Total Business Magazine

The Real Cost of Machine Downtime

For many businesses across the UK, Machine downtime can cause major complications. If there is no preparation in place, interruptions to appliances and cause alerting outcomes on productivity and profit margins.

A study commissioned by Oneserve revealed machine down time costs the UK approximately £18 billion a year.

There are allegations, that if this was reduced, could boost the UK economy at a time when it’s most essential with the uncertainties of Brexit still floating. But what is the true impact of machine downtime in UK industry and what solutions are available?

Machine downtime for UK companies

Machine downtime is certainly not planned and causes any manufacturing process to cease. With growing consumerism creating higher demand for products, fast and efficient machine procedures are critical to a firm’s success. But does the impact of machine downtime differ by industry?

In the global automotive industry, one minute of machine downtime can costs just under £17,00, while a British Airways technical failure in 2017 came with a price tag of £80 million, according to the airline’s CEO. Due to the rising reliance on technology across the board, machine downtime affects every industry, even computer systems can bring major costs to a UK business, if they were to go down with average cost of £3.6 million a year.

It’s not just the financial side that are affected by machine downtime, a company’s reputation is also on the line if it fails to meet a supplier’s demand, along the stress on employees who must rectify the down time.

How to calculate the costs of downtime

To calculate the costs of down time, you must first work out the following:

  • Labour costs —The duration of the machine downtime period x the hourly pay rate of your operators to = your lost labour costs.
  • Product costs — The price of a single-unit product x by the total of items you produce in a certain period x by the machine downtime period.
  • Recovery costs — Work out how much it costs you for: machine reboots, energy surges, replacing/repairing parts, and retrieving lost data + your other calculations to get a more accurate machine downtime value.
  • Extra costs —Simply bear in mind that the value of machine downtime goes beyond profits lost during the downtown period.
  • Total cost – All the above costs + total cost of machine downtime. Ensure that you use the same units of time to work each section out for an accurate outcome (e.g. employee pay per hour, product output per hour, etc.).


With the costs of machine downtime being clear, it’s important for companies to ensure a plan is implemented to help reduce the negative impact. Statistically, more than half of machinery downtime is cased by hidden internal faults. it’s essential that you regularly check and maintain your machines.

Chris Proctor, Oneserve CEO, states that: “One of the most common technical faults is the overheating of particular parts, especially where there is metal on metal, as these can short electrical circuits and cause the machines to stop running.

“Vibrations, usually the first sign a machine is breaking, are another major cause of internal technical fault — they cause a cascading effect which can have a devastating impact on the machine. General wear and tear, as well as operator misuse, can also be the cause of technical fault.

“Simple services, like Industrial Pump Repairs, can enlighten you to internal issues that could have otherwise sparked lengthy machine downtime if not noticed. Adopt a preventative maintenance mindset and check your machines and computers for viruses, glitches, and inefficient parts that could cause a companywide cessation of work.”

Boost manager-to-operator communications so that those working with the machines in question can relay concerns if they have any before it’s too late. Commit your company by regularly updating your software, equipment and training staff to use machines and work station properly.

For all industries, machine downtime is likely to occur. However, it doesn’t have to spell disaster. Bear preventative methods in mind and make sure to keep on top of downtime calculations so that you have an accurate oversight of the effect of downtime on your staff, processes, and profit margin.

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