Downtime in Manufacturing: The True Cost of Lost Production

Downtime in manufacturing represents a significant loss for the industry. While many manufacturers consider this a cost of doing business, lost production doesn’t have to be a fact of life. Instead, steps can be taken to minimize the amount of downtime in your facility.

It’s estimated that the average manufacturer deals with more than 15 hours of downtime per week. The exact cost of this loss will vary by facility, but consider that an average automobile manufacturer loses $22,000 USD per minute of downtime.

In today’s post, we’ll discuss the true cost of lost production. We’ll also examine ways that manufacturers can reduce downtime so that they can operate at peak efficiency.

How to Calculate Downtime in Production

Calculating downtime in production is a straightforward equation when you only consider the direct impact of downtime: lost production. The equation is:

Lost production = units per hour * profit per unit

Using this equation will give you an idea of the cost of downtime, but it’s not the entire picture. There are several other factors that will need to be considered when calculating the cost of downtime for your facility. Some of the other types of downtime in manufacturing are:


  • Wasted labor: When the machines stop running, people don’t stop getting paid. Consider what you’re paying people who cannot work when calculating the impact of downtime.
  • Lack of innovation: If a company is spending much of its time fixing issues, then employees are never given time and space to innovate. Instead, they’re putting out one fire and then moving on to the next. 
  • Employee stress: An indirect cost of downtime in manufacturing is the stress that is put on employees when machines stop working. This stress can lead to poor decision-making, which can further lead to costly mistakes.


While some of the above factors are not easily tracked, your company should be fully capable of tracking downtime in production. Your business should know every second that a machine is not functioning, from when it goes down to when it’s back in production. This information is vital when conducting follow-up investigations as to why the machine went down.

Reduce Downtime in Manufacturing to Save Money

Some downtime is inevitable, with many causes even being outside of your control. However, there is much that can be done to reduce the downtime that your facilities experience.


  • Conduct a risk audit: A comprehensive risk audit should be completed at regular intervals decided upon by your safety supervisors. This type of audit will address the risk of downtime, which largely means investigating the state of current machinery. 
  • Invest in real-time monitoring: Understanding as much about the cause of the downtime as possible is vital in resolving the problem. Your facility should have a real-time monitoring system that is capable of performing automated root cause analysis when downtime is detected. Ideally, the software will generate insights that help resolve the issue.
  • Train employees properly: A common cause of downtime is related to employee misuse or neglect. You can mitigate this cause of equipment downtime in manufacturing by providing excellent training programs for employees. Ensure that your training program has an ongoing training process as well.


Reducing downtime in your facility might mean investing in AI in manufacturing. Facilities with a strong monitoring system powered by AI are better equipped to understand and resolve the issues that cause downtime.

Can Your Facility Operate More Effectively?

An effective facility is one with minimal downtime. Is your facility currently effectively operating, or are you wrestling with weekly downtime? 

If you’re struggling to keep machines up and running, you may need to update your monitoring software. Properly understanding the status of every machine in the facility is a great way to ensure uptime, since you’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening in the facility. 

Additionally, using a monitoring system powered by AI means that it will be equipped to produce actionable insights for managers to help them reduce downtime. How can your facility benefit from AI in manufacturing?

Are you looking to explore how you can use predictive analytics to reduce downtime? Get in touch with Vanti today to learn more.


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