Every company wishes to increase its productivity without deceleration due to technical breakdowns and other problems. However, sometimes unanticipated, unpredictable, or even anticipated problems can decelerate a company’s performance.
One of the primary factors that can cause your business to slow down is downtime.
Downtime is a situation that majority of the companies dread today as it can cost them valuable business time as well as funds to get back on track.
Most common scenarios include sudden equipment failure, technical letdown due to lack of maintenance or resources, lack of competent human resources, natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes, power breakdown and even cybercrime.
Nearly one-third of organisations have faced downtime over the last five years. On average, technical downtime costs companies $1.55 million annually. In fact, companies not only lose funds due to downtime, it affects their efficiency as well. Typically, companies lose 14.1 hours while an overwhelming 545 hours of employee efficiency are lost yearly due to downtime.
Consequences of Downtime on Your Business
According to a report, data center downtime can cost a company nearly $7,900 per minute.
Moreover, 93 percent of organisations that suffer from downtime for ten days or more, file for bankruptcy within 12 months while 40 percent of such companies file instantly.
Downtime, if not managed swiftly, can severely disturb your corporate performance. Some of the undesirable situations that can occur due to downtime are:
- Client disappointment and possible damage
- Decrease in sales profits
- Decrease in efficiency and workers’ self-confidence
- Exceptional expenditures for overtime, repair of technical systems and retrieval overheads for out of order equipment
- Harm to the company’s reputation
- Supply chains also experience a ripple effect
Strategies to Reduce Downtime in the Workplace
Want to avoid all catastrophes mentioned above? Keep your business well-prepared against downtime!
Here are five ways you can reduce downtime in the workplace.
1. Plan ahead your maintenance policy
One of the sure shot ways you can prepare your company for downtime is to come up with an infallible strategic maintenance policy.
Make sure that your maintenance policy has a good framework of upkeep procedures, and recommendations on how to handle maintenance hitches.
Your company should have sufficient equipment to articulate life procedures for the business while allowing for systematic upkeep. It is also imperative to implement an all-inclusive maintenance organization scheme and program, along with suitable systems control records.
To have a good maintenance policy for your company, here’s what you need to do:
- Remove extra servers and containerized services to dodge equipment breakdowns. Also, extend your set-up across numerous zones and information hubs.
- Reduce or completely remove traffic between servers, without causing any disruption to the service.
- Perform systematic checks to identify any redundant systems, and determine if they can still provide adequate service. Otherwise, redirect traffic from such systems to others till you find out why they are not working.
- Instead of using a single web server, switch to multiple web servers to extend your set-up.
- Implement database servers such as MySQL which allows both read and write processes, even on redundant servers. Putting all data on a single server can result in losing everything in case of server failure. MySQL can redirect data around a dying server due to its instinctive recognition of deteriorating servers.
2. Always observe and assess your systems
Frequently observe the performance of your systems to escape any downtime. You should monitor regularly for any looming problems that can be rectified before any tragedy occurs. Continuous observation and assessment can also explain the possible reasons of any former downtime.
Here are a few best practices:
- Note and collect all indicators of system resource consumption from your programs. Any variations in these indicators should make you aware of difficulties, and help decide what measure to take to escape downtime.
- You can also use any monitoring software application such as Graphite and Prometheus.
- Keep a close eye on metrics such as traffic, latency, saturation and errors.
3. Streamline software distribution
If you use too many software packages at the same time, chances are that your network will crash. Why? Because every software package consumes a large amount of bandwidth, which can result in downtime.
So, you need to streamline software distribution in order to boost your production set-up.
You can solve this issue by downloading only one software package on a single network. When software is installed, you can allow sharing between systems without decelerating work or generating any troubles.
4. Maintain a healthy work setting
Make sure your staff is energetic and healthy as they can play an important role in minimizing downtime. Having a worker who is unfit to operate an equipment successfully or engage in any other undertaking can decelerate development.
As an employer, your objective should be to ensure that everybody is functioning at their best level, and is capable of handling every task allocated to them. In case they aren’t, you should offer support and discover means to ensure they get back on the track quickly. Remember, their ailment or personal problems can cost your business in terms of efficiency. Therefore, frequently track their status, and make them feel as a part of the business. This will eventually motivate them to get back to work quickly even in the times of illness.
5. Focus on workplace safety and security
Having a safe workplace environment can also reduce downtime by eliminating the number of accidents that result in material or human loss.
Invest in a good online learning tool so that training your employees becomes a breeze. Regularly organize security measure trainings and discussions, and encourage employees to contribute in security commissions by sharing their opinions and suggestions. After all, they can easily identify the company’s main hazards. Using this information can help in setting the obligatory procedures.
Produce standard procedures on steps to take in the event of an accident, IT failure due to power breakdown and other causes. Also, ensure that all workers abide by the set procedures.
If any accident occurs resulting in downtime, take rapid action and thoroughly investigate the matter before reaching any conclusion. This will avoid additional harm and similar prospective accidents.
Downtime brings with it substantial losses for companies in terms of sales and clients, not to forget the expenses involved in repairing the equipment. All this can be avoided if proper steps are taken and strategic maintenance policies are well-defined since the beginning.
Ehsan Memari is a blogger for SkyPrep, a provider of leading online training software for organizations to train employees partners and customers. Ehsan is a regular contributor to blog posts related to knowledge sharing, L&D and eLearning. Follow him on Twitter @ehsanmemari.