For companies in asset-intensive industries like utilities, oil and gas, mining, aerospace and defense, and chemical and food processing, equipment failure is more than just disruptive and costly. Depending on the situation, the impact can range from annoyingly inconvenient to downright disastrous. Companies have long realized that the most fail-safe strategy is to head off problems before they begin. But, until recently, scheduling preventative maintenance was often a guessing game. In a new research report, Global Industry Analysts (GIA) projects the global market for machine condition monitoring equipment will reach $2.3 billion by 2018, fueled by the adoption of predictive maintenance as a way to reduce machine repair costs and optimize operational efficiency.
Software helps solve potential problems before they happen
It is clear that traditional maintenance approaches based on time and cost are no longer adequate. Neither are embedded sensors that only collect operational data from machinery. James Zhang, Principal of SAP Sales at Fujitsu, says that companies need to connect the information from their equipment with their business processes.
“Maintenance completed on a pre-defined timetable wastes resources,” he says. “Companies often spend where it’s not needed or miss places that require attention. Either way, this increases cost and the risk of equipment failure. Companies need real-time data that synchs the field, shop floor, distribution warehouses, and retail with data from business processes. Only then can a company lower daily operating costs and prevent major problems.”
That’s precisely the thinking behind the SAP Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) rapid-deployment solution. SAP has a comprehensive portfolio of rapid-deployment solutions that allow customers to short-cut traditional software implementation timelines. These solutions are pre-configured with SAP best practices – in this case, typical manufacturing scenarios – and are up and running in weeks. Qualified partners like Fujitsu have been instrumental in helping to bring these important solutions to customers.
In fact, Fujitsu has expanded its portfolio of rapid-deployment solution services in response to growing customer demand. With 80 percent of its installed base and target customers in the manufacturing sector, Fujitsu draws from its significant experience in CBM.
Ray Russ, Senior Director of the SAP Center of Excellence at Fujitsu North America, says that many companies in asset-intensive industries need technologies that will boost efficiency and ensure compliance with stringent regulations, while also lowering risk and cost. “Our customers want to know how they can quickly get the most value from their SAP technology investments. That’s where the rapid-deployment solutions come into play, with partners like Fujitsu working with SAP to develop and deliver a packaged solution that’s already been vetted and tested.”
SAP software solution up and running in seven weeks
Russ explains that when an SAP customer has implemented SAP Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (MII), data collected through the CBM rapid-deployment solution helps the company execute on an integrated maintenance plan from ongoing equipment management through end-of-life. The SAP CBM rapid-deployment solution can be up and running in as little as seven weeks depending on the size of the company and scope of functionality deployed.
Here’s an example of how an electrical power generation plant can use this solution to better manage equipment maintenance. Suppose that standard approaches call for maintenance checks every 30 days and filter replacements every six months. It’s a time-consuming, manual process that may or may not catch problems before they occur. With the SAP CBM rapid-deployment solution, that same plant can monitor real-time conditions of equipment. The solution continuously sends data to the SAP EAM maintenance planning system. Seamless integration with SAP MII links shop floor equipment readings such as temperature, pressure, and vibration to equipment definitions in SAP EAM. Intuitive dashboards, that are also mobile-enabled, indicate when a technician needs to service the machine. This reduces wasted resources while preventing costly and unexpected repairs – and most importantly, the chance of power outages.
Prevent downtime, increase customer satisfaction
Every company knows that unplanned downtime has a cascading effect company-wide, from field workers and shop floor production to distribution channels and end-user consumers. Production slow-downs lower profits, unexpected breakdowns increase repair and replacement costs, equipment failures jeopardize employee safety. All of these problems make for unhappy customers, partners, and shareholders. What’s more, extracting maximum productivity from expensive manufacturing systems is every company’s imperative. The more ways a company can prevent unplanned downtime with real-time data, the better chances it has for a healthier future for its assets and the business itself.