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Scheduling for Success Webinar: STO and Mobile Work Order Management

Best-Practice Maintenance Scheduling, STO and Mobile Work Order Management – a Webinar

Scheduling for Success Webinar

Scheduling, STO, and Mobile Work Order Management

There’s never been a better time to review asset management processes and focus on strategic IT projects that will improve operational efficiency. 

So VIZIYA is casting a free industry update on developments in Asset Maintenance Scheduling, Mobility, and STO. This live webinar will reveal exciting developments in fully-integrated work order management tools and demonstrate how these solutions optimise workflow, seamlessly integrated with your CMMS to make maintenance best practice easy. 

Secure your spot – register now to attend this free 45-min webinar. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Register for Scheduling for Success Webinar

Presenters

VIZIYA Specialists in STO, Scheduling, and Mobile Management – to be announced!

Top 5 Benefits of VIZIYA WorkAlign Cloud for Maintenance

VIZIYA’s WorkAlign Cloud is an all-in-one solution for the maintenance process with built-in mobility, community, and machine learning.

March 17, 2020

An all-in-one maintenance cloud solution with built-in advantages

An increasing number of organizations are looking to cloud solutions to both save costs and improve processes. A report by LogicMonitor predicted that 83% of enterprise workloads would be in the cloud by 2020, with a corresponding dip in on-premise workloads. There are many ways in which the advantages of the cloud benefits maintenance, as long as the solution has the right capabilities.

VIZIYA WorkAlign Cloud is a SaaS offering designed and built exclusively for the needs of maintenance. Rather than simply being a cloud-based version of our on-prem software, WorkAlign Cloud was designed from the beginning as a true cloud solution for maintenance, taking advantage of everything that cloud computing has to offer.

VIZIYA’s WorkAlign Cloud is an all-in-one solution for the maintenance process with built-in mobility, community, and machine learning.

 

Like all of VIZIYA’s solutions, WorkAlign Cloud works out of the box without lengthy customizations and the software bolts directly to your ERP. This ensures a single source of truth both in the maintenance department and across the entire organization. Because VIZIYA is focused exclusively on maintenance, WorkAlign Cloud also has maintenance best practices built right into the software. Other features and benefits include:

  1. All-in-One Solution – VIZIYA WorkAlign Cloud is a purpose-built solution designed for the needs of maintenance organizations. All modules in the solution are subscription-based. This means that if you just planning and scheduling, then you only need to subscribe to that module. It also means, though, that when your needs change, the solution can change right along with them. Budgeting, analytics, and other modules are right there waiting for you. Accessing them requires no lengthy set-up, only activating the module.
  2. Work Execution – Mobility is a huge advantage in modern work environments. The VIZIYA Cloud product suite was built with mobility in mind. It can provide your maintenance teams with everything they need while they’re in the field or on the plant floor. We know that a strong connection can sometimes be hard to find, which is why VIZIYA Cloud works even if you’re not connected, allowing you to easily sync and update files when you reconnect. This helps both frontline maintenance personnel and maintenance management, as they can now access work order data in real-time.
  3. Community – WorkAlign Cloud includes a new online community built for maintenance professionals. It provides a chance to interact with other experts and maintenance professionals while also accessing premium online content such as training material, how-to guides, and more.
  4. IIoT, AI, and Machine Learning – VIZIYA Cloud is accelerating maintenance organizations into the future by applying stunning new technological advancements. IIoT, AI, and machine learning strategies are built into the core of the platform. Some of these upgrades include advanced algorithms for work order scheduling algorithms and inventory optimization, advanced learning systems, and leveraging sensor data to enable predictive maintenance.
  5. The VIZIYA Advantage – One of the biggest benefits of VIZIYA’s WorkAlign Cloud suite is our Cloud implementation and service team. The team has decades of combined experience in cloud computing, cloud implementations, and maintenance best practices. It’s an unbeatable combination that you can access to take your maintenance organization to new heights in the cloud!

For more information on VIZIYA WorkAlign Cloud, contact us today or Request a Custom Demo to see more.

