1st Edition

Process Downtime Reduction How to Minimize Waste from Breakdowns, Set-Ups, Supply Chain Issues, and Staffing Constraints

By Michael R. Beauregard Copyright 2023
    174 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    174 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    174 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    Among the biggest mistakes manufacturers make is not keeping key equipment and processes running and making saleable product when needed. This situation existed when the author Mike Beauregard began working in manufacturing years ago and it currently remains true in companies ostensibly focusing on Lean. To improve, companies often rely on increasing productivity by making products faster and with more automation, but many fail to focus on the area in which they can get the biggest gains for their efforts – the reduction of downtime.

    This book provides readers the techniques they crucially need to keep their critical manufacturing equipment running correctly and efficiently – which increases production, decreases labor costs, decreases breakdown costs, and ultimately increases the bottom line. Downtime in production lines stems from many sources. The contribution might be small for many of those sources, but it adds up.

    Downtime and its causes then insidiously become the norm, accepted, unseen by the workforce and the management team. Most training courses and books look at a specific cause of downtime – mainly, either product changeover (set-up reduction) or breakdowns (TPM). This book addresses these two areas and many other sources of downtime including how to decrease downtime caused by supply chain issues, staffing issues, and downtime internal to the processes themselves.

    In the final chapter, the author covers how to manage the downtime reduction effort – how to measure downtime, prioritize which downtime sources to attack first, and monitor the improvement.

    List of Figures



    About the Author

    1. Introduction - "Your Order is Going to be Late"

    Downtime = Lost $$

    Other Costs of Process Downtime

    Process Downtime

    The Course to Zero Downtime

    2. Process Set-Up Reduction

    Pit Stop

    Basic Concepts

    Reduce the Set-up Time with a Team

    New Processes


    3. Breakdowns

    Designing the Process to Prevent Breakdowns

    Preventing Breakdowns and Recurrences

    Total Productive Maintenance – TPM

    Spare parts


    4. In-Process Downtime

    Delays Built Into the Cycle

    Poorly Programmed Tool Paths

    Getting the Process Ready/Time to Reach Steady State

    Machine Speed is Slowed Down

    Loading/Unloading the Process


    Extra Operations, such as a second rinse

    Operator Needed to Start the Process


    Excessive Recycle/Rework Loops

    Assembly Line or Cell Start-Up and Shutdown

    Conveyance Issues

    Unbalanced Operations


    5. No One to Run It


    Dealing with Breaks, Lunchtime, Shift Change, and Meetings

    Dealing with Downtime Due to Meetings/Projects

    Dealing with Quality Checks

    Covering for Absences/People Scheduling Issues

    Absenteeism for Sickness/Health

    Attendance Metrics/Attendance Policy

    Poor Safety

    Culture Change


    6. Supply Chain Problems – "For Want of a Nail…"

    Getting Product to the Line

    Poor Planning

    Supplier Problems

    Unreliable Shipping Companies

    Inconsistent Customer Orders

    Waste Disposal


    7. Managing the Effort

    How Much Downtime Do We Have?

    Identifying the Vital Few

    Attack the Downtime

    Monitor Downtime Going Forward

    Keep Learning

    Glossary of Acronyms

    Glossary of Terms


    Mike Beauregard is the founder of Resource Engineering Consulting LLC, a consulting and training firm located in Manchester, Connecticut. Mike is an international consultant and lecturer on the application of lean manufacturing and quality improvement techniques to manufacturing, warehousing, and distribution operations. He has successfully applied improvement techniques in companies ranging from 10-person start-up companies to Fortune 500 manufacturers. Mike has co-authored twenty-one published books and training systems on quality improvement and lean manufacturing tools including A Practical Guide to Statistical Quality Improvement published by Van Nostrand Reinhold and the highly successful SPC in Action series published by Quality Resources. Also among his works are The Basics of FMEA, published by Productivity Press, and 5S, an interactive computer-based training system on workplace organizational techniques.

    Mike graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park in chemical engineering and has held engineering, manufacturing, and plant management positions in the discrete parts manufacturing, plastics, and chemical process industries. As plant manager for the Rogers Corporation’s Elastomeric Products Unit, he led his site to win the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award. Winning this award was based on the results the unit achieved by integrating lean manufacturing and quality improvement techniques into its overall business approach. Mike is a registered Professional Engineer and a Certified Quality Engineer. He is an eight-time member of the Board of Examiners for NIST’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and served the two Connecticut quality awards as a senior examiner, team leader, and instructor for examiners. Mike is certified in lean implementation by the Supplier Excellence Alliance (SEA), the aerospace supply-chain consortium.

    While living in Japan on an extended business assignment, Mike spent half a year studying and applying the Toyota Seisan Hoshiki (Production System) with tutelage from Ohno san. 

    Mike san and I studied the Toyota Seisan Hoshiki together under Ohno sensei many years ago. In Downtime Reduction, Mike san provides readers the benefits of his learnings from applying techniques to eliminate wastes and downtime in manufacturing operations worldwide.

    – Chiaki Umeno, President and CEO, Otalite Company, Ltd., Fukuoka, Japan

    As the former president of seven food and consumer product companies that would have benefitted from this book, I found it a well-written, easy-to-read, and practical discussion on how to improve Operations. It  includes numerous "real-world" situations experienced by author among varied customers and ends with a very practical summary of specific steps on how to manage the downtime reduction process.

    – Robert A Fox, retired president of Canada Dry, Continental Can, Clarke Hooper America,  Del Monte,- Foster Farms, Nabisco International, Revlon International.