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Actual problems of maintenance and repair – search for existing solutions

04.08.2021

Actual problems of maintenance and repair – search for effective solutions

Maintenance and repair (MRO) is traditionally considered one of the largest items of budgetary expenditures. According to various estimates, it ranges from 25 to 50% of the estimate. But in addition to economic problems associated with the irrational use of resources, an ineffective maintenance and repair strategy can become a factor in increasing other risks:

– an increase in the number of accidents and unplanned downtime;

– failure to meet the deadlines for fulfilling orders and production plans;

– reduction in the life cycle of key assets of the enterprise;

– reputational losses due to violation of contractual obligations;

– lack of competitive advantages over more flexible industries.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, because problems with maintenance and repair tend to accumulate: equipment runs to failure, labor costs grow, the process takes on an informal nature, the real state of affairs is hidden. The situation requires a comprehensive solution, and for this it is necessary to consider each block of problems separately.

Lack of a real picture of the equipment

At enterprises with an outdated maintenance and repair strategy, decisions regarding the performance of work are made upon refusal. Obviously, it is impossible to get a general vision of the problem if you do not analyze the impact of a defective unit on the performance of production tasks as a whole.

In such a situation, the effectiveness of maintenance and repair depends on the qualification level of the responsible expert and the number of personnel involved. This leads to waste of labor resources and an increase in production risks.

The way to solve the problem is the digital transformation of production in the concept of Industry 4.0. The Industrial Internet of Things and Machine Vision technologies are used to quickly track problems and collect analytical data. Solutions based on them have significant advantages:

– MRO service is provided with up-to-date information about the equipment condition;

– the management of the enterprise receives a complete picture for the entire period of operation of production assets;

– the minimum number of responsible persons is involved in monitoring;

– it is possible to carry out remote diagnostics using mobile devices;

– the influence of the human factor and the risk of critical errors are reduced;

– it is possible to integrate the system into a centralized platform for production management.

The collected data can be used to solve problems not related to maintenance and repair: load planning, the formation of an effective investment policy and an effective strategy for the modernization of production. Modern monitoring tools even help you choose the optimal time to decommission equipment.

Excessive financing of the maintenance and repair service

The lack of means of collecting objective data for assessing the expenditure side of maintenance and repair can make this process non-transparent. Therefore, along with the unmotivated reduction of costs for the purchase of spare parts and staff salaries, one can also see cases of excessive financing.

Such a policy can exacerbate the problem. For example, purchases are conducted not from the position of current needs, but to ensure access to spare parts in the event of a reduction in funding for the service. Or, there are leftovers of resources accumulated in warehouses that will not be used in the near future. And many similar situations.

We conclude: excessive financing of the maintenance and repair service creates conditions for slowing down the optimization processes. After all, the assessment of the costs of servicing individual pieces of equipment acquires an exclusively comparative and average character.

The situation can be changed by the introduction of up-to-date business process management tools. A good example is a solution for automating work scheduling and spare parts procurement. Such products will help to balance financing according to the actual production requirements.

“Lack” of personnel

Business owners often cite personnel shortage as one of the key maintenance and repair problems. Indeed, finding and training a qualified specialist is time-consuming and resource-intensive. And if production builds its maintenance and repair service around the authority of individual experts, the loss of such personnel can turn into a disaster.

The introduction of modern technologies opens up several ways to solve the problem.

Providing line managers with tools and appropriate authority to achieve targets. These can be virtual instructions or remote collaboration tools. Such solutions are implemented using immersive technologies such as augmented reality.
Replacing traditional tools for manual monitoring and management of automated solutions. The use of optical means of observation together with computerized analytical systems can significantly reduce the role of a person in organizing the work of the maintenance and repair service, and, consequently, get rid of the workload.

Such solutions are provided by SmartEAM. We have developed a range of products to help drive digital transformation and optimize the performance of various manufacturing departments. This does not mean layoffs or layoffs, but allows existing workers to move to a new level of productivity.

Systematic approach – light at the end of the tunnel

Most of the proposed solutions are related to the implementation of a centralized system for collecting and processing production data. But the path to MRO optimization begins with the creation of a single electronic database, which will include information on each individual piece of equipment.

The electronic base of MRO should include:

– manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations
– systematized information about all detected defects and breakdowns
– information about planned, unplanned and emergency downtime
– a list of the repair work carried out with reference to dates and targets

A history of equipment operation and maintenance will help you prioritize correctly to create an effective and cost-effective maintenance strategy.

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