Downtime can be:
- Planned (when an outage period occurs for scheduled equipment maintenance);
- Unplanned (when the shutdown happens because of an unexpected equipment failure).
Planned downtime is paramount to any construction project. It can help identify potential problems before they become blockages, increase the lifespan of equipment, and control maintenance costs. If downtime is properly scheduled and all stakeholders are well-informed, interruptions do not have a major impact on operations’ efficiency and profitability.
Unplanned downtime, in contrast, goes beyond inconvenience. In a project-critical construction yard, it can significantly delay the whole timeline and generate very high opportunity costs.
How to calculate downtime?
You can calculate equipment downtime as the percentage of time lost from the planned operations:
Time down/Planned operation time x 100 = Downtime
Let’s say that in normal circumstances, your crawler dozer operates 6 hours per day, 22 days a month. Due to a sudden electrical failure, it was sent to the service and resumed operations only after 14 hours:
14/22×6 x 100 = 10.6%
This means that you have lost 10.6% of the time from the 132 hours the crawler dozer would typically be in use. As a reference, the worldwide standard of equipment downtime (planned and not) is 10% or less. Ideally, assets should be fully operational at least 90% of the time.
Use this formula to calculate and average the downtime for all equipment. You can then consider this average as a benchmark to compare individual machines. For more clarity, these insights can be combined with the number of downtime occurrences or their frequency.
The cost of downtime
Now that it’s clear how much time was wasted due to unplanned machinery failure, we should convert it into monetary losses. Time is money, after all.
There’s no widely accepted formula to calculate the total cost of downtime. To understand purely equipment-related costs, multiply the asset’s average hourly revenue from the time it was down. For example, during the 14 obsolete hours, the dozer that generates $50/h put the company at a disadvantage of $700.
Depending on your business specifics, you can plug in additional operational estimates in the equation. Employee wages, emergency maintenance, (in)direct costs incurred by project timeline delays, etc., can help create an even more accurate representation. The more complex the project, the higher the impact of the cascaded delays. To grasp its extent, multiply the chance of a downtime with the number of equipment involved in the project and the multitude of interconnected work fronts which are delayed one after another.
Behind the numbers
There’s more to these numbers than the disclosure of lost time or revenue.
Firstly, they show how prepared to sustain the equipment is your business. A continuously high downtime might signal asset estate ignorance. Unfortunately, it is a common problem across organizations in all sectors. Research reveals that 70% of companies admit lacking partial (or sometimes – full) awareness of equipment being due for maintenance, upgrade or replacement.
Secondly, the high number of downtime occurrences raises a red flag when it comes to equipment reliability. In the construction industry, unreliable equipment deprives customer relations, brand credibility and even employee satisfaction. Lengthy and frequent downtime can also mean poor maintenance compliance and low traceability.
Lastly, the lost revenue indicator can shed a light on pieces of equipment that are critical to your construction yard. Assets that produce the highest hourly loss of revenue should be the first to have their preventive maintenance sorted out.
Preventive maintenance – regular sustenance of construction assets in order to keep them healthy and forestall unexpected failure – is key to reducing the downtime’s length, frequency, and costs.
But it’s easier to explain it than to put it into practice. Each piece of machinery comes with extensive, precise guidelines. Combining them into an efficient process (especially when it comes to large fleets of equipment) is a time-consuming, complex task prone to human error. Because of that, many companies turn to software solutions which:
- Streamline preventive maintenance process;
- Help with maintenance scheduling;
- Ensure traceability;
- Notify all stakeholders (field technicians, parts suppliers, customers/operators, etc.) in due time;
- Optimize used resources for maximum output;
- Remove or decrease unplanned downtime.
Predictive dynamic fleet handling: a success story of mateco Romania
With the help of big data analytics, AI, and precise automated data feeds management we can elevate predictive maintenance to a whole new level – predictive dynamic fleet handling.
What if each machine model could:
- Self-schedule dynamic preventive maintenance (including automated consumables ordering) based on the usage intensity and duration at a given moment/site;
- Self-diagnose potential malfunctions before they take place (and even before delivering the units on a given site, so the Total Cost of Operations is reduced to a minimum);
- Improve operators’ abilities to use machines at their optimum capacity;
- Provide accurate work reports which streamline the usage of the machine?
Working with our customer mateco Romania, we built a seamless fleet management ecosystem which fulfils all of the above.
A self-conscious fleet
We enabled mateco’s fleet – from powered access equipment to earthmoving and compaction machinery – to be self-conscious about its maintenance and self-schedule it at the right time, for the right part, with the right technician. Fewer back-office staff, less downtime.
Zero errors and full traceability
One single parts specialist for more than 60 brands and types of equipment. More than 80 field technicians. A fleet of 5000 tools and machines spread all over Romania. All interactions between mateco’s staff and equipment can be managed remotely, using a smartphone or a laptop, with a minimal amount of errors and full traceability.
Imagine receiving a message from your scissor lift: “You will have to replace my front wheel seal kit within the next 15 working hours to prevent unplanned downtime. You may also combine the on-site intervention with the planned preventive maintenance that will become due within the next 30 pump hours. I am located at project Y in City, 25mi away from your City 1 depot and 14mi away from your technician, Mr. Johnson, who has the parts and a free time slot available.” We made it possible.
With 17 years of experience in custom development for market leaders like mateco Romania, our team is ready to handle your worst downtime nightmares.