10 Ways to Prevent Downtime in Manufacturing

Manufacturing downtime can be detrimental to any business, leading to lost revenue and decreased productivity. While unplanned downtime is inevitable in any manufacturing environment, proactive measures can be taken to reduce the occurrence of this costly problem.

This article outlines 10 key steps that can help to prevent downtime in manufacturing processes, such as preventive maintenance, predictive analytics, and better inventory management. By taking these steps, manufacturers can reduce the amount of unscheduled downtime and keep their businesses running smoothly.

What Is a Downtime in Manufacturing

In manufacturing, downtime is a period when machinery or equipment is not operating due to unplanned repair and maintenance or other disruptions. This can include anything from unexpected machine breakdowns and system failure to supply chain issues or human errors.

Unscheduled downtime can have significant financial implications for any business, leading to lost production time and decreased efficiency. It can result in additional costs due to overtime and an inability to meet customer demand, leading to decreased profitability and revenue.

While some downtime is inevitable, businesses must take proactive measures to reduce the amount of unscheduled downtime experienced.

Consequences of Downtime in Manufacturing

Downtime in manufacturing can have several consequences for businesses, including the following:

Financial Losses and Decreased Customer Satisfaction

Unscheduled downtime leads to direct financial losses due to decreased production time and lowered efficiency. 

Additional costs can also be incurred due to paying for overtime, increased energy consumption, and the need for additional resources. This downtime can also lead to customer dissatisfaction as orders cannot be fulfilled promptly or at all.

Decreased customer satisfaction can cause long-term effects, such as a drop in repeat business or negative reviews.

Reduced Quality of Products and Services

Downtime can also lead to a decreased quality of products and services due to mechanical issues or human errors resulting from time pressure or lack of training. This can have severe repercussions for any business, leading to product defects, customer complaints, and additional costs associated with recalls or warranty repairs.

Increased Risk of Injury and Accidents

In some cases, unplanned downtime can increase the risk of injury or accidents due to a lack of maintenance or poor safety protocols. This is especially true in environments where machinery is operated by untrained personnel or in hazardous conditions.

Inability to Adapt to Changes in the Market

Downtime can also prevent businesses from being able to respond to changes in the market, such as new customer demands or technological advances. This can lead to lost opportunities and decreased competitiveness, which can have long-term implications for any business.

Stress and Overwork for Employees

Additionally, unplanned downtime can cause stress and overwork for employees due to the need to work overtime or find ways to compensate for lost production time. This can lead to higher employee turnover rates and decreased morale, further impacting the business’s productivity.

Businesses can minimize these consequences by taking proactive steps to reduce downtime and improve their overall efficiency.

10 Steps to Prevent Downtime in Manufacturing

The following 10 steps can help reduce the amount of unscheduled downtime experienced by manufacturers:

1. Perform Regular Maintenance

Proper maintenance is essential for keeping machinery functioning properly and avoiding unplanned downtime. This includes regularly scheduled maintenance and inspections to identify potential issues before they become serious problems.

2. Implement a Predictive Maintenance Program

Predictive maintenance can help manufacturers anticipate when machinery or equipment is likely to fail, allowing them to take steps to prevent downtime. This program utilizes data gathered from sensors and machine learning to identify potential problems before they become significant issues.

3. Invest in Quality Parts and Equipment

Investing in high-quality parts and equipment can help minimize unscheduled downtime by minimizing the chances of malfunction or breakdown. It’s important to choose parts from reliable suppliers designed for the intended use and have a good track record of reliability.

4. Train Employees Properly

Proper training of employees can help reduce downtime by ensuring they are familiar with the machinery they are operating and have the necessary skills to respond quickly in the event of a breakdown. It’s also essential to provide ongoing refresher courses or updates on the new technology so that employees stay up-to-date with their skills and knowledge.

5. Install Automation Systems

Professional downtime tracking software can reduce downtime by automating processes prone to human error or incredibly tedious for employees. This can include features such as automated scheduling of maintenance tasks, monitoring equipment performance, and safety protocols.

6. Utilize Remote Monitoring

Remote monitoring systems allow businesses to monitor their equipment and operations from anywhere in the world. This can reduce downtime by providing real-time alerts of any issues, allowing faster responses and more efficient problem resolution.

7. Utilize Data Analytics

Data analytics tools can identify trends or patterns in operational data that can help businesses anticipate issues before they become serious problems. This can be especially effective with predictive maintenance, as it allows for more accurate predictions and earlier detection of potential downtime.

8. Analyze the Work Environment

Analyzing the work environment to identify any potential safety hazards or areas of improvement can help reduce downtime by eliminating or reducing the chance of accidents and injuries. This includes keeping the workspace clean and organized, maintaining adequate lighting, and ensuring proper ventilation.

9. Utilize Spare Parts

Spare parts can reduce downtime by allowing businesses to quickly replace malfunctioning components without waiting for new parts to arrive. It’s important to have a comprehensive inventory of spare parts for all machinery and equipment and adequate storage space for them.

10. Have a Contingency Plan

A contingency plan can help reduce downtime by providing clear procedures that should be followed in an emergency. This plan should include steps such as identifying the source of the problem, notifying personnel, and taking steps to minimize any further disruption.

