Mobility & ROI in Industrial Maintenance

Now more than ever, it’s hard for companies to justify new investments. In the industrial sector especially – when it comes to investing in new technologies – bureaucracy and a natural resistance to change can be the biggest barriers to acquiring new tools.

We live in the age of Industry 5.0; people and machines are working in tandem more than ever, automating routine tasks and freeing up time for higher-level planning and strategy.

Although this shift promises greater productivity and reduced costs, maintenance managers of large companies still face pushback in requesting new technology for their teams.

That’s what this week’s blog is here for: to help you understand and calculate the Return On Investment (ROI) your asset-intensive business can expect to see with a digitalized, mobile work order system in place – based on decades of industry experience and real data from large corporations.

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The Traditional Way

So, what exactly is a mobile solution and what benefits can one offer your maintenance team? To understand these answers, it’s important to review how traditional workflows in industrial maintenance function.

Generally speaking, there is one common denominator: Paper Consumption

Relying on paper for day-to-day processes poses numerous pitfalls:

  • Delays in problem solving

  • Errors in recording & delivery

  • Purchasing & printing costs

  • Miscellaneous time wasting

  • Missing, old or unreliable data


The Mobile Way

Although adopting a mobile maintenance solution won’t necessarily alter existing processes inside a company, it gives a prime opportunity for that to occur.

What it will do is boost efficiency and work execution, because the time waste and potential for error that paper brings is drastically reduced. In a mobilized maintenance workflow, the dispatching of work orders and data creation is carried out digitally and automatically.

Crucial information gets to technicians faster, easier and more accurately, allowing the entire maintenance team to execute more jobs with greater accuracy in a given work day.


In traditional workflows, technicians spend a lot of time on bureaucratic activities.
A mobile solution keeps them out in the field solving problems, rather than in the office shuffling papers.


The main benefits to a mobilized maintenance process are:

  • Faster responses to notifications & work orders
  • Significant increases in team productivity
  • Efficient delivery of parts & materials
  • Easy & reliable access to more accurate data
  • Safer inspections – fewer accidents
  • Less paper & manual data entry

With these gains, it’s easy to understand how mobile maintnenace would drive a strong ROI – which can be divided into two types:

  • Immediate ROI: They begin from the moment your operation deploys a mobile solution, and results start to show. Generally, they are associated with labor and can be quantified.

  • Mid-Term ROI: Processes are in constant, qualitative improvement. ROI depends on the use case, and how the solution adapts to the workflows of a client.

Estimating Mid-Term ROI is more complex, and it’s often not possible to calculate an exact number. However, you may realize that the Immediate ROI alone would pay for a mobile deployment.


Immediate ROI: Labor Optimization


The data for these averages is sourced from implementations of Sigga Technologies’ mobile system: Sigga Mobile EAM. We've done calculations and analysis on some of our client projects, and they've sent us reports with data and relevant information.

You may use the numbers presented as a reference.


Time to Dispatch Work Orders

Average Decrease: 90%

This reduction occurs because there’s no longer a need for planners to deliver work orders by hand to the field, or wait for them to be printed. The information is digitally created and sent to deployed technicians in real time.

In many cases, clients must process thousands of work orders per month – the time savings quickly add up.


Field Note Creation

Average Decrease: 70%

A good mobile solution uses catalogs and lists, integrated into a central database and tailored for that team’s work. This reduces the need to manually write or type extra notes.


Time to Create Work Orders

Average Decrease: 80%

Orders can be easily created and edited via mobile devices, wherever the worker is. In the case of Sigga Mobile EAM, this can be done even without an internet connection. Techs can create and manage their work orders offline, and any changes are automatically synced to the central system once a connection is restablished.


Time to Close Work Orders

Average Decrease: 100%

This is one of the biggest benefits to maintenance mobility. Integrations can be made to automatically close work orders once complete, eliminating this process entirely.


Printing Costs

Average Decrease: 100%

All data for notificaitons, work orders and notes are entered and dispatched digitally – no printing or paper required.

It should be noted that this reduction is based on a scenario in which the mobile solution is implemented through the entire maintenance process. Otherwise, these gains will only be seen for a given portion of a company’s workflow.


Mid-Term ROI: Process Improvements

Accuracy and Standardization of Field Data

The use of catalogs, in addition to lowering typing time, reduces errors and standardizes information, improving important indicators for decision making.

A mobile solution also allows for accurate time measurements. This way, it’s possible to analyze a technician’s performance – how long are they actually working, and how long does a given job take to perform?


Reduced Machine Downtime Due to Effective Maintenance

Imagine that an activity is scheduled to take one hour. Under a traditional system, you won’t have the real-time monitoring or data to analyze how long that task actually took to complete.

Sigga's Solution offers a play, pause and stop button, which techs can use according to their progress.

In the end, managers can analyze the numbers and understand the real time spent on each activity. This also helps them see the reason for delays, like needing to travel to another area to retrieve parts for example.

This kind of analysis opens up the possibility of accomplishing more with your team, and optimizing to an extent otherwise impossible.



Calculating Immediate ROI 


It’s now possible for you to calculate what your maintenance department stands to save through a mobile implementation! For an Immediate-ROI estimate, all you need to know is three numbers:

  • How many technicians you have

  • Your average labor cost for a technician

  • A rounabout average of the time per month a technician spends on the activities discussed that a mobile solution minimizes or eliminates

From there, you can use the average reductions we included to finish your calculation.


Let’s take a look at a calculation we did for a potential client in Brazil using real-world data – you can follow along and work it out to estimate your immediate ROI.


The operation had about 100 people working in maintenance and we considered the reduction percentage presented previously.



Company X





Number of Techs





Avg Hourly Wage (Brazilian Real)


R$ 55



% of Time Saved (Client Approx)



Hours Saved/Month



Savings in USD/Month



Hours Saved/Year



Savings in USD/Year




Calculating Mid-Term ROI

Unlike Immediate ROI, process improvements are difficult to quantify. Our suggestion here is to use a market benchmark to estimate potential gains. That is, use the average in your industry and compare it to your current situation.

This will allow you to find the improvement potential that your operation can achieve.


Let’s use Wrench Time as an example – how much of a tech’s day is actually spent with a tool in-hand doing work?


Follow these 3 steps:


  1. What’s the average and how are we doing?

It varies by sector, but average wrench time is generally around 30%. Let's say you know that your team is currently doing 20%.



  1. Analyze Improvement Potential

In this case, we are talking about 10 percentage points of improvemt potential. This doesn’t mean that mobility will gran you all of that, but it does mean that by improving processes, you could get much closer to it.


  1. What is the cost of this gap?

It’s the number of hours worked in a year. That is, how much your labor costs versus this 10% potential, and you will have an approximate value. This figure represents what you are failing to gain for not being as efficient as others in your industry



In A Nutshell


We’ve laid out what should be considered when calculating your company’s potential ROI from a mobile maintenance implementation. You must first understand the problems mobility can solve, and analyze your workflow to see how much time you spend on them.

From there, it’s just a matter of plugging in your time and wages – and using the results to make a case for the new mobile technology your team needs to stay competitive.


Don’t like math?

We’ve put together an ROI Calculator that does everything for you. Just answer a few of the questions we’ve gone over here, and we’ll send you a customized report detailing how much you stand to save with Sigga Mobile EAM. Take a minute and see what your team is leaving on the table.


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