Unplanned downtime is a daunting prospect. When your packaging line can’t fill, pack, and ship out products, it deals a huge blow to your productivity. However, downtime does more than reduce numbers. Your inventory, customers, and workers can also suffer. It’s important to understand how unplanned downtime affects your operations and how to prevent that downtime in the future. Learn more about the ways your packaging line downtime costs you and what to do about it with this overview.
Malfunctioning equipment stalls your operations and prevents your operators from moving products through your packaging line. This is one of the most direct costs of facility downtime. Your operators can’t fill orders, package products, or load and wrap pallets, meaning you can’t move forward with those orders until the equipment starts working again. Meanwhile, you’re still paying wages for workers who can’t fulfill their roles and bills for a facility not operating the way it should.
Even if downtime is only at one part of the packaging line, you’ll experience stalls, backlogs, and idle employees throughout your flow of work. As such, isolated instances of downtime can still throw off your entire facility and ruin productivity for the day.
A stalled warehouse is the direct result of unplanned downtime, but the effects of that productivity freeze can extend beyond your facility. Delayed shipments are one crucial consequence. When your packaging line stops or slows down, your workers can’t load trucks and send shipments. This leads to delayed products, creating stress and impatience among end-users. If downtime consistently causes shipping delays, you might lose clients or customers.
Forced Employee Overtime
When your facility experiences downtime, you and your employees might have to start working weekends, holidays, and other extended hours to fulfill your order needs and get back on track. Working overtime can help your productivity, but it can create other problems for your facility at the same time. Overtime increases overall labor costs, negatively impacting margins.
Excessive or mandatory overtime also leads to burnout for employees and managers alike. While you can’t directly calculate the cost of employee burnout, a stressed and unhappy workforce takes a toll on your productivity and can increase staff turnover. Overtime also damages your workforce morale in the long run, which is another cost of packaging line downtime we’ll discuss.
Lower Workforce Morale
Satisfied, dedicated employees help your business reach new heights. When your packaging line fails, your employees lose a sense of pride and ownership in their work. Your staff might feel bored, disgruntled, and at a loss during the workday. At the same time, you might have managers who blame themselves or struggle to support their teams in the face of downtime.
Overall, downtime limits and frustrates your hardest workers. If downtime eats at your workers’ morale, you might see your best employees leave to find work elsewhere. The increase in staff turnover puts more pressure on your remaining workers, creating more burnout among your teams. At the same time, high turnover rates lead to greater employee costs as you recruit and train new workers.
How To Prevent Costly Downtime
Understanding the ways your packaging line downtime costs you makes it easier to come up with effective solutions that prevent these issues in the future. By staying on top of maintenance, working closely with your teams, and utilizing superior management systems, you can minimize downtime.
Preventative Maintenance Plans
Unplanned downtime occurs when equipment breaks down or malfunctions unexpectedly. While you can’t predict how your hardware and software will behave, you can prevent many issues by prioritizing regular maintenance. Routine inspections, tune-ups, and other services keep your equipment in excellent shape, minimizing malfunctions and downtime.
These measures are a part of a preventative maintenance plan that can minimize unexpected errors and keep your facility running smoothly. Every facility will have different maintenance needs, but you can start building your preventative maintenance plan by creating a maintenance schedule. Routine inspections and repairs lead to fewer problems and equipment that moves faster, lasts longer, and is more reliable.
Maintain a Supply of Spare Parts
Of course, you can’t completely eliminate equipment malfunctions. However, you can prepare for issues by keeping the necessary tools and parts on hand to repair equipment when it goes down. A supply of spare parts and tools makes it easier to fix machinery and get your system back up and running. When you can resolve the issue without waiting for parts to ship to you, you reduce downtime and preserve your workflow and productivity.
Listen to Employee Insight
No one knows your packaging line better than the employees who run it. If there’s a specific problem with your machinery or system, your workers have the best chance of pinpointing it and suggesting solutions. As you discuss prevention methods and solutions for downtime, be sure to include workers from the floor. Their insight will prove invaluable when establishing practices and procedures that minimize downtime and its costs. Furthermore, including your employees in such a key discussion establishes trust and appreciation for your teams. This is a great way to combat frustration and burnout, even when things go wrong in your facility.
Utilize R-Connect by Robopac USA
When you have eyes on your entire packaging system, you can monitor equipment and identify potential issues before they occur. That’s why R-Connect by Robopac USA is invaluable for facilities that utilize stretch film wrapping machines. R-Connect is an advanced monitoring system that empowers facilities to control operations with innovation, connectivity, and complete customer support.
For example, the system remotely monitors the stretch wrappers in your facility by tracking the number of pallets the machine has wrapped. With this information, R-Connect can alert you when you need to schedule preventative maintenance. R-Connect also gives alerts for emergency stops and other trigger alarms. With features such as remote management, cost optimization, and production performance checks, R-Connect minimizes operational downtime and grants you peace of mind about your facility’s productivity.
Robopac USA understands the stress of unplanned downtime. That’s why we provide equipment and solutions that can keep your facility operating at its best. Contact Robopac USA today to learn more about our stretch wrappers and other end-of-line packaging equipment innovations.