Report: Manufacturers say unexpected equipment downtime is the biggest risk to meeting production targets

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New research from Plant Services and Augury shows that 81% of manufacturers say demand for their products is increasing. This report surveyed both business respondents and frontline workers and found that 36% of companies and 44% of frontline respondents view unexpected machine downtime as the greatest risk to meeting production targets. Unplanned production downtime caused by unexpected machine failures is common and can last for days.

Both groups saw supply chain disruptions as the biggest challenge in their current business (56.4% and 52.5%), respectively. The next top challenges cited by business respondents are unplanned production downtime (40%) and compliance and regulatory hurdles (38%), while for factory floor respondents, the gap/retraining of the workforce (49%) at came in second and staff shortages (exacerbated by the pandemic) linked to unplanned production stoppages (48%) for third.

Despite unplanned downtime being the biggest threat to meeting production targets, two-thirds of corporate respondents report being unable to visualize the real-time health of critical assets across all locations of their business, which can have a devastating financial ripple effect throughout their company. Only 49% of frontline respondents said they had access to information about the operating costs of the machine failures.

Bar chart showing the top challenges manufacturers face when collecting data about their assets.  The biggest hurdles are the time it takes to collect the data and the time it takes to analyze the data.

This lack of visibility means that 83% of maintenance and reliability teams use preventive maintenance strategies, which are labor-intensive and often lead to unnecessary maintenance tasks, while 46% fail, further stretching the teams that are understaffed and under-qualified. Only 26% of manufacturers use real-time condition-based predictive maintenance. This technology typically uses a combination of AI and IoT to predict machine failures before they happen, minimizing unexpected downtime and keeping production lines running.

This report surveyed more than 150 professionals, including both corporate and factory workers in the food, beverage, CPG, construction products, pulp and paper and other manufacturing sectors.

Read the full report from Plant Services and Augury.

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