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Maintenance and repair in 2022: trends, challenges, solutions

22.12.2021

The industry is gradually recovering from the effects of the pandemic, analyzing mistakes in risk management and looking for new mechanisms to counter the impending challenges. And there are enough of them: experts predict an increase in the deficit of energy resources and components, which will lead to changes in the structure of cost formation.

2022 will be the year of redefining the way we do business. Progressive practices and innovative technologies, which the management of enterprises only talked about before the crisis, will finally begin to be implemented. The demand for optimization solutions is higher than ever, especially in the field of maintenance, which traditionally ensures the stability of production.

This is also evidenced by the numbers: according to the EMR study, the average annual growth of the MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operations) market will be 2.3%, and by 2026 the capitalization will reach 787.2 billion US dollars. This is a response to the growing investment interest of companies in tools to support business processes and optimize production operations.

Among the incentives for the development of the MRO market, experts point out:
– increased investment in maintenance operations;
– optimization of supply chain management to find alternative routes;
– reduction of operating costs by increasing the efficiency of maintenance and repair;
– accelerating the pace of digital transformation of business processes.

Let’s take a closer look at the main trends in the development of maintenance and repair and technological solutions that will be relevant in 2022.

The time for new technologies has come

A key technical breakthrough in 2022 will be the massive use of Augmented and Virtual Reality solutions in the field of maintenance. Market leaders such as Siemens have proven the promise of AR / VR in the field of immersion personnel training back in 2020. With solutions that simulate real-world working conditions, it has been possible to reduce the time for operational preparation from a full working day to 45 minutes.

With the help of 3D visualization tools, maintenance and repair staff can visually study and step by step work out the procedures. For example, operations with small variations – equipment shutdown and diagnostics, part replacement, or logging of downtime. But the greatest benefit of AR / VR technology comes when practicing complex technical interventions and actions in emergency situations in a safe virtual environment.

Another technology trend in 2022 will be the creation of Digital Twins for most of the assets in the enterprise. Combined with augmented reality tools, such virtual copies will help launch remote maintenance mechanisms and expert support for local maintenance teams. One of the largest industrial concerns in Germany, Thyssenkrupp, has already noted the benefits of remote support and virtual maintenance instructions. The duration of repairs has decreased by 4 times, and the downtime of equipment has been reduced by 50%.

Flexibility and openness

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the flaws of established business models. Therefore, 2022 will be the year of adaptive solutions that can work effectively in crisis conditions and quickly respond to market fluctuations.
To ensure flexibility in maintenance and repair processes, companies should follow two principles – decentralization and diversification.

In the first case, it is necessary to create an open information environment in which participants in the maintenance and repair processes could work, regardless of their geographic location. Such an ecosystem will bring together reliability managers, work teams, component suppliers, and equipment manufacturers. Everyone will receive the necessary level of access to dynamic data. The introduction of a flexible and open model of maintenance and repair management will allow:

– synchronize processes for disparate decision-making centers;
– manage supply chains in real-time and find alternative routes;
– reduce travel and support costs;
– to level the difference in the cost of services in different labor markets;
– reduce the staffing requirements for decentralized repair teams;
– to increase the efficiency of solving problems requiring a high level of expertise.

It should be borne in mind that for the deployment of such solutions, an appropriate infrastructure will be required – sensors for collecting data and systems based on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Fortunately, solutions like this are becoming more affordable. In particular, in 2022, experts predict an increase in the number of sensors and sensors in production by 4 times.

As for the principle of diversification, more and more companies are looking at hybrid models of MRO organizations. It can be electronic (E-maintenance) and service (Maintenance-as-a-Service, MaaS). Such schemes imply close cooperation with equipment manufacturers, the use of asset tracking tools and multi-service platforms for MRO management.

Solutions from SmartEAM can become the basis for building a flexible ecosystem. Our team creates software products that help the digital transformation of maintenance and repair and other business processes of the enterprise.

Sustainable Development and Lean Manufacturing

Finding the perfect balance between efficiency and profitability of maintenance and repair is gradually leading enterprises to the principles of Lean Manufacturing (LM). Extending the life cycle of assets, rational use of raw materials, purchasing components “just in time”, reducing waste, efficient energy management – are just a few points of the LM strategy. Its main goal is to minimize operations that do not bring value to the enterprise or product.
In 2022, companies will try to get rid of all that is unnecessary, creating a streamlined, highly efficient and reliable system. It will comply with the principles of lean manufacturing and will lose the main disadvantages of outdated maintenance and repair strategies:

– overproduction and refinancing;
– low quality of processes;
– excess logistics costs;
– errors in inventory management;
– long wait;
– irrelevant data;
– ineffective distribution of personnel.

Adherence to the principles of lean production will help not only increase the profitability of maintenance but will create the prerequisites for increasing customer focus. This will have a significant impact on all business processes, bringing the company closer to a state of sustainable development (Sustainability).

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