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Maintenance in the Utilities Industry

Posted under Blog by Kristin Smith, Content Marketing Specialist

Amidst volatile fuel costs, fluctuating currency, and environmental pressures, the utility industry is driven to optimize their asset performance while delivering the highest level of service to customers.

Utility companies are unconditionally expected to provide quality service at an affordable cost, while regulators demand total accountability through specific reporting and management data. Enhancing the work management process with data specific reporting is key to improving services and driving profit.

Utility organizations are all unique in how they manage their assets and their reporting requirements. Tight margins, industry regulations, and large operating expenses can result in increased pressure on maintenance departments to:

  • Improve efficiency and field excellence
  • Boost operational intelligence and decision-making
  • Achieve high compliance standards and be prepared for regulatory audits and internal reviews

Like most asset-intensive industries, the utility industry is extremely reliant upon the uptime of revenue producing assets.  By minimizing the downtime of assets, it allows companies to consistently produce output, which results in increased revenues.  This is where maintenance plays a key role.

By maximizing asset performance through effective processes and tools, utility organizations can control costs and meet distinct maintenance requirements.

When focusing on budget performance issues, management seldom looks to maintenance as an area with the potential for significant gains. It’s often a “necessary evil”. However, in the utility industry, maintenance management ineffectiveness generates a significant financial loss for the company.

Utility maintenance EAM practices can mean the difference between profitability and loss. Continuous production means equipment is constantly in use, so scheduled maintenance must be brief and effective.

How to improve maintenance in the Utility Industry – Utility Industry Requirements

The utility industry has unique maintenance needs related to field locations, power generation, distribution and utility-based operations, and multiple industry regulations. These needs pose an interesting challenge for maintenance teams striving for more optimized practices.

  1. Identification of changes in asset health – The identification of changes to asset health, or an impending failure is critical for profit margins in the utility industry. In order to better control their maintenance costs, maintenance teams need the ability to better access and monitor machine data. When maintenance teams can easily identify an asset issue, they can react immediately and swiftly resolve the problem, preventing unexpected and costly breakdowns.
  2. Utility organizations need to effectively manage and schedule dynamic crews while tracking labor skills and certifications – Power generation, distribution, and utility-based operations are crew-based and need the ability to effectively manage and schedule dynamic crews while tracking labor skills and certifications. Schedulers need the ability to group resources the way they work best in their specific environment – by craft, team or a combination.
  3. Utilities need to improve mean time between failures (MTBF), reliability, overall productivity, and ultimately reduce the total cost of ownership – Power is extremely important to the world. This means pressure to keep assets running at continuous top condition is a high priority for the utility industry. Utility organizations need to ensure maintenance is completed in a manner that prevents breakdowns and extends overall asset lifecycle.
  4. Field locations – The majority of utility assets are in field locations. These remote work locations pose unique challenges for utility companies. Maintenance teams need connected production environments to break down geographical barriers and securely provide access to data. Maintenance optimization can only occur when teams have access to actionable information.
  5. Strict regulatory compliance requirements – The utility industry faces multiple industry regulations, and an ongoing need to demonstrate regulatory compliance. The impact of a failure on people, company reputation and revenue can be extreme. Reducing risks and maintaining regulatory standards needs to be at the center of all maintenance related projects. Asset condition monitoring, as well as effective production control and predictive shutdown systems, are fundamental to safe and secure utility operations.
  6. Stringent Forecasting – Utility organizations need the ability to easily forecast their short-term planning, long-term planning and outage periods. Maintenance teams need the ability to easily plan, and schedule work orders to meet these forecasting requirements.
  7. Identify and manage production critical work orders easily – When a critical production asset requires maintenance, it is necessary for the maintenance to be completed as quickly as possible. Additionally, this work cannot take place during critical production periods, unless absolutely necessary. Maintenance teams need the ability to easily plan, schedule, assign, execute, and complete work orders.

Looking Ahead…

It’s no easy feat creating efficiencies within a utility organization. It’s even harder to do so when regulatory compliance requirements are strict, work locations are remote, assets are critical for production, and pressures to avoid downtime are high.

VIZIYA’s WorkAlign® Suite was built on the premise of helping maintenance organizations to create efficiencies by connecting and optimizing every step of the maintenance workflow. VIZIYA has worked collaboratively with the largest and most sophisticated maintenance organizations to enhance their asset performance.

To learn how VIZIYA’S WorkAlign® Suite can help your organization combat the unique requirements of the Utility IndustryRequest a Demo with one of our experts now


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