Historically, downtime has been tolerated and fixed once it occurs. However, with the latest studies providing the actual costs involved with unplanned downtime, the problem is now being recognised as a serious issue that requires confronting before it has even occurred.
The study found:
- 82% of companies have experienced at least one unplanned downtime outage over the past three years (the average being two). These outages lasted an average of four hours.
- Based on Aberdeen’s calculations, downtime costs $260,000 an hour across all businesses – two episodes of downtime lasting four hours each equates to more than $2 million.
- 70% of companies or more lack full awareness of when their equipment is due for maintenance, upgrade or replacement.
- 65% of respondents from the energy and utilities sector, and 62% from the medical sector, cited losing customers’ trust as a possible impact of suffering a high-profile incident or disaster.
The new study, “After The Fall: Cost, Causes and Consequences of Unplanned Downtime,” surveyed 450 field service and IT decision makers in the UK, US, France and Germany across the manufacturing, medical, oil and gas, energy and utilities, telecoms, distribution, logistics and transport sectors, among others. The study finds that production and productivity, IT, and customer service are hit hardest by unplanned downtime, with damaging repercussions for businesses as a whole.
With industry coming out of a productivity slump, it is vitally important that companies recognise the importance of digital transformation in getting the true value out of their assets. One fear often found in companies is the inability to embrace digital technologies due to the legacy equipment that they are using. However, the industry is now at a stage where technology works retrospectively to gather data and help provide not just predictive maintenance, but also prescriptive maintenance to get a longer life out of legacy equipment.
The study further reveals the extent to which businesses are investing in digital tools and field service management solutions:
- 8 in 10 companies recognise that digital tools can eliminate unplanned downtime, and zero unplanned downtime is now the number one or high priority for 72% of organisations surveyed.
- 60% of organisations confirm that digital transformation is a high or number one board level priority, and 56% report the same for innovation.
Forty-five percent of respondents say that a digital twin with predictive maintenance would help prevent major failures, and 54% are planning to invest in a digital twin by 2020. Likewise, field service management is expected to become a primary revenue driver within the next two years, on average.
“As the world has become more reliant on machines, we’ve seen a widening gap in asset efficiency awareness that’s historically gone largely unnoticed,” said Mark Homer, Vice President Global Customer Transformation for ServiceMax, from GE Digital. “This fractured insight is unnecessarily lengthening recovery time, but the research hints at a tipping point in recognition of the problem and planned investment to address it. In the same way field service management solutions moved from being reactive to proactive to preventative, we are seeing a similar shift in attitudes to unplanned downtime from recovery to protection to pre-emptive. Over time, zero tolerance and zero unplanned downtime will become the norm as companies develop and invest in their industrial digital strategies.”
As seen from the study, many companies are already on the road to digital transformation, but for many the investment is still too high. In order to reach companies not already on this digital journey, more studies need to be produced to highlight the advantages of the technologies available and of course, the more the technology is developed, the cheaper it will get.
A copy of the Vanson Bourne Whitepaper, Executive Summary and Infographics, can be downloaded here: http://lp.servicemax.com/Vanson-Bourne-Whitepaper-Unplanned-Downtime-LP.html
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