time and motion study

Maintenance Management Resources
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TDC - Maintenance Time Category

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These are per downtime occurrence entries, but most can be exported from your CMMS. Your existing method of reporting need only meet the TDC recommendations below.

You've heard time can get away from you, well it can cost more than you realize too. The procedure for reporting time related to equipment breakdowns and malfunctions is the most important category of all TDC cost factors. Just minutes in downtime reduction adds up over week, month, year.

Most reporting methods start the downtime clock when maintenance arrives at the scene and stops it when they leave. There should be two start time fields in a maintenance report; estimated time malfunction started, and time maintenance started repair. On some malfunctions labeled "annoyance", the difference between start of malfunction to the start of repair can be quite substantial.

Breaking down the time into various stages will help pull your company out of mind sets that has been costing the industry millions in lost production. This is what makes companies like VersaCall and Wonderware, who cater to automated reporting of production reduction and stoppage so popular.

Your Work orders/CMMS software should have the following time fields and their associated completed date/times.

Date/Time symptoms first noticed

  • as reported by supervisor or operator

Date/Time work order generated or reported to maintenance
Date/Time Maintenance investigated/troubleshoot
Date/Time maintenance made band-aid
If delayed do to waiting on parts or outsourcing, amount of wait time

  • Waiting on parts, service, or OEM is wrongly accepted as being out of maintenance control.

Time Started taking equipment out of production

  • This is important to track reduced production time while equipment is ramping down.

Time Maintenance started permanent repair
Time placed back into production
Time full production speed reach


You will have the information to make more informed decisions about ...

  • Repair under planned or unplanned downtime?
  • Repair under planned or unplanned downtime?
  • Repair or Replace?
  • Report it or just deal with it?
  • Strict work order policies, or passive?
  • Run-to-failure or predictive maintenance?


More accurate reporting of times related to occurrence will bring your focus on known major cost factors...

  • 90% of the time is spent finding the problem and how to fix it, 10% actually replacing the fuse.
  • Who or what technical support will be available to take care of an end user whose production line is down at 2 a.m. on the week end?
  • One company, seen automation of lubrication points on just two lines translated into 30 to 60 hours of additional machine time and profit gains of £60,000 to £120,000 annually.


Learn by example; one of VersaCall's customers:

The USPS determined the operational cost of the entire facility to be between $135.00 and $160.00 per minute. They further determined that they could conservatively save ten minutes per 16-hour workday by installing a VT400 system to reduce the down time lost. Data collected and reported by the VT400 system showed that they were, on average, saving a combined 10 minutes over two shifts. This amounts to $1350.00 to $1,600.00 per day, or over $6,750 per 5-day workweek.

As with all the other maintenance data entry categories, procedures must be put in place backed by the support and understanding of management. Neglecting this vital communication function will provide less than acceptable results. A system is useless unless data collection is a well-defined process. A CMMS lives on data.

See also...

Why CMMS Implementations Fail - Sep. 1998
Handhelds Speed Work at Corning Cable Systems - November 2001

Harley-Davidson Revs Up Its Maintenance Savings - Sept. 1997
Check Work Management Functions When Selecting a CMMS - Dec. 1997
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