4 Must Have Maintenance Cloud Capabilities

Maintenance cloud capabilities are the primary driver for maintenance organizations moving to the cloud. Be sure that your chosen solution provides what you need.

March 12, 2020

A true maintenance cloud solution will encourage best practice

Cloud solutions have some undeniable advantages compared to on-premise installations, such as speed of installation, security, quality control, data management, and cost savings. These advantages can be especially attractive for maintenance organizations, which is why many of them are currently evaluating the maintenance cloud capabilities of different systems.

Maintenance cloud capabilities are the primary driver for maintenance organizations moving to the cloud. Be sure that your chosen solution provides what you need.

Maintenance cloud capabilities are the primary driver for maintenance organizations moving to the cloud. Be sure that your chosen solution provides what you need.

 

Everything we listed above is a general advantage of cloud computing. In other words, any cloud solution for maintenance will offer those. The advantages are inherent to cloud, or they should be. This means you’re going to have to dig deeper to determine which of the competing solutions will deliver the most value for maintenance.   

You will need any solution you choose to have certain maintenance cloud capabilities if it’s going to be worthwhile. A complete list will vary from industry to industry, and even from organization to organization within an industry. Different needs require different capabilities. However, some maintenance cloud capabilities apply to every organization. We’ve summarized some of the most important capabilities to look for in this article.  

Let’s take a moment to define some terms before we get into the details of what to look for in a maintenance cloud solution.  

First off, most of the time when we’re talking about cloud solutions for maintenance, we’re really talking about Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS is the application layer for a full cloud system, but it’s still reasonable for us to talk about “cloud” when we’re looking at these applications for maintenance. The application layer is the part you’re interacting with to get things done.  

Your IT department may need to distinguish between cloud computing and SaaS, but we don’t need to do that right now. From the user perspective, SaaS effectively is “cloud.” IT World has an excellent (and short!) article on the difference between SaaS and cloud computing if you’re interested in the details. While we’re going to go ahead and just call everything “cloud,” you might want to read up on the differences if you’re meeting with the IT department at some point.  

We also want to note that a true cloud solution for maintenance is not simply an on-premise installation hosted on a remote server. That might qualify as “cloud” from a strictly technical standpoint, but it’s not really what we mean when we discuss maintenance-focused cloud solutions. Cloud software for maintenance should be designed from the ground-up to take advantage of everything the cloud has to offer.

1. Maintains a single source of truth.

This is of great importance both to maintenance and the organization as a whole. Ensuring a single source of truth is a vital capability for any maintenance cloud solution. The data gathered by your maintenance system must be able to move to your ERP as needed. This saves time by eliminating duplicate entry of data, not to mention the incredible amount of time and energy it can take to identify which piece of data is the right one.

At a higher level, ensuring that your maintenance cloud solution gives you a single source of truth will provide you with the right data, at the right time. Accurate data is the foundation of analytics, a necessary component of improving your maintenance processes.

A maintenance cloud solution that maintains a single source of truth will prevent data conflicts from arising and ensure that the whole organization has the same data. Ideally, it should integrate directly with your ERP.

2. Encourage maintenance best practices.  

This should always be a required capability for any maintenance software, whether cloud or on-prem. A system designed for maintenance from the ground-up is more likely to offer this capability than one that was designed for something else and adapted to the needs of maintenance.

Maintenance best practice is a big topic on its own. In short, any cloud solution for maintenance should encourage moving from reactive maintenance to a more preventive model, and if possible, predictive maintenance. In turn, this means that the maintenance cloud solution should be able to check the quality and accuracy of work orders to ensure that only properly prepared work orders make their way to scheduling.

You’ll also need your cloud solution to capture as much data from the equipment as possible. You can’t make predictions on equipment if you don’t have the historical data.  

Whether or not a proposed solution can actually encourage maintenance best practices can be hard to gauge from a distance. The short answer to this is to talk to your vendor and ask them some questions. If nothing else, this will show you whether or not the vendor’s rep understands maintenance best practices. If the rep can’t answer basic questions about how the solution handles the backlog and constructing a work priority index, then there’s a good chance the solution doesn’t include those things.  

