blunder all together by knowing what your employees are capable of completing.  Assign designated tasks to ensure that their time is being properly utilized in ways that benefit the company.  

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