Planning for performance

2 mins read

With the right asset management strategy, you could be on a path to exceed your productivity targets and sustain continued growth and competitiveness, says Mark Crawford

Does this sound familiar? You have a failure on your plant so your team tries to either track you down, an OEM engineer or the systems integrator that put the system in two years ago. The clock is ticking and production is at a standstill while you try to determine the fault. If a part is needed, you chase around to get repair bids, issue POs and deal with invoices. And you face the same challenges to get an engineer on site. Why does it have to be so complicated? We arrive at this situation by accident rather than design and in an ideal world we might design something like this. Evaluate needs and set goals Examine your current situation while keeping in mind your business priorities. Identify critical areas of concern and opportunities for improvement to build a vision of what success looks like using the following elements:
  • Determine criticality of process stages by assessing equipment priority and risks
  • Identify serviceable equipment components with their lifecycle status (available, repairable, replaceable or obsolete)
  • Storeroom contents and all other locations holding spares.
Design and implement your strategy What you determine during goal-setting will become the foundation for your maintenance process and may include:
  • Storeroom management: placement and content of the central and distributed stores, ensuring layout and design provides easy access for frequently required parts. Employ an intelligent numbering, labelling and tracking solution to allow an SKU rationalisation assessment.
  • Inventory management: parts reduction is a popular target as it frees up cash, but it may conflict with critical parts availability. Ideally remove or 'burn off' excess inventory and build up stock where you have gaps in critical spares. Work with your local distributor to stock some of your needed parts and collaborate with your equipment vendor to implement an on-site parts management solution.
  • Process management: implement parts tracking procedure to assess each component's lifecycle. Document where, when and why they fail, determine if they are under warranty and track when they are sent for repair.
  • Reporting and dashboards: using an OEE approach can illustrate uptime trending and downtime due to component failure, as well as showing a strong financial return.
  • Migration projects: if your facility is more than 10 years old, your machine risk assessment and spare parts availability will tell you where migration projects are required. Rank these for future capital spending and tackle critical migrations immediately. Mitigate risks by working with your vendors to guarantee reserve spares.
  • Preventative maintenance: look for solutions from vendors such as scheduled service visits, fully warranted replacement parts or remote web monitoring for troubleshooting. Measure and optimise Consider the installed base asset register a living document by adjusting it as new equipment is installed and old is scrapped. Use the information gathered to turn into actionable, prioritised decisions. Sharing this data with your suppliers helps to hold them accountable, as well as giving them the data and opportunity to support you better. Benefits of best practice Good asset management can assist in not only reducing costs and inefficiencies; ultimately it can improve production uptime and increase productivity, allowing you to:
    • Minimise downtime by ensuring spares are easily accessible, identifying the right spares for critical equipment
    • Reduce costs through SKU rationalisation, removing parts for obsolete equipment and burning off excess spares
    • Ensure warranties are used and failures tracked to make appropriate decisions on new replacement or repairs
    • Achieve savings by tracking parts and component failures by machine, line and shift, to identify candidates for machine adjustment or perhaps migration. While best practice asset management is logical, day-to-day pressures often get in the way. Outsourcing asset management to a trusted source allows you to focus on the preventative and visionary activities. At Rockwell Automation, our deep understanding of customers' processes has enabled us to create a unique portfolio of services. We provide obsolescence and spare parts solutions as you would expect, but have also developed services around integrated repair solutions, embedded engineering and remote access based application support, with guaranteed responses to meet customers' business needs. It's time to ask yourself, how much of this can you afford not to do?