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The Future of Maintenance is Now Part 2: How Automation, IIoT and Auto Scheduling is Driving Asset Management.

Posted under Blog by Nick Leonard, Growth Marketer

Recently, automation has been the focus of innovation and at the forefront of conversations. Very quickly, our society has become obsessed with automation. We are constantly searching for ways to make things more efficient and easier to use. We pull automated technologies into everything from paying our bills to making coffee to controlling the temperature of our homes.

New advances in technology have increased and diversified conversations surrounding automation by making previously inconceivable notions like autonomous cars and self-landing planes, a reality. As a result, opportunities for automation have expanded into multiple industries, opening up a magnitude of discussions on the impact of this change.

We’ve been here before…

This is not the first time that technology has disrupted various industries and workforces. The industrial revolution was a major transition from hand production methods to the rise of the factory system and machinery processes. Similarly, in the early 20th century, Henry Ford modernized the assembly line, again changing the way work was completed and making the system more efficient. The Industrial Revolution and modernized assembly lines alike made factories and manufacturing more productive and faster, as well as drastically changed the way work would be completed for decades to come.

With more advanced technologies, automation has started to become an expectation, rather than a specialty feature.

Automation for Maintenance

In our last article, The Future of Maintenance is Now: How Machine Learning is advancing the industry, we discussed the concepts behind artificial intelligence and machine learning and their applications for the maintenance industry. Specifically, we focused on how the maintenance industry and the perception of the maintenance industry is changing drastically as a result of machine learning applications. Read the article here

While it can be argued that machine learning is posing the largest impact on the maintenance industry as a whole, it is not the only advancement in software and technology that is shaking up the way maintenance teams operate. The expectation of automation is quickly worming its way into the maintenance world.

Organizations are beginning to expect that routine maintenance tasks will be identified, scheduled, and executed automatically, with the least amount of human intervention possible.

How is Maintenance actually using automation?

For the foreseeable future, maintenance will be a manual job. A team of experts is necessary to ensure maintenance is executed properly. However, the identification and scheduling of maintenance are rapidly becoming an automatic function.

IIoT

When changes arise in a piece of equipment, it is generally an indicator that a failure may occur, and maintenance action needs to be taken to prevent downtime. In the past, the process for identifying asset changes was an entirely manual system. Maintenance technicians would manually inspect assets for changes and determine if maintenance needs to be completed. However, in recent years, asset sensors have been installed to monitor equipment and automatically identify changes. This advancement in automation has decreased the need for manual inspection and intervention.

Auto Scheduling

Maintenance planning and scheduling have gone through a similar transition towards automation. The execution of routine and preventive maintenance, as well as some emergency maintenance, can be pre-planned and automatically scheduled.

Auto Scheduling utilizes rules set up by the organization to determine what happens to a work order. Rules are customized based on the organization’s needs. Some example rules could include:

  1. Limit rules – for example: ‘no more than two trucks can be down for maintenance at once’
  2. Depth-first vs breadth-first rules – across the week vs day by day
  3. Staged Rules – for example, all Emergency work orders will be scheduled first, followed by PMs and finally opportunity work.

Auto-generated schedules save time. They allow schedulers to review the proposed schedule and make adjustments, resulting in efficient, high-quality schedules. Auto Scheduling tools populate a base schedule with routine activities, such as required PMs and critical WOs, allowing the scheduler to focus their time on work orders where human judgment is necessary.

Huge volumes of sensor and work order data are difficult for schedulers to efficiently manage. Automating work order scheduling based on this data is critical for the most effective scheduler, however. Auto Scheduling tools can better utilize data to recommend technicians based on historic work order performance, and more easily confirm scarce availability scheduler impacts, ultimately resulting in a better schedule.

Automation, in the form of both IIoT and Auto Scheduling, is revolutionizing the way maintenance work is identified, scheduled and completed. Technology designed to help automate and optimize the maintenance process, like the VIZIYA WorkAlign® Suite, is pushing maintenance into a new era. For the third time in recent history, organizations are being presented with an innovative route to improve their processes, increase their efficiency and optimize their maintenance practices.

To learn more about how VIZIYA is utilizing helping organizations automate their maintenance processes, Request a Demo now.

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