Fixing short breaks

Shorts breaks in production can really hinder the efficiency of a production process. The stops seem to be “momentary”, but they really add up to annoying delays. Fixing short breaks is an essential step in the improvement process!

What are short breaks?

A short break is the brief unplanned break of a machine or a production line. In fact, these breaks are brief malfunctions with different causes. Short breaks are usually the result of processes that are not at the base condition.

Possible causes of short breaks

Most causes for short breaks are due to a problem at the base condition of a process. It involves four categories:

  • A person needs to have all the skills and enough experience to master the process. When educated and trained according to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), a person can maximize their contribution to the process.
  • The standard work methods are recorded in the SOPs. What to do with anomalies is recorded in the Out of Control Action Plans (OCAPs). Having the right procedure available keeps the process running in every situation.
  • Make sure the materials meet all the recorded specifications. Make them known during processing and make sure the specs are being monitored, to avoid the wrong materials causing delays.
  • Keep the machines in the best possible condition (regardless of age), and monitor whether they are suited for the intended work.

The absence of one or more of these conditions is usually the cause of short breaks.

What’s the result of a short break?

Short breaks, even though they don’t last very long (and don’t appear at the top of the OEE Pareto analyses), are quite annoying. They demand processes to be manned at all times, operators get irritated, and machine speeds will usually be dialed down (to avoid short breaks). These are important reasons to keep eliminating short breaks!

Eliminating short breaks

Once short breaks are fixed, it’s possible to produce with no, or very little supervision (so one operator can run different processes). The production improvement also improves OEE. So fixing short breaks is an advantageous process. However, it also takes time.

Implementing improvement schemes like Autonomous Maintenance and Planned Maintenance takes years. However, short breaks can also be handled pragmatically. Increase machine speed, take out one cause for a short break at a time and increase machine speed again. For lasting results, it is still necessary to implement Autonomous Maintenance and Planned Maintenance.

Fixing short breaks with Cierpa

Cierpa Software is all about improving your process. The five modules of our improvement software each focus on different aspects of the improvement process.

Short breaks are addressed in:

* Cierpa Competence

Cierpa Competence ensures the right knowledge is available at the right place. It aids your organization by centralizing the latest in knowledge and standards and makes the information accessible. This way, you can optimize the process for the categories Person and Method. You can enrich the Cierpa Competence company training with your own company-specific knowledge, and create your own tailor-made company academy.

* Cierpa Quality

Cierpa Quality speeds up the control process. With better and more efficient quality control you ensure that material specifications are well guarded, so incorrect materials do not cause delays. You can use your own quality charts and use regular automated controlling to make sure you prevent issues with quality.

Do you like to know what Cierpa can do for you in your improvement process? Then contact us for free advice or an online demo!

Our Blog has many more interesting articles. For instance, take a look at our 5 tips for an effective One-Point Lesson and 5 Tips on shift transfer.


Cierpa Software enables you to improve your organization continuously. LEAN manufacturing changes your work floor processes towards better and faster results and ultimately reduces any waste. With our LEAN software for companies, it’s possible to manage this ongoing process quickly and easily. Our Cierpa improvement consultants can also offer help.

Techniques and methods like 5S audit, Kaizen, OEE and the underlying LEAN thought principles are at the very core of our software suite. With Cierpa OEE, Cierpa Kaizen, Cierpa Quality, Cierpa Competence and Cierpa Assessment, Cierpa Software really speeds up all your improvement processes!

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Fixing short breaks