3. Expands to meet your needs.

Today you know you need planning, scheduling, and some analytics for reports. What will you need tomorrow? It’s not really a fair question. You would just ask for it today if you already knew what you needed.  

Maintenance cloud solutions may be faster to implement than on-prem solutions, but they still require effort, time, and money to roll out. Implementing a basic solution may leave you high and dry when your needs expand. 

Look for a solution that can be expanded with other capabilities as the needs of your organization grow. The various modules should integrate both with each other and your ERP.  

4. Mobility built-in to the solution.  

What’s the point of cloud maintenance software if everyone is still tied to their desks? One of the big selling points of cloud computing, in general, is that you can access the software no matter where you are.  

This is especially true for maintenance organizations. There are many advantages to a mobile workforce. Just one example: a craftsperson with a mobile solution can input meter readings and other data directly into your solution, and hence into your ERP.   

Writing down inspection results on paper provides at least two opportunities for data errors: when the readings are written down, and then again when they’re entered into the system. The best decisions arise from the best data. That means prioritizing mobile over paper.

With that said, a mobile solution may not be high on your priority list right now, and that’s okay. However, it’s vital to ensure that any cloud maintenance software you choose be able to support mobile solutions. It’s better to have a capability you don’t use than it is to need a capability you will never be able to get.

These capabilities are essential for any maintenance cloud solution. VIZIYA’s WorkAlign Cloud can help you go even further, by integrating the entire maintenance workflow. Contact us today for more information on bolstering your maintenance processes in the cloud.

Drive Improvements with Predictive Analytics for Maintenance

Predictive analytics for maintenance can increase your capabilities in a number of ways, including scheduling resources where they’ll have the greatest benefit.

March 11, 2020

Predictive analytics for maintenance can drive performance benefits

A universal goal for any maintenance organization is getting your site as productive as you can, as efficiently as you can.  While the general application of tech is a good start, there are some critical dependencies when it comes to stepping up in the asset maintenance game. Predictive analytics for maintenance may hold the key to increasing your capabilities while still controlling costs.

Predictive analytics for maintenance can increase your capabilities in a number of ways, including scheduling resources where they’ll have the greatest benefit.

Predictive analytics for maintenance can increase your capabilities in a number of ways, including scheduling resources where they’ll have the greatest benefit.

 

Many organizations operate under time-scheduled preventative maintenance (PM) programs through specialized applications such as VIZIYA’s WorkAlign Scheduler. PM programs are shown to contribute savings overall, however, time-based PM schedules can also contribute to unnecessary routine inspections and maintenance work that is dictated by time, rather than the specific condition of individual pieces of equipment and other information we can collect on our assets.

It’s possible to achieve more finely-tuned maintenance cycles with analytics. Applied properly, analytics can take your team to the next stage of maintenance maturity. Analytics makes use of data to deliver value for the business. It does this by supporting a path to predictive and prescriptive maintenance best-practice.

You need to answer at least two major questions before you can access the true power of analytics. First, how do you know it’s time for a maintenance analytics application? Just as important, what kind of analytics will drive the performance benefits you’re looking for?

We can answer the first question by looking over the scenarios below. It’s time to consider analytics for your maintenance organization if one or more of the following apply:

  1. You want greater insight into performance. You may have multiple data sources that you simply want to be aggregated into regular reports, or you want to measure your performance against industry benchmarks to drive continuous improvement initiatives. Analytics tools can aggregate your planning and scheduling KPIs, sensor data, and other IoT systems information to provide visual, actionable real-time data.
  1. You want to use data to manage people. Metrics can help you to identify trends amongst individuals or teams that point to poor performance such as fire-fighting all day, or regularly shifting jobs in favour of preferred or easy tasks.

Visual analytics such as live dashboards or traffic-light style KPI reports can also be really effective management tools. It’s important to align individual KPIs with broader business objectives to drive the right behaviours. It’s also best to use visual tools like dashboards to motivate individuals or build cohesion amongst the group, rather than punish individuals. 

  1. You want to be able to address issues before they become too large or expensive for the business. You can apply analytics to forecast a likely failure and prioritize matters to avoid the likely consequences of a failure. Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) data will allow you to work out how much the bottom line will be impacted while you identify and troubleshoot an issue or avoid one before it becomes an issue. Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) will also help the business to make solid financial decisions when selecting or maintaining equipment.

