The Reasons Behind Manufacturing Downtime 

Manufacturing downtime can have a ripple effect on any company. Inventory declines, supply chains are slowed, employees are left without work and customers are disappointed.

Additionally, manufacturing downtime statistics are evidence that the ripple effect can have a huge effect on a company’s bottom line. While downtime costs by industry will vary, the average cost of downtime in manufacturing has been estimated at around $50 billion every year in all.

Just as the consequences of machine downtime are varied, so too are the reasons.

Causes of Machine Downtime

There are a number of manufacturing downtime reasons, which can include any of the following:

Equipment malfunctions

Workplace accidents and machinery malfunctions account for a large amount of manufacturing downtime. Heavy equipment can be placed under high degrees of stress, leaving it prone to overheating, wear and tear, and general malfunctions.

Human error

Sometimes workplace mishaps are the fault of an employee whose actions caused a necessary shutdown of equipment or other means of production. These actions can be both accidental or intentional in nature.

Unavailable inventory, parts, or resources

Running out of available inventory, spare parts, or other resources like fuel can get in the way of the manufacturing process and create downtime. Even a power or other utility outage can disrupt workflow and cause downtime.

Employee shortages

Missing a key employee can lead to downtime across the manufacturing floor. This is especially the case in smaller operations when there may only be a few select workers who are licensed to operate certain machines.

Poor planning

It’s not uncommon for manufacturing facilities to lack data surrounding their system’s need for maintenance, repairs and updates, or upgrades. In fact, only around one quarter of equipment operators describe their maintenance approach as “predictive” and based on analytics.

Solutions to Manufacturing Downtime

For every problem there’s a solution, and the first step towards solving machine downtime is to know how much it occurs and what the overall impact is. Take advantage of our downtime calculator tool to get an accurate picture of how much it’s costing your business.

TPC Live is dedicated to helping reduce manufacturing downtime by providing expert, preventative training solutions. We are the leader in live, instructor-led training, offering professional teaching in mechanical, industrial, electrical, and HVAC operations, maintenance, and repairs. We also provide plant management training to help you increase efficiency, reduce energy costs, and trim the fat off your operation to create lean manufacturing downtime.

Just some of the industries we serve include:

  • Food and beverage
  • Automotive
  • Pulp and paper
  • Packaging
  • Oil and gas
  • Consumer goods
  • Chemical engineering
  • Utilities
  • School facilities

We offer in person as well as virtual instructor led training. Find a classroom near you or view our schedule of upcoming virtual training sessions.

Contact us with any questions about our live training and learn how spending some uptime with TPC reduces the downtime at your facility.


As a retired Facility Manager, I found this article well written and spot on!

Robin Cholewa | 01.02.22