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The UK manufacturing sector is currently facing an unprecedented challenge with rising costs and skills shortages. The Industry in Motion Maintenance Engineering Report 2023 was compiled by RS Industria and The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and highlighted several maintenance problems facing manufacturers.

The average cost per hour of downtime is £5,121

Although this figure varies greatly depending on the size of the company with an hour of downtime costing less than £500 for 39% of the smallest firms and more than £10,000 for 24% of large firms. Engineers surveyed also reported spending 18.3 hours per week on scheduled maintenance and 19.6 hours per week on unscheduled maintenance.


Reasons for downtime

Ageing assets (28%) was given as the number one reason, followed by mechanical failure (18%), lead time to get hold of product (10%) and operator error (10%).


Over 1200 engineers responded to the survey, 57% said they had outsourced maintenance activities due to specialist skills required, 40% said lack of skills amongst current staff, 35% due to reduced headcount and 14% because they were unable to recruit suitable talent.

When asked about the challenges they expect to face over the next 12 months 47% said attracting and retaining talent, the joint highest answer with inflation and higher costs. Recruiting the right people is a challenge and working with  specialist recruitment consultancy can help, but to attract and retain engineers employers need to create a collaborative working environment with the right strategies and investment in training and technology.



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