Drive operational excellence through Maintenance optimization

11 June 2020

The current situation is forcing many companies to reduce budgets and operational costs to improve margins.

The process industry is no exception. CAPEX budgets have been postponed and, as existing equipment can no longer be easily upgraded as it used to be, manufacturers now have to ensure the continuation of the existing equipment. Thus, “operational efficiency” or operational excellence is becoming one of the main drivers of productivity, and significant optimization of the maintenance process is becoming essential to help restore margins.


Operational Excellence: Balancing Productivity and Equipment Reliability


For the majority of European industries, the maintenance optimization process can be considered as one of the main steps to achieve operational excellence. In the oil, refining, machine building, transport, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and many other sectors, the costs of intervention and repair of equipment are substantial and therefore have a significant potential for optimization. Moreover, for many European companies, equipment is a key element in the production cycle. Reducing it to a maximum level of productivity has become one of the primary roles of plant management and industrial groups. It is clear that only companies capable of maintaining optimum product quality while using fewer resources will emerge as winners from this crisis, and one of the fundamental conditions for achieving this is the implementation of a well-designed equipment maintenance process.


At the strategic level in the maintenance process, there is a key task for the site manager: finding a balance between the productivity and reliability of the equipment, and its cost of operation. On the one hand, it is possible to use preventive maintenance, which is more reliable but also more expensive than corrective maintenance. On the other hand, it is possible to carry out curative actions to replace and/or repair equipment in case of failure, which is less costly but to the expense of reliability.  Therefore, effective repair management requires a combination of several maintenance approaches in this process.


The “conditional” approach to maintenance as the best solution


The most relevant approach is the conditional approach, adapted to each class of equipment, taking into account its technical characteristics, criticality, and function. This approach makes it possible to plan maintenance actions according to their actual state, i.e. to control the functioning of the existing asset and, without waiting for a breakdown, to make it evolve.


The maintenance strategy combining several approaches, constantly updated, thanks to a global platform


At the same time, it should be noted that a conditional approach requires an equipment monitoring solution, a global vision on the condition and operation of the equipment, and a tool for assigning and monitoring maintenance interventions. This is where we find the high added value of asset management software, enabling the efficiency of assets and personnel to be improved, such as SIRFULL PowerMaint™ platform.


With a global platform, communicating with various asset-related sources and databases, a content analysis of the indicators can be carried out. This analysis allows the identification of areas for process optimization that need improvement.


With the aim of achieving complete operational excellence, SIRFULL PowerMaint™ platform is based on two main process axes: strategic and applicative. At the strategic level, we define the concept and the basic rules of the global maintenance strategy, “best practices” are identified and the effectiveness of the strategy is monitored and controlled on a global perimeter.

The handling of exceptions is consequently framed and controlled.


Applying the new maintenance rules in practice: the problem of manual entry


Once the maintenance strategy and rules are defined, the question of the application of these rules arises, and an update of maintenance plans and changes to work orders is inevitable.

Today, these types of modifications are made manually in CMMS-type software, with the difficulty of having a harmonized approach, and represent a tedious and time-consuming task. This aspect slows down the improvement of the internal process and represents a significant barrier, both human and financial.


Automatic generation of updated maintenance plans is now possible


To meet this need, the SIRFULL platform provides a disruptive solution: all modifications to Maintenance Plans can be implemented in mass and automatically. The automation and optimization of the maintenance process start as soon as the Maintenance Plan is established and the change of maintenance rules is simple and fast, with just one click!


Automation of maintenance plans and optimization of maintenance processes: the winning duo of operational excellence.


In conclusion, while it is clear that the majority of companies have already started to automate the maintenance of their equipment, the majority of them do not pay enough attention to the optimization of maintenance processes, hoping that these functionalities will become available in their existing digital solutions. Unfortunately, standard solutions cannot adapt to everyone at the same time.


The PowerMaint™ Platform can be easily integrated into an existing ecosystem, helping to visualize processes and rebuild the overall maintenance process. It can also, with analytical data, highlight the optimization directions to be taken, and subsequently, make their implementation very simple.


This is why, if we are aiming for complete operational excellence of our industrial sites, the two axes of operation – strategic and applicative – are essential.

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Sirfull is a software vendor with a strong industrial culture and French know-how, which develops solutions that enable its customers to anticipate changes in their market.

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