The term idle time is mostly used to determine the productivity of the labor force. In business terminology, idle time can be defined as a period in which a worker is operative but not productive due to the fact that he or she does not add any value to the business or the company.
Idle time is not only applicable to human resources but also to machinery that is not functional. Such a labor force or automaton can be likened to liability and not an asset. To a layman, idle time is simply termed as waited or delayed time.
How to compute and estimate idle time
For instance, in six working hours, a worker or an operative may track successful work for 3 hours and 40 minutes. It shows that 2 hours and 20 minutes can be allocated to idle time.
Similarly, if a machine is operated for 5 hours when the full capacity was assumed to be 9 hours, it indicated 3 hours is rated as idle time
Idle time has the ability to reduce or negatively affect the company’s outcome and minimize productivity level. Thus, it is vital to identify the causes of idle time and proffers solutions to avoid misplaced efficiency.
There are several possible causes of idle time in the case of pieces of machinery are discussed below:
Inadequate input of raw materials in a company can cause idle time. Assuming in a simple photocopying shoe, there are inadequate materials such as paper and suddenly it gets exhausted. It can discourage customers and affect the business negatively.
The customer has to wait for another material to be purchased to complete the work, the time waited is referred to as idle time.
This can be avoided by purchasing materials in bulk and keeping records to identify when replacements can be made.
In cases, where the operator has to wait for another machine to finish its job, an alternative has to be made. The company can purchase machines that can handle both tasks at the same time.
Also, practical problems such as power outages may cause idle time on the occasion that this technical issue is not business-related.
Most machines can develop technical problems if frequently stooped without notification, hence the problem of power shortage should be efficiently addressed.
Worker ineptitude is a major cause of idle time. There are some machines that are effectual than others. Often times demand disruption to prevent exhaustion. Several disorganizations are the consequences of newly employed workers going through an alternation period.
To reduce worker ineptitudes or inefficiencies, the company should place measures that will work on refining the onboarding business process and expand the business culture wherever everyone has to drag the business strength.
Workflow disorganization is another factor that affects idle time. When there are no improved manufactured and business procedures like a delayed endorsement, and deficiency of accessible instruments to accomplish an allotted task can cause idle time.
As such companies should ensure that the workflow is adequately managed and controlled for example if materials are delayed or waiting to be approved causes idle time. The delay should be avoided by placing available personnel.
Faulty apparatus can develop problems over time like unanticipated machine failures can negatively affect the business and cause idle times.