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What prevents companies from improving the efficiency of maintenance and repair processes

09.12.2021

According to McKinsey, equipment maintenance accounts for 10 to 25% of all operating costs. And these funds are not always spent rationally.

Regardless of whether the enterprise implements maintenance and repair on its own or outsourcing, everyone encounters examples of process inefficiency. Unavailability of key assets, expensive capital repairs, long waiting times for spare parts, shortage or surplus of personnel in certain areas. Management pays for all these mistakes. At the same time, even increased financing of the maintenance and repair service does not guarantee an effective fight against downtime or a longer equipment service life.

Can MRO be turned into a source of added value and economic value? According to a report by the Aberdeen Group, an enterprise that has measured and improved the efficiency of service processes has seen an 11% annual cost reduction in this area. And these are far from all the advantages that an effective maintenance and repair strategy can provide:

So why is it difficult for some companies to optimize MRO? Let’s take a look at common problems, mistakes, and long-standing misconceptions in the industry.

Past experiences

The role of practical experience and expertise in the organization of maintenance and repair should not be underestimated, but adherence to old principles is not always useful. The approach that worked before may not work well for current equipment, current workloads, and current business environment.

The Do as We Have Always Been strategy is not effective by its nature:

– rarely based on complex and dynamic indicators, does not take into account KPIs;

– depends on the amount of human resources and the expertise of individual specialists;

– is limited in terms of high-quality analytics of failures and forecasting of downtime;

– has problems with over or under maintenance.

The situation becomes more complicated if a “reactive culture” flourishes at the enterprise, and MRO acts only as a service provider for a higher priority area – production. In this case, the maintenance focus shifts to troubleshooting without taking the equipment out of service. Maintenance technicians may postpone or even cancel preventive maintenance for fear that a detected defect will lead to longer downtime.

If production line performance is high on the priority list, MRO will always lack quality planning. And technical support too, because the reluctance to change anything slows down the introduction of innovations. In fact, the abandonment of IT solutions in the era of the growth in the number of digital operations in production deprives the enterprise of the opportunity to improve MRO with minimal losses.

Lack of strategy

Too often, maintenance and repair services create plans and schedules, prioritize and mark KPIs based on existing competencies and resources. The do what we can approach is not a strategy. Situational service does not take into account the actual requirements for equipment and business processes.

Deploying long-term training programs for staff, using AR / VR technologies to create interactive instructions or remote maintenance mechanisms will help solve the skill problem.

But what to rely on when it comes to resource allocation? The basis for building an integrated asset lifecycle management strategy should be the maintenance and repair efficiency metrics. These are dynamic indicators, which means that their analysis requires systems that can not only track KPIs in real time, but also automatically adjust the maintenance plan.

SmartEAM already creates similar solutions for its customers, our products help to evaluate and improve not only MRO, but also other related business processes.

Disadvantages of planning

Continuing the topic of digital tools to improve process efficiency, it is worth mentioning specialized systems for advanced planning. They take into account the need for materials and components, the speed of maintenance and repair operations, the duration of downtime, the time to change equipment and many other factors.

As the role of equipment stability in productivity calculations and order queuing increases, it is difficult to imagine a competitive enterprise without the use of such systems.

Solutions based on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are able to draw up an up-to-date work plan, operator’s manual, preventive maintenance schedule or maintenance card based on objective asset data.

On the other hand, manual control methods can plunge the maintenance and repair service into an endless cycle of replanning and adjustments. After all, each new action plan will always lag behind the real situation in production.

The time has come to abandon outdated practices and tools, as maintenance is increasingly integrated into other business processes. And every year, without specialized IT solutions, it will be more and more difficult to maintain production profitability.

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