Preparing for a Temporary Facility Shutdown

During the holiday season, many organizations in the manufacturing industry are choosing to have temporary factory shutdowns. These breaks provide the opportunity for staff to take extended holidays and companies to save on overhead costs. Utilizing these shutdown periods for maintenance, repairs, installations and process improvements can also bring big benefit to your business.

Here we have outlined what to consider when planning a shutdown.

Leadership
Choosing the right leader will help your business achieve its objectives with minimal disruptions. This leader will need to be empowered to make decisions in tough situations, at project cross-roads, or if the project is veering off course.


Your chosen leader will need to have the authority to make cost decisions should something out of scope or unexpected arise during maintenance or repair. What if a maintenance technician finds that an expensive piece of machinery needs replacing unexpectedly? Or, a machine will not be up and running again on time to meet the schedule if the full maintenance is undertaken?

The ability to lead internal and external staff will also be a top priority for the staff member selected, they need to be able to drive progress with minimal employees or support available during the shutdown.

Best Practice
Reviewing previous shutdown documents, planning processes, and lessons learned will help inform decisions for your next shutdown. Successes can be replicated and mistakes avoided with proper execution and review.

While planning, it is important to review your machine manufacturers best practice manuals to establish recommended replacement schedules of parts as well as provide a refresher on general machine standards. Manufacturers can also help with training sessions or refresher courses for staff on maintenance procedures, safety standards, or necessary updates.

Planning
In order to have a successful shutdown, you need to have a plan. As a starting point, the project outline should establish which machines will be repaired, serviced, or reconfigured. It should also inform the inventory plan — which parts are needed on hand at the time of the shutdown based on best practice and your machines known wear and tear. It is important to plan early as the lead time on some items may be long.

Lastly for planning, decide which technician will be needed to work on each machine. If external vendor support is necessary, book these technicians in advance ensuring they can come during the shutdown. Be sure to plan when exactly they will be required onsite and what access they will need as approvals may be necessary before they arrive.

Future Shutdowns
Once your facility is back up and running it is easy to let closing out the project fall to the wayside. Even if a project was entirely successful it is important to document the process and outcomes so it can be replicated and future risks managed. Documenting what parts were replaced, which might need replacement next round, and changes that were made to the machines will help inform future facility needs.

Support
At Columbia/Okura we build our machines to last, understanding the huge investment they are for your business. We work with our customers to help them achieve the best ROI possible, this includes advising on maintenance needs and providing support if needed.

Contact your machine manufacturer to understand the support they offer their customers.

Columbia/Okura technicians are on hand to support you and your teams this holiday season.