Monday 1 September 2014

Adding Business Value with Effective Maintenance Planning

The effective operation and maintenance of an organisation’s plant and equipment is fundamental to maximising productivity and ultimately business profits. Unexpected equipment failure can introduce significant costs in both downtime and the cost to repair. Repeated unexpected failures can cause changes, whether intentional or not, to production planning to account for the expected reduced productivity and this will directly impact the products and services being provided to an organisation’s customers.

A secondary consequence of poor maintenance planning is the corresponding increase in the value of spare parts that an organisation’s maintenance department will hold. This is in response to a lack of understanding of the inventory demand of the business and the high visibility when spare parts are not available in the event of a breakdown.

Does any maintenance plan work? Manufacturing reports point to one key component of a plant maintenance plan that provides the most business value: an efficient strategy.

Choosing Your Strategy

The traditional approach to maintenance strategies has been to establish a preventative maintenance schedule for each unit. This approach, in comparison to no strategy at all, greatly reduces the likelihood or equipment failure and also allows production planning to be completed with a known constraint which is the downtime required for preventative maintenance tasks to be completed.

However with the introduction of computerised maintenance management systems (CMMS) it is now possible for businesses to take a far more sophisticated approach to delivery maintenance strategy. JD Edwards EnterpriseOne includes two capabilities within their Capital Asset Management module to do this. These are the Failure Analysis and Condition Based Maintenance functionalities.

Failure Analysis allows a maintenance department to gain a far better understanding of the modes of failure for the equipment they manage and also the conditions under which that failure occurs. This information allows the business to develop strategies to both remove the conditions that are likely to cause failure and also develop responses to conditions that are known to cause failure and ultimately take preventative and thus planned actions to reduce the likelihood of an unexpected breakdown occurring.

As opposed to a scheduled maintenance plan where maintenance activities are undertaken based on some measure such as time or distance travelled, a condition-based approach to plant maintenance consists of asking questions such as, “Is there noticeable wear and tear? Is the asset exhibiting any unusual behaviour?” If a threshold is reached is then preventative action can be taken to remove the likely mode of failure that will result from that condition.
Condition Based Maintenance enables a business to greatly reduce both the cost of operating and the overall productivity of their plant by reducing unnecessary shutdowns and expensive maintenance activities. Maintenance departments can move to a schedule of inspection and monitoring and then react to that information to deliver the most efficient maintenance plan possible.
Failure analysis enables a business to refine and improve the trigger points that will cause maintenance activities to occur and thus further improving equipment reliability and productivity.

Downstream Benefits

One of the major benefits of effective maintenance planning and overall improvement in equipment reliability is the ability of organisations to significantly reduce their spare parts inventory as well as reducing the likelihood of stock outs on critical spares.

JD Edwards EnterpriseOne has sophisticated inventory management, material resource planning and forecasting capabilities that are tightly integrated in the Capital Asset Management module. These tools allow organisations to minimise the spare parts required to be carried across multiple sites and ultimately drive down the cost of operating and maintaining their plant and equipment. Organisations can gain clear visibility of both the short term and long terms demands being produced by their maintenance strategy and develop supply plans to meet those demands.

Another consequence of an effective maintenance plan is far more confidence in the production plan and thus an overall improvement in productivity. When production departments are confident that the equipment they’re using is reliable then they will strive to increase the overall utilisation of that equipment.

Final Thoughts

One of the emerging benefits of the Internet of Things is that the data required to run far more sophisticated and cost effective maintenance strategies is becoming far easier to acquire and manage. Businesses are able to gain access to both the current state of their equipment as well as the conditions under which it is operating. This valuable information enables businesses to target their maintenance activities for more efficiently thus reducing their overall costs and giving them a significant advantage over their competitors.

Rinami has extensive experience is maximising the value gained from the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Capital AssetModule and combining all of the functionality available within the product to deliver maintenance processes and analysis that enable businesses to focus on true reliability engineering. The Cantara Integration Platform enables the value of the Internet of Things to be realised by rapidly delivering JD Edwards integration with any number of data sources. This combined with our mobile technologies that enable a business to push their maintenance processes and functions out into the field where they add the most value means that we can offer a complete asset management solution in a very short space of time.