Broken machines are costing the economy £180bn a year

Courtney Goldsmith
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The UK's 133,000 manufacturers contribute a total of £6.7 trillion to the global economy (Source: Getty)

Broken or faulty machines are hampering productivity in the UK and costing the manufacturing industry £180bn every year, a new study suggests.

Each year, faulty machinery costs British firms three per cent of all working days, or 49 hours of work and £31,000 per company, according to research by predictive field service company Oneserve.

The UK's 133,000 manufacturers contribute a total of £6.7 trillion to the global economy.

Read more: Slowing manufacturing output holds back UK economy

Productivity, or the output produced for every hour worked, is an issue in the UK, having lagged for the past five years despite decent GDP growth and low levels of unemployment. Recent data showed the UK's productivity was 15.1 per cent below the average for the G7 group of the world's largest economies last year.

Earlier this week, the Office for Budget Responsibility said it had been overly optimistic in its predictions and now expects to slash forecasts for productivity growth over the next five years.

Oneserve surveyed 1,000 business leaders in manufacturing and found three quarters outsource their machine maintenance at a cost of around £120,000 a year while 83 per cent said they replace machines at least once a year.

According to these UK manufacturers, over half, or 53 per cent, of machine downtime was caused by hidden internal faults – where the problem cannot be diagnosed from the outside looking in.

Chris Proctor, chief executive of Oneserve, said the scale of the losses businesses faced due to machine downtime was "truly shocking".

"It is clear that existing maintenance processes aren’t working and the time has come for predictive methods to become the norm – not the exception," he said.

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