Report: Most common cause of manufacturing downtime is human error

Published
November 07,2017 - 12:00pm

User error is a more common cause of unplanned downtime in the manufacturing sector than almost any other sector, according to a new Vanson Bourne global study, sponsored by ServiceMax from GE Digital, a provider of field service management solutions. Unplanned downtime triggered by user error is 23% compared to as low as 9% in other sectors.

The new study, “After The Fall: Cost, Causes and Consequences of Unplanned Downtime,” surveyed more than 100 manufacturers globally at the field service and IT decision maker level in the US, UK, France and Germany. The research also surveyed around 350 companies in other sectors globally across the medical, oil and gas, energy and utilities, telecoms, distribution, logistics and transport sectors, among others.

“It’s perhaps not surprising that the manufacturing sector has higher levels of human error given the breadth of machinery and equipment that requires maintenance and intervention by service engineers and technicians,” stated Mark Homer, Vice President Global Customer Transformation for ServiceMax. “While some manufacturers have started to digitize their service offerings with automated field service management that can trigger remedial action or intervention before a failure or outage takes place, large parts of the manufacturing sector have yet to put such systems in place. The knock-on effect of these episodes of unplanned downtime have obvious repercussions on OEE [Overall Equipment Effectiveness] levels for manufacturing businesses.”

According to the report:

  • 48% of respondents from the manufacturing sector admit there is considerable room for improvement when it comes to proactively preventing problems with assets for their organisation.
  • This proportion is only larger (55%) in the telecoms sector.
  • Across all sectors, 82% of companies have experienced at least one unplanned downtime outage over the past three years, with the average number of outages being two.
  • The study revealed high levels of asset estate ignorance across organisations in all sectors, with 70% of companies or more, lacking full awareness of when equipment is due for maintenance, upgrade or replacement.

Edited from information provided by GE Digital's ServiceMax. A copy of the Vanson Bourne Whitepaper and Executive Summary can be downloaded here.