  2. You want the data necessary to justify maintenance activities or budgets. A lack of visibility into the cost (or savings!) makes it nearly impossible to manage competing priorities or forecast costs. Analytics can lift the curtain on these numbers and help you justify current maintenance activities or make the case for additional resources.

Just one possible example out of many: Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) analytics can provide insight into average repair times for a particular asset. Having those numbers at your fingertips will help you to work out how just how identifying, troubleshooting, and correcting an issue will be likely to impact the bottom line.

  1. Reliability-centred maintenance becomes a priority. This step-up in maturity helps you to eliminate unnecessary time-scheduled preventative maintenance activities with predictive maintenance practice. Failure data must be available for analysis of Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF). This helps sites to predict how likely a piece of equipment is to fail within a given period. Knowing this will help you to schedule maintenance work more effectively.  

How do you get there?

There are a huge number of IIoT devices, monitoring, and work management applications available today. This sheer volume means there’s an overwhelming amount of data and sources that could all be leveraged to drive your asset performance management.

These advanced technologies also allow us to quickly and easily install a powerful analytics engine to support broader corporate strategy and continuous improvement strategies.  For example, all of these analytics are available out-of-the-box with WorkAlign Analytics. You can check out a previous blog on some important considerations when selecting your analytics tool.

The right analytics tool will have you ratcheting up performance in no time, and wondering how you ever worked without accessible, real-time data and analytics.

For more information on how VIZIYA can help you unlock the power of your data, check out WorkAlign Analytics or contact us today!

4 Tips for Better Maintenance Scheduling

Better Maintenance scheduling

July 24, 2017 (Updated February 24, 2020)

Improve Maintenance Scheduling with these 4 Tips

 

Maintenance scheduling is a key element to the overall success of any organization. Companies that are not performing maintenance planning and scheduling effectively are negatively impacting work effectiveness, wrench time, equipment uptime, equipment reliability, and production throughput.

In the perfect world, craftsperson productivity would be at 100% all the time. In reality, craft time is often wasted during an average day on things such as:

  • Searching for materials and tools needed to execute the initially planned work
  • Poorly planned work orders
  • Transit to the next assignment
  • Break-in / emergency / unplanned work
  • General employee needs such as breaks and administrative tasks.

One of the most effective ways to improve maintenance scheduling is to streamline your organization’s processes. Proper maintenance planning and scheduling greatly improve asset uptime, production throughput, and worker productivity. There are a few tricks for a company to improve its planning and scheduling practices. 

Typically, moving from a reactive strategy to a preventative maintenance strategy will improve the efficiency of your maintenance program. However, you may already have a preventive maintenance schedule in place. Preventive maintenance is certainly more predictable than corrective maintenance. This is simply because planned maintenance is just that: planned.
 
Preventative maintenance certainly has its advantages, but it is not a universal solution to perfecting your maintenance schedule. In fact, it requires more of a defined schedule than corrective maintenance. Maintenance management must determine exactly which maintenance tasks take place at which time. This alone means more work on the schedule.
 
We’re not trying to downplay the importance of preventive maintenance. Far from it! But don’t think that it will be a panacea to your schedule woes. It’s essentially a method of ensuring tasks on performed on equipment before it fails. The operations department will certainly be happier, but it won’t always help the maintenance supervisor plan or schedule any more efficiently. 
 

Here are 4 Tips for Better Maintenance Scheduling:

  1. Early Detection – When failure conditions are detected early in asset evaluation, it ensures adequate time for planning, scheduling, and execution of corrective actions and maintenance prior to equipment failure occurring.
  2. Standardizing Procedures – Standardizing procedures is an easy way to optimize your scheduling practices. Processes like job plans, job planning steps and documented maintenance procedures ensure scheduling and maintenance work is completed on equipment effectively, efficiently and with consistent quality.
  3. Tools, Parts and Equipment – Tools and equipment can be the source of pain for craftspeople. Valuable time is wasted looking for tools and equipment to complete each work order. Implementing an organizational system, preparing part kits and attaching the Bill of Materials to the work order, are easy ways to ensure time is spent on the work order rather than preparing for the work order.
  4. Meetings and Communications – A vital part of enhancing your planning and scheduling practices is ensuring everyone is on the same page. This can be accomplished with regular meetings and team communications. A quick 15-minute meeting in the morning to review priorities and publish the schedule ensures schedules are accurate and known amongst the team.

