Pit Boss Blog | Gravel Crushing and Aggregate Systems

Downtime: Striking Fear In The Hearts of Everyone

Written by Wade Buehler | Wed,Oct 31,2012 @ 07:22 PM

Downtime, the mere mention of it makes wallets slam shut and sends shivers down the spine. It’s a dirty word that is talked about endlessly; it’s the main topic of discussion at meetings and continuous improvement programs everywhere.

Downtime affects all areas and levels of business; it’s like a plague, an incurable disease and an endless source of torment that manufacturers, consultants and practitioners of long forgotten and mysterious dark arts all promise to help you reduce so you can increase production, operate more efficiently, be more profitable and sleep better at night. You would think that something that carries such a heavy weight to attract so much attention would eventually get solved, but the source of downtime can be so far reaching and difficult to assess that it is almost impossible to get a handle on.

Downtime is going to be a part of doing business, like it or not. Some downtime is good in the long run - planned maintenance, service or even replacement downtime is going to have a positive impact on your crushing plant operations and profitability. As much as you want to avoid it, you're also going to run into the worse type of downtime. Surprise downtime means you won't be making money, you need to find replacement parts and bring in servicepeople, and your crew isn't working. The question is, how much is downtime really costing you - and what can you do to reduce it? 

If you thought that all downtime meant was lost revenue because you weren’t producing, you’re in for an eye opening because the effects of downtime have a longer reach and more significant effect on business than you might think.

Determining the source of downtime

In order to assess the cost of downtime, the source of the costs has to be determined.  Downtime expenses can be broken into two categories; Tangible and intangible costs.

Tangible costs are straight forward, easy to track and account for. Basically it’s the length of downtime multiplied by the total per hour cost of labor plus parts, but can also include things like: Lost revenue, lost wages, lost inventory, labor costs, marketing costs, Legal penalties and Bank fees.

Intangible costs are the costs that aren’t clearly visible.  Intangible Costs include all of the things that you can’t see, the costs aren’t clearly visible and you have to look a little deeper to really understand how far reaching they go and how significant their impact can truly be. Intangible costs include things like: Lost business opportunities, loss of employees, loss of morale, Decrease in stock value, Damage to your brand and reputation, Driving business to your competitors and Bad publicity to name a few.

How to reduce the impact of downtime

There are steps that can be taken to decrease the amount of downtime that you experience. Following a regular scheduled maintenance and service routine that involves daily, weekly or as required inspections for wear and tear, properly servicing lubricants and filters and performing preventative maintenance to correct problems that come to light will play a major role in reducing downtime, but choosing the right equipment to begin with will have the largest impact.

Look for a company that has a large enough service workforce and parts availability to meet your needs. Ensure they provide quality products with superior design and unsurpassed durability? Is there a warranty and what is the response time for claims? Answering these questions may provide some insight into whom and where you want to purchase from. Often times the lowest priced equipment may be the most expensive in the long run, especially if the reason the price is so low is because the manufacturer dosen’t maintain any facilities to back their sales or they manufacture with inferior quality materials.

View our blog post titled, “10 Considerations When Choosing an Aggregate Equipment Manufacturer," to learn what to look for.”

Ready to beat downtime? Have the right part at the right time: