It’s High Time Businesses Considered Disaster Downtime

The August edition of British Plastics and Rubber reported on the launch of Zero Downtime Technology (ZDT) by FANUC, highlighting the impact that robotic technology is having within the plastic manufacturing sector and how firms like FANUC are seeking to minimise robot ‘sickness’ by creating “intelligent diagnostics for robots”.

ZDT puts robots and their performance in the spotlight in real-time, analysing and optimising performance by examining everything from torque to grease levels. The technology collects data that highlights how healthy a robot is and then flags up any anticipated issues and faults to their production managers.

There is a real financial reason for such technology, as FANUC says robot downtime costs manufacturers an estimated £4400 per minute. However, there are other downtime scenarios that can be just as upsetting, particularly when a business is disrupted by an unanticipated disaster or breakdown.

We only have to look at the impacts of serious flooding or fires to see just how much businesses are hit by such incidents. Although headlines frequently highlight cases where businesses are left struggling after impacts like these, many businesses continue to believe is will never happen to them and fail to provide contingencies for post-disaster downtime.

Putting this in some sort of context, 85% of small and medium-sized businesses never recover from a serious fire, or have to cease trading within 18 months, according to London Fire Brigade.

Taking this into account, business interruption insurance is something all businesses should buy as a means of protection, if they recognise that their buildings and contents’ policies will not provide cover should a fire, flood or even criminal break-in prevent the business from operating as usual.

A building suffering a disaster like this will most certainly need some recovery time and may need to be gutted or dried out, both of which can take months. If key equipment, or business records, cannot instantly be replaced, trading may be impossible. Sometimes, a business can also be disrupted by something that happens to a neighbouring building, or at a supplier’s headquarters or depot, so certain impacts are completely out of its hands.

Not being able to trade and generate revenue can lead to financial losses that can be hard to bear. Being unable to access premises, or move to temporary accommodation, could also be a massive problem that leads to the loss of contracts, but also, potentially, valuable suppliers.

This is why business interruption insurance is so important. It typically covers a business’s lost income for up to a year, but also offers compensation for costs, such as rental of alternative accommodation, which are incurred whilst trying to keep the business running.

Major fire and flood disasters can soon rival the impacts of an unhealthy robot’s breakdown, so businesses should not operate without having business interruption insurance in place. If you wish to know more about this cover, please get in touch.