To learn more about Planning and Scheduling Best Practices, check out our “Are your Planning and Scheduling processes using Best Practices?” white paper.

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Asset Insight Survey Highlights the Value of Planning & Scheduling

Asset Management Tech Insight

January 30, 2020

Planning & Scheduling is seen as the most desirable, but also the hardest to implement

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Late in 2019, VIZIYA invited members of the maintenance industry to participate in a survey on digital priorities, adoption, and their thoughts on key asset management and Industry 4.0 themes.

The following results represent responses from a wide variety of roles within the maintenance ecosphere – from planning and schedulers, to technicians, and executives. Let’s take a quick look at the industries they’re coming from before we dig into the results.

Asset Insight Survey Respondents by Industry

 

At 26%, the largest group of survey respondents come from the Mining industry, closely followed by those in the Utilities (23%) and Metal Manufacturing sectors (20%). These three, taken together, far outweigh the remaining list combined. In fact, they each come fairly close to outweighing the rest of the list on their own. The “Other” category, in this case, is a mix of Transport and Construction industries.

While all industries require maintenance, we can see from our respondent profile that certain industries, such as mining and power generation/distribution have higher maintenance needs, or pay this side of asset management a higher priority in the business.

Gaps in the Process

The very first question in the survey asked respondents to indicate if they could identify a gap in software systems or processes that negatively impacts asset maintenance and management.

The results likely won’t surprise too many maintenance professionals. A vast majority of respondents (85%) identified gaps in their organizational systems or processes that deteriorate asset management standards in their business.

Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the remaining 15% don’t have such a gap in their processes.

Personally, I think this is an area where the straight numbers don’t really tell you much. It’s only when we dig into the responses themselves that we can develop insight into exactly where these gaps are. In general, most of the comments fall into just a few categories. I’ve drawn out some of the responses below to give you a general sense of what survey respondents had to say. Minor edits have been made for style and in some cases to protect confidentiality.

“We do not yet have an asset management system. We do not even have all process assets identified in our (ERP system). We are years behind.”

“Not all lower level assets are entered in the system. Parts list are not accurate.”

There were a number of comments along these lines, where at least some of the organization’s assets aren’t even listed in the overall ERP. This obviously puts a major roadblock in front of the maintenance department. No doubt they’re still running the maintenance they need to on those assets, but not having them in the system means they’re likely not getting any analytics on the maintenance being performed, to say nothing of the challenge it must present when trying to prepare a budget.

“Not all the information in the same silo.”

“Communication between different software systems.”

“Lack of integration between systems.”

Data and integration is a common problem for maintenance and asset management, judging from the number of responses we received along these lines. You could have the most complete data in the world, but it’s not much use if you can’t get at it or it’s not in a form that the needed systems can’t access.

Gaps identified by group were interestingly, most often related to asset management systems or tech, rather than asset management processes within the organization. The three most common systems issues for asset managers are: the lack of specialized tools capable of supporting asset management processes, master data issues, and a lack of integration and automation.

We prepared this post to discuss the results of the survey, not to beat the drum for our products. With that said, it would be remiss of us not to mention that all VIZIYA’s WorkAlign products offer seamless bolt-on integration with your ERP software. 

Most Important Maintenance Topics

At this point, the survey dives into the relevance of various maintenance topics. We came at this subject from a variety of angles, in part to see if the answers changed significantly based on how the questions were phrased.

First, we asked, “What is the most relevant topic to your role or organization today?” The most common answer, for a third of respondents (33%) was “Scheduling and Planning Optimization.” In fact, this answer outweighed the next two most common answers combined.

