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Trend report from machine downtime tracking in LEANworx

Want to freeze CapEx on new machines for 2 years ? Here’s how !

How a firm used LEANworx for machine downtime tracking and froze all capital expenditure on new machines for 2 years, even though their orders were increasing by 15 % a year.

About the LEANworx user
Manufacturer of machined castings for export – railway parts, off road vehicles. Machines are CNC lathes, machining centers, foundry equipment. Total 56 machines. Works two 12-hour shifts, with 1 hour breaks in each.

Before machine downtime tracking using LEANworx

Downtime was 46 % of total available time.


The firm froze all purchase of new machines for 2 years. Downtime was reduced to 22 % in just 5 months, and then dropped further over 2 years.

How did the transformation happen ?

In LEANworx we classify machine downtimes into low hanging fruit and high hanging fruit.
Low hanging fruit is downtimes caused by poor work ethics – starting production late at the start of the shift, stopping production early at the end of the shift, taking extended breaks at meal times, stopping production during shifts for no technical reason.
High hanging fruit is caused by system problems – frequent breakdowns, power shutdowns, no raw material, high setup times.
Low hanging fruit can be fixed in a few weeks through positive and negative incentives, with no investment required. High hanging fruit require longer to fix, need system changes and possibly investment in better fixturing, modular tooling, etc.
LEANworx reports of machine downtime tracking showed that low hanging fruit alone accounted for 1.5 hours per shift, which is 14 % of the scheduled 11 hours per shift, that is 12 hours minus breaks. This reduced to almost zero in just 1 month. The high hanging fruit took longer.
LEANworx highlighted the machine downtimes and their reasons, through a variety of reports including Pareto charts. This enabled the firm to focus on top downtime reasons continuously and reduce them.
Orders were growing at 15% a year, which meant that normally there was a 15% addition in capacity by buying new machines. The MD decided that there was no point in buying new machines when the existing ones were being underutilized so badly, and froze all new buying for 1 year. This freeze was then extended by 1 more year. The number of machines remained at 56, instead of increasing to 74.
Here are some of the LEANworx reports for machine downtime tracking that the firm used to achieve the transformation.
Firm and machine names have been changed to protect the identity of the firm.

After machine downtime tracking using LEANworx

Trend report from machine downtime tracking in LEANworx
Pareto analysis from machine downtime tracking in LEANworx


Paddu in Shimoga

I was in Shimoga on work for a day, and in keeping with my philosophy of always mixing business with pleasure, for breakfast I popped over to what the internet said was the best place in town. Sri Meenakshi Bhavan is about 80 years old, and there are multiple reasons for its popularity. I had three of them: Paddu, Masala dosa, and Coffee.


The Paddu is something that looks like a small idli, but is not even closely related. It is actually a close cousin of the dosa. You take dosa batter mixed with onion, chillies and coriander, heat it in a tawa that has little hemispherical moulds coated with oil. The result is soft fluffy spheres with a crunchy exterior that taste like heaven, served with chutney. Meenakshi Bhavan’s paddus are probably the best that I’ve come across. Their masala dosas too are out of this world. The coffee comes in a slim tall glass with froth (deliberately created) on top. All these you get in a lot of restaurants, but somehow each one had differences in taste and aesthetics that set it apart from what you get in other places.

Like they say, “Winners don’t do different things. They do things differently”. Wish they had better looking plates though, instead of the ghastly brown plastic ones.


There were a few other items on the menu, but I’d sadly reached the state of ‘The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’, that happens when you want to eat more but the stomach is full. If this state also comes with the thought that you may never visit the place (and hence the restaurant) again, the mental anguish is acute. Shimoga is a place that I’ve only been to twice in my life, and I doubt I’ll go there for a long time to come, so this anguish was there.

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