As new technologies like AI constantly evolve, companies must ensure they're staying up-to-date and optimizing their assets, especially as those assets age and become harder to maintain. Thankfully, predictive maintenance is a great way to use the wealth of data companies have available to improve their operational efficiency and overall business performance.
In a recent IDC Future Enterprise and Resiliency Survey, 49% of organizations said they are still digitally transforming. Digital transformation offers many avenues for organizations to improve efficiency, among which is increased access to data and the opportunity for that data to help optimize operational processes. This includes data gathered from field machinery, manufacturing floors, supply chains, and even publicly available data such as weather trends and traffic patterns. The insights garnered from this data can be used to better manage enterprise assets and improve business outcomes through predictive maintenance.
Optimize Data for Predictive Maintenance
Asset performance management is often viewed as a maintenance activity, but time-based predictive maintenance often delivers better results. Predictive maintenance uses the asset's performance and health data to indicate when it needs maintenance, which reduces unplanned downtime and unnecessary maintenance costs.
With more uptime, companies can produce a greater output, which, in turn, increases their profits. To achieve more uptime, organizations can use real-time performance data from their assets in conjunction with an AI and machine learning tool to predict when an asset is likely to fail based on data from previous failures. The program can then create a planned maintenance schedule or trigger a maintenance request ticket to reduce or eliminate the opportunity for failure.
Shift Maintenance from a Cost Mindset to a Profit Mindset
Using predictive maintenance to plan ahead makes for healthier assets and greater reliability. However, balancing uptime and asset maintenance remains a challenge as organizations must resist both over-maintaining assets, which incurs unnecessary costs, and under-maintaining assets, which risks revenue impact from the uncontrolled downtime.
Healthy, well-maintained assets facilitate reliability and the ideal level of organizational performance. Shifting from using a cost-benefit and failure analysis method of conducting maintenance to prioritizing healthy assets means businesses can take better advantage of all their resources.
Navigate Complexity within Specialized Industries
Maintenance planning and scheduling optimization are inevitably more complex for asset-intensive businesses and are further complicated by how mission-critical each asset is and how great the implications of its failure are. In certain industries, like manufacturing environments, asset failures can result in serious safety hazards and could even cause significant damage to surrounding infrastructure and equipment. As a result, such industries are highly regulated with strict standards to ensure safe maintenance, but this extra layer of protection also adds a new variable to maintenance planning and scheduling optimization.
Some organizations have many assets across locations, forming a complex network with hundreds or thousands of interconnected assets. Without proper planning and optimization, the failure of one asset can disrupt operations across the network, potentially affecting essential services like electric towers or gas stations.
The Role of Digital Transformation in Asset Management
Maintenance is a critical part of asset management, and it becomes easier as the tools to plan, assess, and conduct maintenance improve. AI has become an essential technology for digital transformation, enabling businesses to realize the value of adopting new technologies and make full use of the data available to them. AI is able to quickly analyze vast amounts of data and create optimal action plans based on the data, which saves manpower and increases the efficiency of an organization's existing resources.
Using technology and data to transform from a cost-centric focus to a profitable demand response is a huge benefit in the digital business world. Proactively managing the health of its assets allows businesses to improve their performance and, furthermore, focus on what really moves the needle forward — revenue, profitability, and sustainability.
Kevin Miller is CTO at IFS.