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Learn the importance of Availability in facilities management, how to calculate it, and strategies to maintain high equipment uptime for optimal operations.

Jonathan Haney headhsot
Jonathan Haney

Senior Director, Marketplaces

Modified on

June 6, 2024

What is Availability?

Availability is a crucial metric that is used to represent equipment uptime and its ability to perform when needed. High availability is crucial for maintaining continuous operations and meeting production targets in various industries.

By focusing on strategies that enhance availability, organizations can ensure consistent production and reduce the impact of disruptions. This effort helps facilities maintain a competitive edge in their respective markets and reduce production result uncertainty.

How to Calculate Availability

Availability is calculated by comparing a system or piece of equipment’s total planned operating time to its downtime (both scheduled and unscheduled). If you’re unsure what these words refer to, here are the definitions.

  • Total Operating Time is the total time when the equipment is supposed to be operational.
  • Total Downtime is the total time when the equipment is out of service due to maintenance, breakdowns, or other reasons.

Now, the formula to calculate availability is as follows.

Availability (%) = (Total Operating Time − Total Downtime) × 100

For example, if a machine is supposed to operate for 100 hours in a week but is down for maintenance for 10 hours during that same week, its availability would be calculated as:

Availability (%) = (100 − 10) × 100 = 90%

Practical Examples of How Availability is Used

Availability data may reflect how much access a facility has to particular resources for particular tasks. This information can help a manager decide which assets to rely on the most. Other examples of how managers may use the availability metric include the following.

Evaluate Equipment Performance

Managers can use the availability metric to verify if equipment meets the company’s operational standards. This assessment helps ensure that all machinery is performing optimally and reliably. Regular evaluations may reveal that improved maintenance strategies or equipment upgrades are needed.

Schedule Maintenance

Tracking availability may help managers schedule maintenance in a way that minimizes its impact on operations. Using this planning strategy can help facilities maintain higher productivity levels. Careful scheduling supports continuous productivity by preventing unexpected equipment downtime.

Make Investment Decisions

Availability metrics help determine the need for new equipment. These decisions are based on thorough assessments of the state of current machinery and its performance. If the availability percentage is far below expectations, managers may decide to take further action.


Managers can use availability to compare the performance of various assets, shifts, or locations. This comparison may help pinpoint best practices and areas needing improvement.

For example, a logistics company may track the availability of their delivery trucks to ensure they meet their delivery schedules. If availability drops, they might need to adjust their maintenance strategy or consider expanding their fleet.

Strategies That Reduce Downtime and Improve Availability

Improving the availability of equipment involves reducing downtime. Therefore, any maintenance strategy that you may use to improve uptime will also improve availability metrics. Please note that tracking availability for equipment won’t help increase the likelihood of having an available person on your maintenance team to address any unexpected breakdowns.

Preventive Maintenance

A strategic preventive maintenance plan helps ensure that all equipment remains in top condition. That’s because regular checks reduce the chances of unexpected repairs and help prolong the asset’s lifespan by reducing wear and tear.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance involves using advanced technology to monitor equipment conditions continuously. This strategy helps predict potential failures before they occur. As a result, facility managers have more time to react and plan maintenance activities for the affected equipment.

For instance, a manufacturing plant might use predictive maintenance to foresee potential machine failures and schedule repairs during planned downtimes.

Spare Parts Inventory

Maintaining a well-stocked spare parts inventory ensures that equipment breakdowns can be addressed quickly. Consistently having these parts ready-to-go reduces the length of downtime, which will support operational continuity.


A lack of awareness can be one of the most damaging issues in maintenance. However, properly training staff on maintenance techniques and operating procedures will prevent asset damage. Additionally, well-trained personnel can identify and resolve issues faster.

Streamlining Maintenance Processes

Efficient maintenance is key to increased equipment availability. By streamlining maintenance processes, maintenance teams can reduce the time equipment spends out of service.


Implementing redundancy involves designing systems with backup components to maintain operations during failures. Therefore, if one component fails, operators still have the freedom to use the assets for their daily work as they wait for the maintenance team to take action.

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