Using Asset Intelligence to Improve Manufacturing Maintenance Performance
Asset intelligence is the foundation of effective asset management and core to successful maintenance programs. It is essential that preventive maintenance programs are effective at minimizing downtime. When downtime does occur, repairs must be done as quick as possible to reduce the impact.
Recent studies indicate that unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion annually¹. The global manufacturing industry is extremely competitive. To thrive in today’s manufacturing landscape, companies must continually seek better ways to operate.
Manufacturing organizations with paper-based systems, data in spreadsheets or a poorly implemented CMMS have limited insight into asset lifecycle history. They either lack information or the data they do have requires time-intensive searching, which makes it difficult to establish metrics, measure performance or spot trends.
Defining the Asset Information Need
What equipment data do manufacturing companies need to form a strong maintenance program?
- Basic asset history including information such as when the asset was purchased, how long has it been in service, etc.
- Maintenance history such as how many work orders and average time between maintenance for the asset
- Associated drawings, procedures and other relevant documents
- Linked parts and inventory with barcodes
A comprehensive CMMS like Accruent’s Maintenance Connection delivers all this information. Having a system with asset information is the first step toward maintenance excellence. The next step is making that data available to the people who need it. This can be a large and diverse group of many different users from an offsite manager to a field technician. The information becomes most valuable when transformed into intelligence.
Converting Data to Intelligence
The way a manufacturing company integrates asset information into their maintenance program determines bottom-line organizational benefits. How do companies convert data into valuable intelligence that drives maintenance program improvement?
Below are three key areas where better asset information generates improvements.
1. Work Order Processes
Companies with asset information typically see efficiency gains in work order processes. One area that drives improvement is ease of data access. For example, a technician who has equipment maintenance history and associated drawings or documents accessible from a mobile device while in the field is better equipped to diagnose and repair the issue quickly than a technician who must search through files back at the shop to access the same documents.
Work order scheduling and the overall work order process is another area that is streamlined. If a maintenance technician is in the field finishing a repair on a conveyor and a nearby robotics arm fails, assigning the new robotics arm work order to that same technician may make logistical sense. In addition, when that technician completes the first work order, MC Express, a mobile CMMS, gives technicians the ability to instantly update the work order status to complete and route to a supervisor without having to walk back to the shop to turn in paperwork. A 2017 ARC Advisory Group global report indicates that 50 percent of technicians now use a mobile device for work orders.
There are many other CMMS functions that can make the work order process more efficient. For instance, scanning a barcode and verifying parts availability in inventory. With this capability, the part can be available and waiting for the technician when they walk over to the shop instead of searching through shelves of inventory and hoping things are labeled correctly to find the needed part.
2. Preventive Maintenance Planning and Scheduling
When an asset’s history of maintenance records exists in a CMMS database, it becomes easy to access, monitor and identify trends. With paper-based systems or spreadsheets, it is usually difficult to find the information and draw meaningful conclusions. Reviewing an asset’s full history in the CMMS, a preventive maintenance (PM) schedule can be developed to move out of the reactive maintenance mode.
Maintenance Connection’s Preventive Maintenance functions give users the ability to monitor unlimited amounts of manufacturer-related specifications and metrics to make better decisions about how and when preventive maintenance is performed. Preventive maintenance can be scheduled at regular frequencies or triggered automatically based on variables such as equipment use. A preventive approach transforms maintenance programs with better maintenance and repair decisions and improved staff utilization. The foundation of these improvements is having the right information available at the right time.
Data’s true value is realized when it is converted into actionable intelligence that drives continuous improvement. When information is not available, it can’t be monitored and reported. Having good asset intelligence is fundamental to establishing metrics and reporting that you can then act upon to improve results. A good CMMS makes it easy for each user to extract and analyze data in the way that makes it most useful for them.
Companies have varied reporting needs at all levels of their organization. For example, an Operations VP responsible for multiple sites might want the ability to compare each site’s monthly maintenance spend on similar equipment. A maintenance supervisor at one of those sites might want to look at an asset’s average repair time. Flexible and configurable reporting is essential to an effective CMMS.
A CMMS brings invaluable asset intelligence to organizations in their efforts to work more efficiently, increase productivity, and streamline maintenance costs. Reporting is one of the key ways that asset intelligence is distributed throughout an organization. How companies utilize and act on reports, incorporating intelligence into work processes, determines how much return-on-investment they realize.
Many manufacturing maintenance departments struggle to reduce downtime, extend equipment life, improve planning, accelerate service requests and maximize labor productivity. Maintenance Connection’s comprehensive CMMS is ideal for addressing these challenges. At the most fundamental level, it delivers both historical and real-time asset intelligence to improve organizational visibility, establishes a single source of truth, and enhances benchmarking and reporting. Manufacturing companies gain accurate and timely insight into actual maintenance performance enabling organizations to make measurable and meaningful improvements.