Manufacturing and operations professionals are focused on how to deploy maintenance strategies that will provide advantages to their operations on a global scale. Advanced digital and analytical technologies are reinventing the rules of manufacturer competition, how work will be performed and what leaders must do to lead. Whether you call it Industry 4.0, Manufacturing 4.01 or the Connected Factory, what’s taking place presents a remarkable opportunity for industrial OEMs.
So what does the “back-of-the-house” maintenance function have to do with such big picture, strategic changes? Everything.
As manufacturers work to identify, adopt and scale enabling technologies – such as smart machines, the Internet of Things, Big Data, plant floor analytics, mobile computers, the cloud, and collaborative robotics – maintenance will of necessity be redefined and transformed.
Leveraging these enabling technologies will allow maintenance to improve efficiency, cost, and performance on the factory floor, which in turn can create a competitive advantage. But beyond that, enabled maintenance can become a new and different revenue stream for the OEM portion of manufacturing.
Download the white paper, Four Strategies for Making Maintenance Your Competitive Advantage to improve factory efficiency and effectively gain your competitive advantage.
But how do today’s manufacturers get from here to there? How do they use these new data and computing tools to go from reactive maintenance – repairing machines that are broken – to proactive or predictive maintenance – monitoring for future equipment failure and performing maintenance before failure occurs?
1. Establish a preventive maintenance program
Despite all the talk about predictive maintenance, the reality is that for many U.S. manufacturers, up to 90 percent of the maintenance they perform still is conducted on a reactive rather than proactive basis. The bottom line? Unplanned, or reactive maintenance typically costs three to nine times more than planned maintenance.
If this is how your company operates, establishing a preventive maintenance (PM) program is your first step to building a world-class maintenance strategy. An added bonus- the savings generated by a successful PM program can go a long way to making your company a maintenance hero.
2. Invest in technology
Technology investment is a must for a world-class maintenance strategy. One of the first purchases to consider is a Computerized Maintenance Monitoring System (CMMS). This is software that allows your maintenance people to keep a record of the assets they service, schedule and track maintenance tasks, and record completed work.
By utilizing a CMMS, your operation will benefit from:
Fewer work outages with preventive maintenance.
Less overtime due to better scheduling.
Better accountability through task completion alerts.
Information capture facilitating a record of problems and specific solutions by machine.
Documented assets and performance, helping managers analyze energy usage and plan maintenance spend.
Another must for maintenance investment? Smart sensors, a critical part of a larger IoT system, connect devices and systems, allowing machines to talk to one another. This enables manufacturers to move from Preventive Maintenance--where maintenance is scheduled routinely--to Predictive Maintenance (PdM), where maintenance is performed as needed based on data foreshadowing.
3. Create a safer, more effective work environment
Machine efficiency is one thing; human efficiency is another. A world-class maintenance strategy cannot afford to ignore the people servicing the machines. A safer, cleaner work environment improves morale.
Why should you care? A happier workforce takes pride in its work and produces higher quality work. That means you have your best people on the job, driving towards your deadline. Not only that: motivated employees miss less work and are more willing to work with others to achieve goals.
But happy workers are not the same as effective workers. Maintenance thought leaders suggest that maintenance belongs side-by-side with production, purchasing, engineering and logistics as an equal player in the business resource planning process. This allows maintenance to have a voice in improving the operational effectiveness of the plant. By helping improve asset productivity, maintenance becomes a competitive advantage for the business, which also adds stature to the department and builds the respect of its people.
It’s easy to keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. But that won’t position your company to take advantage of the manufacturing renaissance underway.
4. Get management buy-in
You can’t build a world-class maintenance strategy without management buy-in and commitment. The maintenance vision may be yours, but the decision to fund and support that vision is theirs.
Without having that top-level support, any initiative launched will be as effective as pushing on a rope.
In order to create a connected factory, today’s leaders are looking for new structures, strategies, and skillsets for tomorrow’s workforce. It’s their job to orchestrate far-reaching change; it’s your job to present and sell the change that will work best for your operation.
Despite the promise of a technological renaissance, demand for manufactured products is off. OEMs who are open to new ideas that improve the efficiency, cost, and performance of factories – such as creating a world-class maintenance strategy – will set themselves apart.
Download the white paper, Four Strategies for Making Maintenance Your Competitive Advantage for the critical details on these strategies, and steps to effectively enable your company to gain that competitive advantage.
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