Study finds zero unplanned downtime is reaching a tipping point

19 October 2017

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The costs, causes and repercussions of unplanned downtime are triggering investment in digital tools and field service management, according to a new Vanson Bourne global study, sponsored by ServiceMax, from GE Digital, provider of field service management tools.

The study found:

  • 82 per cent 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 per cent of companies or more lack full awareness of when their equipment is due for maintenance, upgrade or replacement.
  • 65 per cent of respondents from the energy and utilities sector, and 62 per cent 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.

The study further reveals the extent to which businesses are investing in digital tools and field service management products:

  • 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 per cent of organisations surveyed.
  • 60 per cent of organisations confirm that digital transformation is a high or number one board-level priority, and 56 per cent report the same for innovation.
  • Forty-five per cent of respondents say that a digital twin with predictive maintenance would help prevent major failures, and 54 per cent 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.

Mark Homer, Vice President Global Customer Transformation for ServiceMax, from GE Digital says: “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. 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.”

A copy of the Vanson Bourne Whitepaper, Executive Summary and Infographics, can be downloaded here.

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