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Chief Engineer and MRO Automation


According to the directory “System maintenance and repair of general industrial equipment,” the organization of maintenance and repair of equipment based on the system of preventive maintenance (PPR) is carried out by the department of the chief mechanic. So it is the chief mechanic who should worry about automation? But the materials of the reference book are only of an advisory nature, their task is to help enterprises in developing their own Regulations for maintenance and repair of equipment.

And this is what the job description of the chief engineer, compiled in accordance with the reference book of qualification characteristics of workers, approved by the order of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of Ukraine of February 16, 1998, says. № 24:

“The service of the chief engineer includes the following divisions: the department of the chief power engineer, the department of the chief mechanic. The chief engineer is obliged to: organize the introduction of new equipment and technologies, mechanization and automation of production processes in order to improve working conditions, review and approve the schedules for conducting preventive maintenance equipment, facilities, buildings and facilities of the enterprise. ”

The chief engineer, as a rule, conducts the CPD usually to OGM, but to initiate the automation of the CPD system and, thus, the transition to a more modern system of equipment maintenance, as a rule, it is nevertheless necessary for him. Moreover, lower-level employees, and perhaps even the middle ones, will most likely resist such a transition. After all, they will have to make an effort to study and use the automated system. So, it will be necessary to explain to the employees that after mastering the new system they will be able to work more efficiently and this will positively affect their salaries and that the time spent on working with the system will be further compensated by savings due to automatic generation of documents and reports, prompt information retrieval and etc.

Two approaches to MRO automation:

There are two approaches to the implementation of the information system.

First approach. The ERP system is used, which allows you to automate all the services of the enterprise: accounting and finance, procurement, sales department, warehouse, personnel department, chief mechanic department, production and technology department, etc.

The second approach. After 2000, an increasing number of companies began to implement alternatives to the traditional one offered by ERP systems. These solutions could be as follows:

  • Replacing individual modules included in large ERP packages with alternative modules that are best in their class.
  • Use multiple ERP packages from different suppliers (usually in different business units or subsidiaries).
  • Rejection of the ERP package and the use of only the best-in-class solutions.

There was even a special term: postmodern ERP strategy. This strategy is characterized by the use of the best solutions possible in each specific area, while ensuring, if necessary, their mutual integration. These solutions can be hosted both locally and in the cloud, depending on the needs of the organization.

For example, one solution can be used for personnel management, another for warehouse management, the third for sales management, etc. In particular, for the management of the maintenance and repair, a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) designed to maintain the technical readiness of the equipment by means of an SPR or an EAM class system (enterprise asset management) can be used as a separate solution. funds of the enterprise), implementing much more functions.

Universal and comprehensive ERP system can not equally well support all the services of the enterprise, but it has the following advantages:

  • The system uses common standards for organizing and storing data, so there is no difficulty in creating information links between individual ERP modules.
  • All company employees work in the same information management system, thereby reducing the cost of training and support.
  • It is easier to upgrade the system, because the company interacts with one developer and all the work on modernization is performed, as a rule, by the same developer.

The disadvantages of using the ERP system for MRO automation include the following. As a rule, their MRO or EAM modules:

  • They do not cope well with planning work for heterogeneous groups of equipment, and combining various MRO methods suitable for different groups of equipment in one plan-chart is not capable of taking into account continuously changing equipment parameters, its failures and emerging defects.
  • Reference books and equipment catalogs of an ERP system can be convenient for accounting, but inconvenient for OGM, which requires a different presentation of data and a different specification of information.
  • In the MRO or EAM modules of some ERP systems, there are no necessary functions such as defect handling, failure accounting and classification, equipment technical condition monitoring, and automatic metering of operating time.

You can list other shortcomings, but the essence is clear: a separate EAM system, especially if it was designed to meet the needs of a particular industry, may be more efficient than a module included in the ERP system. And if an enterprise is just starting to automate MRO, preference should be given to a separate EAM system. However, if the enterprise has already implemented some modules of the ERP system, the task of selection becomes more complicated, even if the TOiR or EAM module was not included in the list. It will be necessary to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the above approaches, taking into account the specific features of the enterprise: the volume and composition of fixed assets, the degree of their loading, wear and tear, and many others.

One thing is certain: the maintenance and repair system must be automated, and the sooner this is done, the better, and not for the chief engineer, but for the enterprise.

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