By implementing these strategies, manufacturers can significantly reduce their risk of unscheduled downtime and ensure that operations run smoothly and efficiently.

Final Thought

Reducing downtime in manufacturing requires a comprehensive approach that includes investing in quality parts and equipment, training employees properly, utilizing automation systems, remote monitoring solutions, and data analytics tools, analyzing the work environment, stocking spare parts, and having a contingency plan.

By taking these steps and implementing the above mentioned strategies, manufacturers can ensure that their operations run smoothly and efficiently, helping maintain their competitive edge.

Exploring the House of Lean Manufacturing

What is the House of Lean exactly?

The House of Lean depicts how Lean is implemented in organizations. It depicts the Lean method as a house that works together to achieve desired goals. House of Lean, as the name implies, is anchored in the principles, strategies and concepts of Lean manufacturing.

This graphic guides organizations to optimize their manufacturing and operations with the Lean method. It is focused on solving problems and continually improving through innovative principles. Learn more about this method in the sections that follow.

There’s three major problems with any production system:

  1. Waste (Muda)
  2. Instability
  3. Variability (Mura).

These problems can negatively impact your company’s efficiency, increasing costs, and increasing delivery times. This can lead to a lower Return On Investment (ROI), which will negatively impact your business’s efficiency. Lean Manufacturing House was created by the founders to symbolize the Lean principles and their coexistence.

Stability is the foundation of Lean Manufacturing House.

This refers to team stability and standardized work methods. It can also be applied to a production process. The foundation of the house is made up of two elements: (1) Reduction in muda (wastes), and (2) Kaizen – Continuous Improvement. These are the 2 pillars of Lean Manufacturing house JIT, and JIDOKA.

  • Heijunka: Linear and sequenced production.
  • Standardized work: Reduced variability in work processes: A system that manages sudden demand fluctuations as they happen.

The following tools are used to support the roof of the house’s walls:

  • The JIT pillar: Pulled, Takt time, and continuous flow.
  • The Jidoka Pillar: Man-machine Separation (one operator can manage several machines) or Automation (one operator can manage several machines).
  • The Lean Manufacturing Method’s roof is described by CQD. It reduces production cost and improves quality. It also matches delivery time to customer requirements.

If the foundations are first built, then Lean Manufacturing House will only grow. Ecoflex is a tool to implement the Kaizen philosophy and act as a catalyst in the reduction of waste and continuous improvement. Only a flexible, modular system such as Ecoflex can offer a production system that allows for the next steps in Lean Manufacturing: work standardization, sequencing (Heijunka), JIT or JIDOKA.

Toyota House is a lean transformation model

All of us are trying to change. At the company level a transformation is a big experiment, at process level, it is a daily-hourly-immediate work itself. To transform the way people think and behave within an organization to be more of a problem-solving mindset is no easy task and varies from industry-to-industry, company-to-company, person-to-person. It takes discipline, investment, and the belief that things can be improved. This is the process of turning an organization into a lean one. This transformation is described in the lean management community through the lean transformation models.

They are illustrated using the Toyota house example. Picture 4 and 5 show two of these models. They are basically the same model, except that they came from different institutions. Model in Picture 1 was designed by the Lean Enterprise Institute in the USA, while Model in Picture 2 was designed by Lean Enterprise Academy in Great Britain. These models represent the most recent version of Toyota houses, and the latest understanding of lean organizations based on the situational approach.

It seems to me that this is rather a successful PR. And in any healthy company, these principles take place. Maybe not everyone declares it. But they publish books.


While there will be other Toyota house models in the future, the current model with a situational approach will still be valid. To keep up with the current times, it is essential that all employees are aware of the latest versions. When implementing the model, it is likely that modifications are required to suit the specific circumstances of each organization. While the prescriptive approach is still valid for concepts, methods and tools, it is changing how they are implemented.

How to Calculate the Cost of Goods Manufactured (COGM)?

The Cost of Goods Manufactured is a great way to see production costs and their impact on your bottom line. It allows managers to identify cash leaks and adjust prices to ensure that the business is developing.

What is the cost of goods manufactured?

The Cost of Goods Manufactured is an accounting term that indicates the total cost of producing products and transferring them into finished good inventory within a given accounting period.

COGM does not account for products that are either ready or have been sold. It is therefore a useful tool to see the whole picture of production costs and determine the profitability of a company.

What is the importance of the Cost of Goods Manufactured?

COGM, as mentioned above, is a great way to see how your production costs relate to profitability. You can increase your bottom line by knowing the COGM and making adjustments as necessary.

Knowing the COGM can also help companies:

Better manage your inventory

  • – keep better financial records
  • – develop better pricing strategies
  • – track business development.

These benefits make COGM a key KPI in every manufacturing company.

Cost of Goods Manufactured and Total Manufacturing Cost

Both the Total Manufacturing Cost and Cost of Goods Manufactured are related terms. The Total Manufacturing Cost includes the direct material and labor costs as well as overhead costs. However, the Cost of Goods Manufactured also takes into account the changes in Work-in Progress Inventory.

