We’ve all been there – promising to deliver a product before it’s finished and something goes horribly wrong… the press breaks down, missing components, ran out of branding decals… 

Unexpected production delays can compromise operation goals. They can never be eliminated -but reducing the frequency results in happier employees and ultimately – happier customers. 

I ran across an article by Brad Poulter, 6 Ways to Help Eliminate Unscheduled Downtime, with some great advice about tracking and reducing the amount of downtime in a manufacturing facility. Brad is the Executive Vice President of Operations at Best Transportation Service, Inc. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Accurately track downtime so you can pinpoint reoccurring issues. Implementing an automatic tracker will alert you in real time.

2. Train your employees to use equipment correctly and do simple maintenance. Empowering them to make decisions on the fly is a win-win for you and them.

3. Invite input from employees who use the equipment daily. Involving them in the decision process makes them more invested.

4. Schedule monthly maintenance. Don’t neglect your work horses!

5. Use local suppliers that can courier parts when necessary. (Speaking from experience, we’ve rescued customers from lines-down situations with our vendor-managed inventory program.)

6. Create goals and evaluate regularly. Offer incentives. Motivated employees are much more productive employees. 

Improving the operations and empowering employees will positively affect every aspect of production. Proactively taking steps will reinforce your commitment to customers and employees.