Software and networked hardware make up the core of proactive maintenance, and are the most cost-effective strategy to keep your machines running.
But with new tech trends coming and going every year, it’s difficult for smaller businesses to understand which are valuable opportunities and which will end up as expensive failures.
When you understand the practical benefits of the five key maintenance technologies we examine in this article, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to get buy-in from your colleagues and managers.
|New value||What type of new capability does this technology provide that can address existing challenges or opportunities?|
|Type of impact||How exactly will this technology change the existing standards and expectations for the processes and people relevant to the maintenance strategy?|
|Level of disruption||What extent does this technology have on the volume and type of work and the operations of other functional areas? Will it have implications outside of maintenance?|
Review these questions as you evaluate the following maintenance tools.
Enterprise Asset Management Systems Extend the Life of Your Most Critical Assets
Enterprise asset management (EAM) systems are functionally similar to a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), and the terms are often used interchangeably. Here’s a simple way to distinguish the two:
Both systems help companies support a preventive maintenance strategy, but an EAM offers more advanced features needed to scale successfully. They include:
- Hierarchical asset structure
- Multilocation asset tracking and inventory management
- Data analytics
- Other capabilities that give users a more holistic view of the supply chain and how maintenance impacts other business areas
Gartner agrees that an EAM is necessary to truly move toward a more sophisticated and sustainable level of asset management and reliability—and a cloud-based EAM deployment is especially useful for companies that expect to grow (full content available to clients).
Benefits of adopting an EAM:
- Minimizes cost of ownership for assets by factoring in the entire life cycle, including design, repair versus replace decisions and disposal.
- Optimizes maintenance through data analysis by easily tracking labor costs, improving workflows and understanding asset failure modes.
- Adopting an EAM is a key step in launching an asset performance management (APM) strategy to focus on improving reliability.
2. The Industrial Internet of Things Taps Valuable Data You Can Use to Make Important Decisions
By now, you’ve likely heard plenty about how the internet of things is impacting large-scale industries: Networked sensors can gather valuable data and remotely monitor and control machines. That’s not new, but what’s notable now is that it’s become affordable for even smaller companies.
The devices can detect a wide array of internal problems, such as overheated electrical components, leakage, excessive pressure and more.
The first step to analyzing your operational data—measuring temperature, lubrication quality, vibration or ultrasound—is implementing the right technology to gather it. From there, you can establish thresholds for each machine to understand exactly how and when an asset could fail.
When you understand the common failure modes for your critical assets, these sensors will help you optimize maintenance management, rather than operating upon a time-based preventive strategy.
Benefits of IIoT integrations:
- Reveals previously untapped data useful for analyzing to spot trends or other issues.
- Illustrates the relationship among connected assets so you can understand the impact of a particular asset failure on other machines.
- Optimizes your predictive strategy for just-in-time maintenance.
3. Maintenance Reporting and Analytics Turns Data Into Valuable Insights
After your IIoT integrations collect data, you need some way to make sense of it all. Gartner says as the cost of sensors decrease and the capabilities of the technology grows, “enormous troves of operational technology (OT) data are being collected and stored, but remain unused or underused” (full content available to clients).
One challenge is transforming OT data into a language readable by your existing IT resources. Fortunately, software vendors and third-party hardware providers have developed services to make sure integrations are secure and the data is presented in a usable format.
No matter how you leverage this data—whether you produce static reports or set up an interactive dashboard—it will provide you with a wide view of your maintenance operations. With this view, you’re able to spot trends in performance, productivity and inventory levels to make data-driven decisions.
Data from your work order system and actual conditions from your assets combine for a new perspective on your maintenance strategy.
Benefits of reporting and analytics for maintenance:
- Helps teams leverage the large volume of data produced by machines to understand the failure modes for important assets.
- Reveals trends in work order completion rates and costs to make real data-driven improvements to productivity.
- Saves time and boosts transparency to automatically generate and send reports to other stakeholders on a regular basis.
4. Condition-Based Predictive Maintenance Tells You How Machines ‘Feel’ Right Now
The traditional preventive maintenance strategy to plan recurring PMs based on a calendar doesn’t factor in the most valuable source of data—the condition of your asset in this moment.
But by using the technologies we discussed above, you can stream data into your maintenance system in real time, allowing you to minimize the frequency of work orders, and save time and money.
For example, you can attach a temperature sensor to one of your more critical machines and send that data to the CMMS or EAM. As the asset performs its function over time, the software will automatically create work orders if the temperature readings go beyond the predetermined thresholds.
The purpose of this strategy is to identify and address any early indicators of a potential failure to avoid more expensive repairs down the road. The P-F curve below illustrates how an asset’s condition changes over time—there is a window of time where predictive maintenance tools can spot these failure indicators in real-time.
Benefits of condition-based predictive maintenance:
- Reduces labor costs by eliminating unnecessary PM tasks based on a calendar, replacing them with condition-based tasks as needed.
- Increases safety of the work environment by avoiding catastrophic machine failures, which create hazardous working conditions.
- Extends useful life of assets because damaging failures are decreased or eliminated.
5. Maintenance Mobility Helps Staff Complete More Work Orders
Smartphones and tablets are used in several industries to provide a major boost to convenience and efficiency, and this is especially valuable for maintenance workers. Most modern CMMS providers offer a web-based version of their system or a native app that utilize a phone or tablet’s basic features, such as using the camera to upload photos of assets or GPS tracking so managers can keep track of technicians in the field.
These apps can give technicians immediate access to work order details, important resources such as manuals or process documentation and direct communication channels between the home office and the field. No longer do technicians need to travel from the jobsite to the office to enter data into the CMMS or check on inventory, for example.
Benefits of maintenance mobility:
- More work orders are completed each day by giving technicians access to important functionality on-the-go, eliminating the need to drive to the office.
- Increases quality of work thanks to access to documents, images and detailed instructions which are provided with mobile work orders.
- Boosts flexibility with communication capabilities. Managers can assign work on-the-fly to the nearest technician in the event of an emergency breakdown.
How Else Can I Get Buy-In for Maintenance Technology?
Keep in mind, you don’t need to implement every technology here to improve your maintenance efficiency—You may find that the combined capabilities of an EAM with some sensors is the best way to reach your specific goals, or that a mobile app is the only tool that you need right now.
To summarize the primary benefits of these technologies, they:
- Reveal previously untapped data for analysis, which saves time and money on labor and extends the useful life of assets.
- Enable more sophisticated maintenance strategies, such as predictive and asset performance management, to increase efficiency, quality and safety.
- Boost communication and convenience for both managers and technicians.
If you want more information about these benefits, check out our reports and articles about:
- What other maintenance managers are looking for in software
- Keys to maximizing the value of mobile maintenance apps
- A starter’s guide to internet of things devices
And if you’re ready to talk to one of our software advisors to help narrow down your options, call (855) 998-8505 for a free consultation