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Costing the impact of business downtime

Published: 8 December 2017 - Lisa Peake

Costing the impact of business downtime 

You may think that business downtime is just one of those unavoidable events, yet the impact it can have on your business is huge. Examining this in more detail is manufacturing software specialist Datawright.

The current picture of business downtime across industries. Every year in Europe, an estimated 552 man hours are lost, which leads to a 37 per cent reduction in revenue generation. The associated costs of this can alter between industries. Let’s use manufacturing as an example.

In the UK, the average salary for a manufacturer is £29,419, or the equivalent of £15.32 per hour. Should downtime strike the factory floor, preventing 50 members of staff from doing 50 per cent of their job for five hours, the business would face a loss of £1,915 for just one incident. As the scale of the downtime increases, so does the associated loss.

This lost productivity can also lead to lost potential revenue from new business. In essence, the true cost of business downtime could be a lot higher than this.

What causes business downtime?

There are a number of causes of business downtime, as many studies have established. Some of the most common causes have been found to include: hardware and software failure, human error, the weather and natural disasters, and power cuts.

Preventing business downtime

Knowing the main causes is the first step to preventing business downtime — so how do you do it?

Stopping software failure

Although common, software failure can easily be prevented by ensuring you keep your systems up-to-date. Make sure you install all available updates for your software to ensure it can continue performing optimally, minimising the risk of failure. Remain cautious of using outdated systems. As cyber threats continue to evolve and materialise, older systems that may not have the required security capacity become obvious targets. Review your software at timely intervals to ensure it remains fit for purpose and relevant.

Predicting and preventing hardware issues

General wear and tear as well as complete failure can strike hardware in your business. Some industries will experience this more than others — for example, in manufacturing, machines and presses will require regular maintenance to ensure they remain functional and efficient. To combat this issue, carry out regular maintenance to establish the current state of your hardware, and predict the possibility of any future issues.

Invest in staff training

Human error also plays a part in business downtime. You can combat the likelihood of this impacting your business through investing in staff training. Ensure that all employees are fully aware how to use the technology and software they require for their role to prevent against issues like this from arising. Clearly, minimising the frequency of business downtime is a high priority for any business that values their productivity and profitability.

Source: Electrical Engineering

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