How smart maintenance helps industrial manufacturers remain competitive

The industrial manufacturing industry is experiencing huge supply chain problems that started with the Corona COVID-19 crisis. Mainly due to shifts in demand, labor shortages, digital skills gap and structural factors. How can companies remain competitive with smarter maintenance and processes.

Economists are afraid that the crisis is still yet to come, and our global supply chain will take long to recover. From chip shortages to record-high prices on industrial and consumer goods, many industrial manufacturers have been forced to reinvent their businesses to remain competitive. 

 The pandemic has hit the global economy hard, but time doesn’t heal all economic problems. We can better focus on strategies to turn these challenges into opportunities. In times of economic turbulence, industrial companies need to innovate their industrial operations focusing on increasing efficiencies, resource planning, product innovation, personnel training, and data analytics. 

In this blog, we would like to take a quick dive into how to optimize elements of workforce productivity to help maximize the effectiveness of industrial and people’s resources and processes. Focusing on 

iot solutions for smart maintenance

The need for urgent workforce optimization

Service and maintenance workforce problems continue to be one of the top priorities in industrial operations, nowadays even more given the tech talent shortage. Skilled workers who have gained all the technical know-how are retiring and taking years of knowledge with them. According to a 2021 report from Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, the skills gap could result in 2.1 million positions going unfilled by 2030.

Plant operators are facing challenges in easily and quickly accessing information needed to make sound decisions. To combat these challenges, industrial manufacturers must take advantage of digital technologies such as IIoT solutions, AI and machine learning, and predictive maintenance among other technologies to maximize the effectiveness, safety and efficiency of their workforce. Optimizing digital workforce capabilities enables industrial manufacturers in creating flexible and scalable facilities for the future. 

Digitalizing workforce operations can enable companies to improve training and performance by improving the visibility of data and analytics. Having real-time insights on workforce performance and the health of assets helps managers better understand what’s happening, where things go wrong and how to come up with strategies to fix the identified problems.

Training your data models

The need for smart maintenance

Service and maintenance engineers are essential in keeping industrial operations running smoothly. In this changing industrial environment, businesses need to empower all types of workers to optimize maintenance and repairs and improve ramp-up time. Digitalizing industrial operations through IIoT solutions empower employees with crucial data analytics and tools to deliver more productive operations. 

When it comes to asset management and the maintenance plan in an organization, there are several strategies to choose from. However, digitalization is forcing companies to reinvent their maintenance strategies and embrace predictive maintenance instead of focusing on reactive or preventive maintenance. Learn more about the different maintenance strategies.

With the development of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence there is a new world opening in keeping machines working to the best of their ability: predictive maintenance, sometimes also referred to as condition-based maintenance. Installed sensors are fully customized to a company’s assets and will constantly monitor the status and wear and tear of the industrial machines. Data collection plays a crucial role here. Real-time data is constantly gathered so a specially written algorithm (predictive models) can predict when the machine needs a repair. Learn more about getting started with predictive maintenance.

Augmented reality (AR) is another useful technology that is helping improve maintenance efficiencies. With AR-based programs, employees can learn by doing in a digital environment to help improve maintenance procedures. Optimizing your maintenance strategy leads to faster problem solving, reduced machine downtime, increased worker safety and lower maintenance costs.

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A practical example of smart maintenance

Smart door sensor system maximizes the operating hours of automatic doors through smarter maintenance

Automatic doors are critical assets in buildings for a smooth flow of people and goods. However, these types of building assets are extremely sensitive to failure due to daily usage.

When an automated door in a public building fails, it will cause a lot of problems for the people who use the door on a day-to-day basis. To solve this challenge, Sensorfy engineered a smart door sensor system for one of its clients to maximize the operating hours of its automatic doors with predictive maintenance. Through real-time monitoring of the performance of their automatic doors, their client was able to: 

  • Detect failures before they occur hence reducing unplanned downtime 
  • Improve maintenance planning at their customers 
  • Optimize the maintenance routes to deliver maintenance to their customers 
  • Serve more customers with the same amount of technical service mechanics 

Check out the case-study to learn more about the smart door sensor system Sensorfy developed for their client.

smart maintenance_Sensorfy_automatic doors

The need for employee training

Digitizing industrial operations through IIoT solutions can empower industrial manufacturers to achieve greater productivity, lower costs, increase flexibility, and improve safety and compliance by providing adequate training. However, implementing new technologies requires employees to gain new capabilities and skills. Many new employees are still relying on paper manuals for onboarding and performing their jobs. This can lead to errors and slow onboarding processes. Digital workforce software empowers employees with more visual material to train service and maintenance engineers through proper assembly and maintenance.  Learn how IoT and predictive maintenance helps battle the tech talent 

Digital technologies such as IIoT solutions and predictive analytics can also help managers and supervisors to work more efficiently. Many industrial companies are still bound to manually pull reports, log into different systems and spend considerable amounts of hours on such manual analysis and reporting; time that can be better spent on improving operational processes, efficiency and productivity. Digitalization operations through IIoT solutions and software give the workforce the flexibility to quickly monitor all industrial processes and machines in real-time. They can easily access all necessary information anywhere they need it. They can monitor production or an asset’s performance without having to wait for manually pulled reports. With real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance, employees can optimize asset maintenance processes and improve productivity through data-driven decisions to reduce operational costs.

Besides training and maintenance, workforce digitalization and tools can also stimulate and empower employees which results in talent retention. Especially service and maintenance engineers who have the right tools and mindset to perform their job more accurately and efficiently. 

Embracing such new technologies and digital transformation

Embracing such new technologies and digital transformation – though worth it – can seem overwhelming at first for industrial companies. Businesses are still struggling to implement new technologies and processes since it requires a lot of changes in an organization. However, organizations that have given digital transformation a priority are now starting to see the fruits of the investments needed, and are staying ahead of the curve by optimizing their industrial operations. This is made possible by leveraging data and analytics to bring better insights throughout the operations lifecycle and having the right technology and expertise to allow for the safe and secure sharing of data across an organization.

data processing process

Support in embracing digital transformation to optimize your industrial operations and maintenance?

At Sensorfy we make your industrial assets and machines smart through custom-designed IoT sensor systems. With your goals in mind, we provide industrial IoT services to design custom IoT solutions that enable predictive maintenance. We combine advanced IIoT sensor systems and advanced analytics to enable real-time asset health monitoring. 

Some of the big players in the industrial industry are already taking advantage of Sensorfy’s technology to improve their maintenance processes and become more cost-efficient. With over a decade of experience, we know how to support OEMs to become successful in this digital era.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts, they are happy to help you in defining the business case for digital transformation. 

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