However, the Total Manufacturing Cost is only a fraction of the Cost of Goods Manufactured.

How do you calculate the cost of goods manufactured?

The COGM includes all costs associated with making finished products.

Direct materials. Calculating the direct material cost can be done by adding the starting raw materials inventory to the end raw materials inventory and subtracting it.

The wages of employees who directly deal with production activities (i.e. The shop floor workers.

Production overhead devoted to the production. Indirect materials are materials that are used in production, but not necessarily part the product. glue, sandpaper, lubricant, etc. (); indirect labor, such as supervision, quality control, materials administration, and other workers that are not directly involved in the production of goods, but without whom production wouldn’t happen; depreciation on the premises and equipment; rent or property taxes; insurance.

The Total Manufacturing Cost includes all of the costs mentioned above.

The Beginning WIP inventory is also included in the COGM. The cost of goods that were not finished during the accounting period.

To calculate COGM simply add the Beginning WIP inventory to the Total Manufacturing cost and subtract the Ending WIP inventory. This will give the total cost for the goods that were completed during the specified time period.


A furniture manufacturer may have $12,000 worth of furniture at the beginning of each quarter. This is the Beginning WIP inventory.

Starting WIP Inventory = $12,000

The company also has $8,000 worth raw materials on hand, ready to be turned into furniture. The raw material inventory is replenished by $5,000 of stock within the quarter. The stock remaining as raw materials at the end of each quarter is $3,000 These figures allow us to calculate the Direct Materials used.

Direct Materials = $8,000 + $5,000 – $3,000 = $10,000

Eight shop floor workers are employed by the company and are responsible for the execution production processes. The four senior workers earn $2,600 per month and the four others make $2,200 each month. We calculated their three-month salaries as the sum (since we used a quarter of the accounting period to calculate the amounts). The Direct Labor Costs are the sum of their three-month salaries (as we decided that the accounting period for the calculations is a quarter, i.e.

Direct Labor = (($2,600×4) + ($2,200×4)] x3 = ($10,400+ $8,800)x3 = ($10,400+ $8,800). x3 = $19,200×3 = $57,600

Manufacturing overhead is $28,600. It includes indirect labor costs such as maintenance (wages $9,000 per quarter) and warehouse (wages 12,000 per quarter), additional materials like glue and sandpaper (800), rent (6,000 per quarter), insurance (200 per quarter), and equipment depreciation (i.e. $2,400 per year). $600 per quarter.

Manufacturing Overhead = $28,600

The quarter’s Total Manufacturing Cost is therefore the sum of direct material and labor costs plus manufacturing overhead.

Total Manufacturing cost = $10,000 + $57 600 + $28,600 = $96,200

Furniture worth $11,000 was still being produced at the end of quarter. This is the Ending WIP inventory.

Ending WIP Stock = $11,000

Finally, the Cost of Goods Manufactured is calculated by adding the Beginning WIP inventory to the Total Manufacturing Cost, and subtracting from the Ending WIP inventory.

COGM = $12,000 + 96,000 – $11,000 = $97.200

These basic calculations show that the quarterly COGM for the furniture company is 97.200 dollars.

Cost of Goods Manufactured and Sold Cost of goods sold

Although the COGM and COGS are very similar terms, they should not be confused.

The Cost of Goods Manufactured is a measure of the finished products that have been sold as well as those that are still in stock. However, the Cost of Goods Sold only includes the cost of manufacturing the products during the accounting period.

COGM, however, is part of the COGS calculation in periodic inventories.

The previous example shows that if the company had a $10,000 starting inventory and a $20,000 end finished goods inventory, the COGS would be:

COGS = 10,000 + $97,200- $20,000 = $87,000.

For many reasons, the COGM and COGS may differ from one another.

During the accounting period, more items were manufactured than sold (i.e. Some items remain in stock and are awaiting sale.

– More items were sold than were produced in the accounting period (i.e. Some items were sold using the remaining finished goods inventory from the previous period.

Some finished goods and WIP inventory are no longer in demand. There is no market for these products anymore.

COGM in Manufacturing ERP

A proper MRP system can track different manufacturing costs and calculate both the COGM as well as the COGS if it is provided with accurate inputs. This perpetual inventory system eliminates a lot of the work involved in accounting and frees up time that can be used for other purposes.

Managers can also use MRP software to monitor other KPIs such as overall equipment efficiency, manufacturing cost per unit, OTIF, and so on. In MRPeasy COGM is listed as the “Manufactured” field in Stock -> Stock movement-> Inward.


The Cost of Goods Manufactured (COG) is an important KPI. It can be used to measure the production costs of a manufacturing company and to identify problems and make improvements.

It is related to the Total Manufacturing Cost as well as the Cost of Goods Sold. However, the COGM is an independent concept with distinct purposes.

The COGM formula includes the Total Manufacturing Cost and the beginning and end WIP inventory. However, the Cost of Goods Sold incorporates both the COGM and the inventory.

An MRP system is a perpetual inventory system that helps manufacturing companies track manufacturing costs and calculate various KPIs automatically, including the COGM.

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