As our operating environments become more regulated either by local management or other governing authorities the thirst for more asset information is driving the need for data digitalisation. Often referred to as the next industrial revolution or Industry 4.0, there are a number of core pillars required for its success.
Standardisation across the board is a must
Accounting for different ways parts of an organisation may name assets is time consuming and avoidable. Having consistent naming conventions across the businesses is not a new concept and its benefits are obvious. However, it is important to get this right at the outset as it sets the foundations for you to lever long into the future. For some longer standing organisations the shift is not straight forward, one source that can help guide industry standards that already have much of this defined.
Often the challenge is selling the benefits into the business. BPD has found that configuring an additional Asset Tag field has proven a successfully way to manage specific site conventions and nuances whilst still maintaining consistency and help persuade those in the organisation that are hard to move on this. Furthermore, most asset types are already predefined with associated data sets allowing you to get up and running quickly.
Consistency in the conduct of a business process is key. Incomplete or contaminated data sets presents a missed opportunity. A common method to enforce this is often using mandatory fields. Although this seems a logical approach it often results in usability issues simply because it becomes difficult for a user to complete their job. This is simply due to the system seeking all mandatory fields to be populated before continuing until the missing information is complete. The MaxiCloud approach gets around this by using exception reporting to identify those areas of the business that are struggling with compliance to these business rules and deal with them on a case by case approach.
Hold your data in the most logical place. You most likely have multiple applications managing various parts of the business, recognise the strengths of each enabling tool and placing the data where it logically belongs helps prevent replication of data across the organisation. Asset Management systems are great for managing asset related data and business processes, GIS systems are ideal for spatial information and financial systems are best placed for everything money related. Remember, play to the strengths of the tool.
Connected Devices enhances your data sets
The proliferation of smart devices and maintenance information relayed on mobile devices has resulted in a massive change in how the workforce interacts with a repair job. This has been great for data and the environment. Levering the features of the device like voice to text, pictures with mark-ups and the ability to use electronic forms means more information than ever is gathered from the maintenance worker in the field. Instead of a few words scribbled on a piece of paper we are hearing stories, at length descriptions are now the norm. The use of drop-down lists helps with accuracy and containing interpretations. This provides absolute fodder for AI tools and the next evolution of mobility utilising Bots and pre-populating of fields.
Sensor information has evolved and is considered more than just a plastic device sitting on top of an asset sending a reading multiple times each second. Information comes from everywhere these days and each package or insight provides input into the decision you are trying to make. When you look more broadly sensor data also includes those physical observations made by an inspector walking through a building conducting a condition assessment, to weather information gathered from the internet.
Integration of your major systems is key to ensuring data accuracy and timeliness. Many systems these days have the native API tools for connecting applications or using middleware to pass the message. Not only does it save time by reducing multiple entry work but by also ensuring that the information passed is automated, reducing errors from human intervention.
Insights are the icing on the cake
Done right this becomes the reward for all the other hard work. Asset management is well-established and many of the prescribed metrics are deeply understood. Combining many years of experience, BPD have created many preconfigured reports and user dashboards that align to typical roles within an organisation. This also comes with the flexibility to align to any specifics that you might have.
Inevitably the user will have a need or be required to do some of their own analysis and it is important that the end user has the ability to do this easily. With differing skill sets it is ideal the user has access to multiple tools that are easy to use and fit for the purpose. BPD approach’s this with the native Maximo options. BIRT for those looking for scheduled reports, QBR for those looking for an easy to use UI and guiding you through the creation of SQL statements. On the BI side there is a dashboard of 30+ graphics created both in the IBM Cognos and Power BI suite that aligns to typical asset and Reliability management approach.
Benchmarking is an important piece to best practice. One, it is that reference point relative to others, and secondly, helps demonstrate the value of continuous improvement. Where an initiative is implemented everyone wants to know the return on their investment. Sure the business is often looking for a monetary return however, those that have made an investment of their time and energy also seek to see the results.
If you are facing any of these and/or other asset management challenges, I invite you to join us at the IoT Exchange in Sydney on 23-24 July 2019 at booth 7. It’ll be great opportunity to engage in discussions with BPD Zenith, other Maximo users and network with your peers. If you haven’t already secured a ticket, please contact BPD Zenith and we will arrange to nominate you for a complimentary pass.
We look forward to sharing our insights on how you can propel Industry 4.0 and the digitisation change for you and your organisation.