The real cost of business downtime

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The real cost of business downtime

For any business, time is money. Given our growing technological dependence, one minor misconfiguration or full-scale system failure can lead to significantly reduced productivity — or worse still, complete business shutdown. Investigating how much downtime can cost businesses is manufacturing software specialist, Datawright:

An overview of business downtime

It’s bad news for European businesses, as IT and technology problems lead to 552 lost man hours each year. Reportedly, this downtime results in a 37% drop in revenue generation, as the critical tools for business success are made unavailable.

Sales and productivity can be impacted as a result of unplanned downtime regardless of sector. However, the associated cost of this varies accordingly. Influencing factors include the number of staff affected, the impact on productivity, how long the downtime lasts and the cost per employee per hour.

Let’s take the average UK manufacturer wage of £29,419 (the equivalent of £15.32 per hour, based on a 40-hour week) as an example. Should downtime strike the factory floor, preventing 50 members of staff from doing 50% of their job for five hours, the business would face a loss of £1,915 for just one incident. As the scale of the downtime increases, so does the associated loss, causing a major impact on productivity.

Salary-based loss is one thing, but we must also consider the reduction in potential revenue. If IT systems fail, for example, you could lose out on future sales as a result of unhappy customers. Regardless of sector, this is something all business will need to avoid if they are to continue their success.

Recognising and preventing the causes of business downtime

Before any preventative measures can be put in place, businesses must recognise the main cause of downtime. Studies have been carried out to establish the most common causes, although results can vary wildly. The overall causes of business downtime include hardware and software failure, human error, the weather and natural disasters, and power cuts.

Here’s how to tackle the problem of business downtime before it has the opportunity to impact your operations.

Staff training

You can never fully eliminate human errors, but investing in staff training can reduce their frequency. Ensure that all employees are fully aware of how to use the technology and software they require for their role to prevent issues like this from arising.

Update software

Given that software failure is one of the key business downtime causes, you should naturally prioritise keeping yours up-to-date. Clicking ‘remind me later’ will no longer cut it. Make sure you install all available updates for your software to ensure it can continue performing optimally, minimising the risk of failure.

Also consider the risks outdated systems pose. As cyberthreats continue to evolve and materialise, older systems that may not have the required security capacity become obvious targets. Review your software at timely intervals to ensure it remains fit for purpose and relevant.

Replace hardware

Your hardware is naturally vulnerable to wear and tear. Some industries will experience this more than others — for example, in manufacturing, machines and presses will require regular maintenance to ensure they remain functional and efficient.

In such a scenario, implement predictive and preventative maintenance. Doing so will help to establish when issues may arise and help prevent them from occurring at all.

While business downtime will still occur, having the right precautions in place can help minimise its impact.


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