Organization-Wide Benefits of a Digital Transformation in Maintenance

February 7, 2023

Digital transformations have taken hold across the enterprise, but some departments have been slower to shift to digitized and automated operations. For organizations in asset-intensive industries, especially in areas like maintenance management, deploying successful transformations are key to maximizing equipment uptime, reducing costs, and mitigating the impact of labor shortages.

The advantages don’t stop there. When organizations adopt technology that helps them move towards proactive and predictive maintenance, the benefits are far-reaching across the enterprise.

What is Digital Transformation in the Enterprise?

At its core, digital transformation is about reimagining how a business operates and how technology can enable that change. The move from analog processes and information systems to an end-to-end digital environment involves a realignment of existing technology and strategic investments in new technology. The goal is to drive value for customers and employees. It also enables companies to make more accurate decisions, and do so quickly, providing a competitive edge.

The specific types of technology required vary by business, but advances such as machine learning, sensor technology, and mobile capabilities are critical for asset-intensive organizations.

How Each Department Benefits from a Digital Transformation in Maintenance Organizations

Maintenance Managers

The maintenance department is the frontline in ensuring your assets are performing at peak levels. They need the right data at the right time to preempt failures before they occur. If that’s not possible, the next best step is to repair the equipment correctly the first time. For maintenance to achieve these goals, they need upgraded tools and processes. The most successful organizations have adopted systems that include digital work instructions, mobile EAM, automated workflows, and sensors. The benefits, many of which are immediate, include:

Reducing mean time to repair: This key KPI measures the average time it takes to troubleshoot and repair a failed piece of equipment.

  • Boosting technician wrench time.
  • Improving repair accuracy.
  • Lowering maintenance costs.

Production and Operations Management

The most profound improvements result from digitized work processes combined with predictive analytics.

Operations has been steadily making changes to improve overall equipment efficiency (OEE), with more successful organizations striving to reach 100% OEE. The reality is that the industry has yet to reach these goals. Lower performing organizations have OEE scores closer to 40% One challenge in moving to 100% OEE is that many organizations continue to operate in reactive maintenance mode. This is often the result of under-planning or inadequate preventative maintenance plans, outdated technology, and the ongoing skilled labor shortage.

A successful digital transformation is also imperative to help operations and maintenance departments adopt more lean manufacturing processes, including total productive maintenance (TPM). Total Productive Maintenance emphasizes preventive and proactive maintenance strategies and takes a holistic approach. These processes improve collaboration across departments, unifying the entire organization towards achieving common business goals.

In addition, ditching paper systems and implementing sensors and other Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities drive organizations to real-time enterprises. Instead of analyzing data from last month or last year, real-time inputs lead to real-time outputs.

Reliability Engineering

Understanding reliability engineering’s role in the transformation journey is critical. The group’s input is valuable in choosing the right tools and processes. After all, they require accurate data to do their job correctly. Additionally, this group has the potential to see some of the biggest benefits once digital processes are implemented. With access to more and better data, along with analytics systems, reliability engineers can better analyze past failures and create more accurate maintenance plans.

One of the biggest challenges in creating proactive maintenance plans is that current planning processes, especially SAP Plant Maintenance (PM), have data quality problems. Often the cause is inaccurate or incomplete data (due to paper-based processes that require manual entry).

Better data integrity is the first step in creating and implementing PM plans. The next is better failure analysis. This analysis is typically conducted after a failure occurs. Reliability engineers and maintenance managers can use these findings to improve the planning of PM tasks. This data can also be used across teams to modify machine design or equipment use patterns.

That leads us back to data. For accurate failure analysis to occur, stakeholders need access to complete and accurate data — and they must do so quickly.

Streamlining and standardizing the collection of maintenance data within SAP PM through the use of automation technologies will lead to better outcomes. For example, through the use of a mobile EAM solution, technicians can identify the reasons for failure using drop-down menus of pre-defined reason codes. This information is automatically synced with SAP to give maintenance planners and engineers the reliable and complete data they need to continually improve PM plans.

Department Leaders and the C-Suite

While the business side isn’t monitoring daily KPIs, they are concerned about macro issues that impact performance and the bottom line. The move to digital processes across the organization creates streamlined operations that benefit everyone.

Connected systems that produce quality data let VPs understand department-wide and asset-wide performance at a glance without the need for complex and time-consuming manual analysis. This higher degree of dependable information gives leaders the decision-making confidence needed to pivot quickly when needed.

The CIO, who is tasked with aligning this information flow, can architect the most efficient systems when the workforce, technology, and machines are connected.

A C-suite that embraces digital transformations in every corner of the business, including maintenance, benefits from organizational-wide insights that enable them to stay competitive.

Executives can better pinpoint what areas of the business are succeeding and where changes need to be made. The ability to make data-driven decisions is critical in the new normal of broken supply chains, rising costs, and an uncertain economic outlook.

Driving Digital Transformation in Maintenance Operations

Partner with us to digitally transform your maintenance operations for company-wide business impact. Our singular focus is to drive end-to-end digital processes to connect the front-end worker with SAP PM.

Sigga EAM Empower is a proven mobile solution designed to digitize the activities of the maintenance and repair worker. The solution upgrades manual paper-based processes with a direct interface to SAP for immediate access to manuals and repair instructions, and lets users create notifications and coordinate tasks. Sigga Warehouse and Inventory extends the mobile benefits for additional cross-organization collaboration.

Sigga Planning & Scheduling helps planners ditch inefficient spreadsheets in favor of automated solutions that create a baseline schedule for maintenance and repair activities. The solution automates many tedious tasks such as checking parts and materials for each work order before recommending a schedule – leading to better, more effective outcomes.

Get started on your digital transformation journey today.

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