Asset Insight Most Important Topic Results

 

The “Other” category, in this case, isn’t as much of a mixed bag as you might think. While we did receive a few answers like “Mobile” and “Software,” the most compelling responses were along these lines:

“Convincing senior leadership that asset management is important.”

This isn’t really that surprising. Depressing, yes, but not surprising. It’s a safe bet that most maintenance professionals can tell at least one story of senior executives who didn’t give asset management its due and simply preferred to run assets into the ground.

The usual motivation for this is that it looks good on the balance sheet, at least for a little while. The old saying is “penny wise and pound foolish” and it’s applicable here. Slashing maintenance down to the bone invariably leads to degradation of assets and a negative impact on production. Nevertheless, it’s still a depressingly common mindset.

As we discovered in response to the first question, results here suggest there is an overwhelming lack of understanding of the value of established asset management standards and specialist software within even the most asset-intensive industries (“…the business prioritized with an ERP over a CMMS”). As such, asset management teams are forced to use inadequate tools to perform their work, and lack clarity on areas of authority and acceptable standards of work.

Maintenance in the Next Five Years

The next question in the survey asked respondents to “identify which areas they expected to be of primary importance in three to five years”.

Maintenance in the next five years

 

“Improved Planning and Scheduling” takes the top spot again, with 26% of respondents. “Equipment reliability” was also identified as a mid-term priority at 21%. In third place is “Reducing/Controlling Maintenance Costs” at 18%. That’s nearly one-fifth of respondents who seem to have reason to believe that their budgets will be cut sometime in the next few years.

Greatest Value for Maintenance

We also asked, “which improvement would provide the most value if it were implemented today?”

Asset Insight Most Important Topics

 

Respondents identified “Planning & Scheduling Optimization” as the task that would deliver the most value to respondent’s organizations, at 28%. We seem to be sensing a bit of a trend here, in line with what has become a long-held priority among maintenance improvements. There’s a reason that Doc Palmer wrote an entire book about it, and that WorkAlign Scheduler was VIZIYA’s first product and remains our flagship solution.

Scheduling and planning are very complex topics (as we mentioned, there’s a whole book about it), but you can check out “10 Must Have Maintenance Scheduling Capabilities” for a quick visual primer.

Scheduling and planning of maintenance activities helps with many of the other top-ranked items in the chart above when they’re done properly. Thorough planning and scheduling will invariably lead to greater Equipment Reliability (18%) and Capacity Loading (13%). You can also crunch some numbers and show it will usually Cut Maintenance Costs (8%). The only thing it won’t help with is Analytics/Reporting (13%). For that, we recommend VIZIYA’s WorkAlign Analytics. Its hundreds of out-of-the-box reports will help you pull back the curtain on your own maintenance processes and dig deeper into the numbers than you would have believed possible. Who knows? You might even be able to compile enough statistics to prove to senior leadership that asset management is indeed important.

Challenges in Implementation

Finally, the survey asked which improvement would be the most difficult to implement. Again, Planning & Scheduling Optimization took the top spot, with 23%. The results from the other questions show that the value of this activity is well understood, but nevertheless a significant number of our survey participants believe there are large challenges to putting it in place.

Results from the 2019 study suggest there is an overwhelming lack of understanding of the value of established asset management standards and specialist software within even the most asset-intensive industries. The people who work directly in maintenance usually acknowledge the positive impact of these factors, but they may have trouble convincing senior management to see things the same way.

As such, asset management teams are forced to use inadequate tools to perform their work and lack clarity on areas of authority and acceptable standards of work. For those with systems, data quality issues, ongoing training, and utilization within the business are issues affecting asset management performance. A lack of adequate asset management reporting capability may be contributing even further to poor value and understanding of what healthy asset management systems, processes and operations can contribute to broader business objectives.

If you have requirements for a business case into the cost savings that can be directly attributed to improved asset health, planning and scheduling, and more maintenance activities, we urge you to check out “Selling Maintenance Software to your Executives” and “5 Steps to Getting Executive Buy-In on Maintenance Software.”

No matter your particular pain points, VIZIYA can help you with every stage of the maintenance workflow. We can also help you to build a business case that highlights the value of ensuring best practices are used in your organization. Contact us today to find out how.