Home Business Business Downtime – How to Avoid and Manage It Where Necessary

Business Downtime – How to Avoid and Manage It Where Necessary

by William Gist

Depending on the type of business you are in charge of, your operation might be more or less susceptible to downtime. Downtime, even in the best-managed businesses, cannot be avoided. It is, however, the type of downtime you are facing that determines how it is dealt with and how much it will cost.

Types of Industrial Downtime

Industrially speaking, there are two types of operational downtime a business might experience. These are planned and unplanned downtime – it is the latter that you need to avoid (or deal with in the least detrimental way).

Planned Downtime


This is the less detrimental period of idle time during which your warehousing facility is non-operational. Planned downtime can be caused by a myriad of legitimate reasons, like planned maintenance on your forklifts, or a structural integrity inspection of your pallet racks. A piece of free advice from pallet racking specialists Speedrack West out of Oregon – safety inspections of existing pallet shelves at your warehouse must be carried out on regular basis, with all results carefully detailed in your logbooks.

Planned downtime can be a good opportunity to catch up on other things too, so good managerial practices and efficient planning will help your business make the most of planned downtime.

Unplanned Downtime


This is the one to look out for as unplanned downtime is caused by operational issues like power outages, machine breakdowns, accidents, etc. The effects of unplanned downtime to your business can be far-reaching. First and foremost is the loss of profit. Idle machinery and staff do not generate profit. The costs associated with prolonged unplanned downtime can be very detrimental and cause further problems in the future for your operation and that of your business partners. So the best solution to dealing with unplanned downtime is to avoid it altogether.

How Can An Unpredictable Event Be Avoided?

Let’s face it, something that cannot be predicted cannot be avoided, although it can be anticipated. Perhaps the best way to manage the negative effects of unplanned business downtime is to avoid it as much as possible. This might seem like an impossible task, but if you were to take at least basic steps toward downtime-proofing your business, consider the following:

Investment in Risk Reduction


Investment in risk reduction means you spend money in order to minimize the likelihood of unplanned downtime. This could be as simple as purchasing more reliable or efficient machinery or using higher quality materials in everyday operations. Unplanned business downtime can be caused by delays in suppliers and materials vital to your everyday work. The solution here would be to reconsider your supply channels or put in place contingency plans (stockpiling on specific item or material) or perhaps utilizing your own or one-off transport of goods to resolve such situations. The precise ways in which you can avoid downtime for your business is best done after a thorough analysis of current business practices.



Futureproofing is another good strategy to keep your business safer from the negative and far-reaching effects of unplanned downtime. There are many ways to devise and implement a future-proofing strategy. First up, learn from the mistakes of the past. Any setback that your business has survived has made your organization stronger, so learn from the experience. The prevention of unplanned downtime can be as simple as continuous staff training to ensure a safer and more efficient/productive work environment.

Investing time, effort, and resources in the prevention of unplanned business downtime might seem daunting. In the long run though, such contingency strategies can potentially save you from a lot of trouble.