MaintMaster blog - 28 August 2019


Measure downtime or number of downtimes?

Measure downtime or number of downtimes?

There are countless books describing key performance indicators that are used to measure and to influence. We recommend using a few for each part of the business, to measure and influence correctly. OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency) is a great figure, and it can be used as an overall key performance indicator. But it can be difficult to define and compare activities where the occupancy varies a lot.

In the role as maintenance manager, I was more interested in measuring the maintenance organization and my staff, so we could celebrate when we showed better results. The key performance indicator should be easy to understand, and the group should be able to influence it. Downtime is something that almost everyone should be measuring, but the question is whether we profit from measuring downtime or their number (downtimes/stops)? And does it really matter? To involve the technicians, I used to ask them what they thought. In most cases, they answered downtime, meaning the time from stop to start.

How does measuring downtime affect the group?
The technicians ready themselves by cleaning their toolboxes, making sure they have all tools close to hand, lubricating their bikes and getting ready to start. They wait for the phone to ring and, when it does so, someone answers and everyone runs off and fixes the error as quickly as possible. Then they return to the workshop and wait for the next call. The next time the phone rings, they rush out again, and get the machine started as quickly as possible. Everyone wants to celebrate with cake on Friday, so they need a low downtime. This is how the working day will appear; of course, I stretch things a little, but I don’t exaggerate, because the technician’s mindset will be “the faster we solve the problem, the better”. Therefore, they will run to everything that stops and makes sure it is up and running as quickly as possible.

Good or not? It depends, do I want the machines to stop at all?

How does the group act if I choose to monitor the number of stops?
The technicians get ready for something to happen, when the phone rings, they go to the machine. Of course, they will solve the problem, but at the same time they will analyze it, and the subsequent discussion is about how to act so that it won’t happen again. Of course, the stop is initially longer, but the total downtime will probably decrease over time. If a fault returns, the group will try to solve the root cause instead of just ensuring that the machine is restarted quickly.

My conclusion
Which one to choose depends on what you want to achieve, and which approach you want the group to take.

What do you think? Feel free to discuss this subject with me or any of my colleagues.

/ Staffan Bergström, project manager.

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