2 December 2016

How sustainability can make equipment maintenance profitable


Maintenance for equipment-driven companies is the “big wheel” that keeps operations on the right path. From a more holistic point of view, equipment maintenance plays a huge role in overall profits, reputation, and longevity.

You increase equipment lifecycles, reduce risk and overhead, and improve customer satisfaction. Especially well-planned and executed periodic, preventive, and ad-hoc equipment maintenance . The rewards go beyond healthy profit margins. Companies are finding that best-in-class maintenance practices fall organically into sustainability models. Especially companies that deal with equipment rental, leasing, and services.

“Sustainable” has become a buzzword for ways of working that reduce environmental impact. It’s of course more complex than that, and involves many environmental, economic, and social aspects. What’s interesting is that sustainability models can combine profit and enlightenment with fair ease. As a result, equipment maintenance which approach is strategical, as part of asset management, can do the same thing. You need to make sure that performance of the equipment is guaranteed and that maintenance is done on time. Every time. Even if your approach is that you want to increase utilization of your equipment. If you combine business smarts with technology innovations, benefits by default will align with sustainability:

Environmental gains:

Longer operational lifecycles, less physical waste, reduced need for “virgin” equipment and spare parts. It also means better fuel and emissions management, reduced footprint for transport and storage.

Social gains:

Customer and employee safety and satisfaction. In addition more opportunity for partnership and collaboration with private and government entities. And finally, improved compliance and transparency, robust reputation and brand confidence across local and global communities.

Economic gains:

For both equipment and resources, there’s reduced overhead, opportunity to do more with what you have now, make strategic growth investments based on a “big picture” view that profits both your business and the larger marketplace.

It may feel that you’re under enormous pressure to succeed in the face of tight margins, fickle customers, myriad regulations, and lots of stakeholders across different locations. What’s intriguing to many businesses is that they can do well for themselves. And in addition they make sustainability part of their success story.

How technology lets you turn asset management into profitable sustainability

The key takeaway is that technology is your key to profitable, sustainable asset management. Therefore equipment maintenance offers many good scenarios. Let’s take the broad-based one of service orders and guarantee/claim work orders that are created, monitored and followed up on. To work successfully with specific requirements for vendors and customers, you’ll need:

All information about your equipment in one place.

ISV solutions dedicated to equipment-driven industries can offer built-in integration with your primary ERP system. Consequently, your solution should make it easy to capture and organize equipment data from diverse entry points. Examples include internal front and back office, interfaces with third-party entities, mobile apps, and IoT sensors. Along with centralized data, you’ll want to make sure that your solution lets you quickly set up customer- and vendor-specific records. And accessed by internal and external users. Information views should be role-tailored and update automatically so that data is always current.

Tools for monitoring maintenance needs.

Sustainability models are designed to optimize your strategic muscles. This translates into computerized monitoring and management systems. For example, IoT devices that measure everything from oil levels to weather conditions and send that information continuously to planning dashboards. Planners can work with dashboard tools to measure KPIs for equipment and parts as well. They should be able to work proactively to determine if routine maintenance is really needed, and predict potential breakdowns well ahead of time. Service techs can gather and send information to planners via mobile devices as well.

Resource, spare parts, and logistics management linked to equipment.

Planners need all-in-one views of status of filtered for customer/vendor requirements equipment. As much as they aligned with resources that have appropriate skills, certifications, and availability. They should be able to work in real time with suppliers, third-party transport, depots, and warehouses and always have the latest information right at hand. Scheduling and rescheduling can be as simple as a drag and drop, ensuring agile change management.

All-in-one service orders driven by action management.

Resources should be able to receive maintenance orders with step-by-step tasks and all customer-ready documentation on mobile devices. As tasks are completed, your central system is updated. Resources can obtain customer signoffs and approval directly, with auto-send of full documentation to customers, vendors, suppliers, along with your back office.

As a result? Efficient, well-timed, paper-free maintenance that can optimize economic, social, and environmental aspects of asset management. When you look for gains in equipment utilization and profitability, look for technology that’s already in tune with sustainability.

Michiel Toppers
Michiel Toppers,
Michiel Toppers,
Senior Director of Product Management

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