How to identify production line failures

To keep assembly lines running and to maintain product quality, manufacturing organisations rely heavily on systems hardware and software to minimise production line failure.

But even if production lines are the backbone of a business, they are still very susceptible to weaknesses — and issues are startlingly common.

What’s worse, most companies aren’t even aware of these weaknesses before they become fully-fledged system failures.

Symptoms of production line failure arise early and are often too easily dismissed as potential red flags. Some of these include:

  • Delays in getting information from one unit to the other;
  • Delays in getting orders into the production schedule; and
  • Delays in getting the completed orders delivered.

Whether it’s an untreated hardware or software issue, a potential security breach, or a delay in production — the warning signals are there.

What happens when you leave risks to your production line unchecked

When systems fail and production comes to a halt, the consequences can be costly and result in:

  • Lengthy periods of downtime;
  • Product spoilage;
  • Loss of crucial data; and
  • The need for the complete replacement of hardware.

How do failures occur?

You may be wondering: how can I stop a problem when I don’t even know where or how it starts?

Some problems that crop up with computer-generated production lines are temporary, while others are permanent and require complete replacement.

Your system can be affected by any number of things, including:

  • Liquid spills;
  • Power surges;
  • Virus attacks; or
  • Basic glitches — even a simple power restart can cause issues.

Undergoing a complete and thorough assessment of your systems is the only option — and it is vital. 

Are your systems as secure as they need to be?

Almost every organisation has a honeypot of private data, readily available to anyone with the right access. We put a lot of trust in our systems security to ensure that data is safe.

But no matter how vigilant you may be, your systems may still be vulnerable to malicious viruses, hacking attacks, and even human and systems errors that grant unauthorised access to the wrong people.

Some unit failures aren’t a massive deal; they might just make the process less efficient on a given day.

However, other unit failures could cripple a business. And in business, reputation is key. If a production line failure results in the inability to deliver a product or service — there’s a high chance it will damage that business’s reputation.

If your company relies on a functioning production line, ask yourself these key questions:

  • Has anyone done a risk assessment recently?
  • Is there a unit that, if it failed, would stop the whole line?
  • Is there a standby unit?
  • Are people trained to manage when that unit fails?
  • Is there a documented method of dealing with a failure? 

How can you manage the system integration process to prevent data silos?

There are many ways to move data from one system to another. Some methods are complicated, but there are many simple and straightforward methods.

Most modern systems, like Xero or Salesforce, have API interfaces that allow you to streamline and manage data from multiple systems. This capability enables smoother integration and less manual, error-prone data manipulation. However, if you are unable to automate the integration between your systems, there will almost always be a manual option available to you. For example, most accounting systems have the ability to import data from a CSV file. This enables you to extract valuable information from your disconnected systems, and import data without the need for manual transcription.

What’s your downtime risk — and how much is it costing you?

Every manufacturing company experiences production line failure at some point. They’re frustrating, disruptive and costly.

You need to know exactly where your systems are at risk of shutting you down. You also need to know how much every hour of downtime costs, factoring in everything from production quality to lost employee hours.

Once you’ve calculated the cost of downtime, you can set to work on limiting it as much as possible. 

Find out how vulnerable you really are: get a free risk assessment

Mintec has been providing software improvements and solutions for leading Australian companies for 39 years. We’re here to offer you a starting point; a free, multi-point assessment of the critical systems risks in your business. Your tailored report will:

  • Identify risk factors across hardware, software and security;
  • Quantify downtime cost;
  • Flag areas for improvement; and
  • Provide specific, actionable measures you can implement yourself. 


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