The continuing squeeze on supply chains also adds to the cost of breakdowns. When maintenance engineers struggle to source spare parts, it can take longer to get machines up and running again.
Multiple respondents to our survey cited spare parts as an ongoing challenge. One referenced “a critical shortage of spares” and told us that, “off-the-shelf items now have a four-week lead time”. Another said, “supply chain issues mean we can’t necessarily do the maintenance at the correct time at the moment”.
A third major cause of breakdowns is operator error – an issue frequently logged incorrectly as maintenance.
“I think a lot of businesses find it difficult to come up with consistent metrics to identify the cause and costs of downtime,” says Richard Jeffers, Managing Director of RS Industria. “Broadly speaking, performance issues are more likely to be operator-induced, and availability issues are more likely to be down to maintenance.” He adds: “I suspect that if we were to dig into that 20 hours of unplanned downtime in the survey, we’d find a lot of performance-related losses, as well as availability issues.”