The Upside of Uptime Software

Planning for Unplanned Events Can Deliver Big Results

$50 billion. That’s a big number plaguing the industrial sector, and one that doesn’t have to be so, well, big.

According to estimates compiled by Deloitte, unplanned downtime costs industrial manufacturers upwards of $50 billion each year. And that may only scratch the surface. Downtime not only impacts a site’s production capacity – with estimates varying between 5 and even 25 percent, or the equivalent of one full fiscal quarter a machine is expected to be operating. But big numbers are just that – numbers – until you start to assess the real down-the-line implications of this endemic problem.

From the direct costs of down plants, break-fix service and repeat field service visits to employee safety, morale and customer service agreement failures, these implications combined contribute significantly to bottom-line industrial performance. And many of these failures can be eliminated.

Today’s industrial plants have millions of data points at their disposal. But this information is often disparate, disorganized, and underutilized – informing some parts of the business but not others. In turn, teams are left to utilize other approaches – balancing the cost of preventative maintenance with the potential cost of machine or even plant downtime, proactively replacing ‘good’ parts to avoid full breakdowns.

The Value of Predictive and Pre-Emptive Maintenance

Uptime software powers a different paradigm – taking that information and insight to redirect loss-leading time and investment in the traditional ‘break-fix’ model toward pinpointing anticipated failures before they happen, targeting the right part at the right time so manufacturers – from the plant floor to the field – can get ahead of problems before they occur.

As an example, look at a manufacturer with 10 percent downtime each year. That means that it is losing more than three-quarters of an hour for every shift. If a company is running two, eight-hour shifts, five days a week, that amounts to nearly 25,000 lost hours each year. Consider that unpredictable costs mean unpredictable margins and profit.

Now let’s take the flip of this equation. An IOT sensor-enabled system in which the information from each of these machines is captured and analyzed using Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) informed by vast historical data to not only monitor performance and detect anomalies but also predict product and part failures to eliminate unplanned downtime and improve parts utilization. In this same scenario, an organization is able to not only improve machine uptime and recoup that lost time but also potentially create new value across its organization or for its customers.

Consider the incredibly positive implications of software that contains automated recommendation capability. This is a function in which any service job recommendations for root causes and corrected actions are communicated via Work Order Request (WOR), generated by the software and sent directly to the execution system such as FSM, CMMS, or EAM system.

This is the real value of pre-emptive maintenance. And it goes up exponentially when you factor in the benefits to productivity and improved customer outcomes, particularly in cases of risk-based service contracts that require performance commitments.

Realizing the Potential of Industry 4.0

Effective software allows users to proactively target products with high failures, more accurately forecast parts demand and improve the efficiency of the current reactive break-fix service model that most companies deploy. Combined with the other forces shaping Industry 4.0 – 5G, the Industrial Internet of Things, AI and Machine Learning – uptime software not only transitions manufacturers from reactive to proactive problem solving, it also opens up entirely new ways of working and new service models – from product-centric to service-centric.

This allows companies to create new customer value while reducing cost, including the opportunity to create entirely new revenue streams and ‘future-proof’ their businesses with the rise of ‘as-a-service’ consumption models driving many of today’s customers. This increasingly popular consumption preference is driving original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to shift from product-centric to service-centric, or subscription-based, business models. And as more and more industrial devices go further into the field – with sensors in increasingly hard to access, and in turn service, areas – this becomes even more appealing for customers seeking to limit exposure, improve safety and ensure the right fix at the right time the first time.

Understanding the trends in a business are important. Being able to analyze those trends in real time and get that information across multiple different channels – from maintenance to planning to revenue – to take action is increasingly the difference between high-performing and under-performing organizations. By turning on all of a business’s potential assets – and truly capturing and leveraging the rich information that is already embedded within an organization – companies can not only save money and time but also increase their competitiveness in the long run.

The shift to uptime software is a win-win for many organizations – and as Industry 4.0 continues to take hold, increasingly a must-deploy strategy to compete for future customers. And that may be well worth more than the $50 billion being lost today.

To speak with a Syncron expert about how to improve uptime in your machinery, click here.