A Guide to the Best SMB Predictive Maintenance IoT Options

by:
on April 15, 2019

Technology’s impact on asset management is profound, evolving the traditional own-and-maintain model into something far more collaborative. A need for more data-driven, proactive maintenance is changing the way companies track and value their assets—and even changing the assets themselves.

 
“Internet of Things (IoT) and digital twins will provide more direct and detailed insight into operational performance, enabling asset-intensive organizations to make more informed decisions, and will become intrinsic to business strategy.” (Full content available to Gartner clients)

Kristian Steenstrup, Distinguished VP Analyst & Nicole Foust, Associate Principal Analyst

By now, you’ve heard about IoT and been promised incredible results—but with dozens of providers, how do you know where to start?

With this guide to IoT software and hardware, you can confidently evaluate and adopt an IoT-enabled CMMS and take advantage of the same cost-cutting, efficiency-boosting, data-powered maintenance as larger enterprises.

Data Is Transforming Asset Management for All

Gartner describes six factors leading to changes in how organizations view their assets, the data it generates and the practice of asset management itself.

This evolution in asset management isn’t simply an opportunity for giant corporations—any asset-intensive company must adopt new methods and technology to leverage valuable machine data or risk falling behind sophisticated competitors.

Six Critical Changes to Asset Management

Combined, these changes lead to and reflect the growth of connected assets from Industrial IoT initiatives—networked machines form an essential foundation for participating in the future of proactive, data-optimized maintenance.

In fact, analyzing machine data to optimize your predictive maintenance approach is a critical step in Gartner’s roadmap of maintenance and reliability, providing significant reductions in costs and downtime.

 
“Citizen data scientists are ‘power users’ who can perform both simple and moderately sophisticated analytical tasks that would previously have required more expertise. Enabling these individuals with IoT data accelerates the return on investment of your IoT innovations.” (Full content available to Gartner clients)

Erik Heidt, Jon Amato, Henry Cook & Soyeb Barot

The good news? Many modern production machines and vehicles are already equipped to generate and stream data, and IoT sensors to retrofit older equipment with networking capabilities are affordable for any budget. And as large enterprises attempt to develop disruptive strategies for their IoT initiatives, smaller organizations can enjoy the proven business value of condition monitoring with real-time data.

In the 2019 Planning Guide for Internet of Things, Gartner analysts claim that enterprises still struggle to create a value-focused strategy around IoT technology. However, smaller maintenance organizations can experience the immediate benefits of real-time data quite easily today as vendors race to include advanced analysis tools in new solutions.

In a nutshell: The trials, failures and lessons-learned of early Internet of Things adopters are fueling new capabilities for all maintenance organizations. It’s time to take advantage.

Evaluating IoT Technology Providers

While clear, valuable IoT use cases have emerged over time, the IoT provider landscape has only grown more fragmented. That’s because IoT projects often require expert consulting, integration, communication and other software setup, and multiple service providers are available for everything involved.

Maintenance professionals who want to use IoT to monitor the condition of assets have a simpler roadmap, depending on the volume and complexity of assets. Countless companies offer affordable sensor hardware: Emerson, Honeywell, Bosch, Siemens, Intel, SAP, AT&T and dozens more produce their own or partner with suppliers.

No matter which company you choose to evaluate, it’s important to ask a few key questions, starting with yourself: What maintenance challenge(s) do I want to solve with IoT technology?

3 Important Questions to Ask Technology Providers:

  • Can you describe some effective use cases for your technology?
  • Do you have any case studies or examples of success with companies similar to ours?
  • What level of support can you offer for implementation? What support do you offer in the future?

If you’re ready to review systems to boost efficiency, here are a few that are great for smaller orgs and also integrate with IoT technology. We selected three highly-rated maintenance systems with at least 30 user reviews on Software Advice.


Overall rating: 4 out of 5 (886 reviews)
What The Users Say: Overall, reviewers appreciate UpKeep’s ease-of-use, the added flexibility of the mobile app and the responsiveness of the support team.

UpKeep offers a cloud-based CMMS with a strong mobile application to help companies with several remote workers maintain access to the system. The software includes core maintenance functionality, such as work orders, preventive maintenance, maintenance scheduling and inventory management.

UpKeep partnered with Monnit to supply sensor technology to clients, which can be installed on older machines to drive valuable data into the system. The variety and use cases of sensors is vast, and many can be purchased for less than $100 each.

A real-time view of asset conditions in UpKeep (Source)
 


Overall rating: 4.5/5 stars (193 reviews)
What The Users Say: Reviewers consistently praise the speed and expertise of eMaint’s customer support services, and also cite the customizable reporting functionality and user-friendly interface as positives.

eMaint CMMS, available in both web-based and on-premise versions, includes work orders, preventive maintenance scheduling, inventory management, asset tracking capabilities and more. The system is also configurable to your needs, even without vendor assistance.

eMaint enables sensor-based condition monitoring using devices from its parent company, Fluke, which manufactures a wide variety of testing and measurement tools. The company’s large inventory of sensors and other condition monitoring tools offer eMaint users several options to meet their specific needs.

Meter reading fields (in yellow) can help users optimize preventive maintenance tasks in eMaint (Source)
 


Overall rating: 3.7/5 stars (68 reviews)
What The Users Say: Many reviewers like the robust functionality of Mattec MES, the user-friendly dashboard and the built-in customization options.

Epicor is a large software provider offering several manufacturing-specific platforms, as well as an all-inclusive enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The company tends to serve medium-to-large organizations but can be a good choice for smaller manufacturers that expect to grow.

The Mattec MES (or manufacturing execution system) helps companies remove inefficient processes, generate accurate bills of materials and make data-based improvements in quality, production speed and more.

When maintenance leaders have access this same production data captured by sensors and streamed into the MES, they can leverage consistent information for maintenance improvements.

Epicor Mattec MES displays real-time production data valuable to maintenance teams (Source)
 

Where Else Can I Review Maintenance Systems?

These three systems aren’t your only options. To check out other maintenance systems, visit our list of more than 100 CMMS vendors. While not every system is designed out-of-the-box to analyze IoT data, most modern vendors can configure their product to meet your needs.

But maybe you’d prefer some assistance in your search. If so, call (844) 689-4876 for a free 15-minute consultation and our maintenance software advisors can deliver a shortlist of systems that include the functionality you need

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