Digital tools help navigate a changing workplace with better access to information

Oct. 14, 2020
Confidence in planning and faster results.

By Brad Budde, vice president, digital customer experience with Emerson Automation Solutions 

I have been speaking with maintenance managers lately about how plants are adjusting to the new normal— trying to maintain or improve performance while working remotely with reduced staff and leaner budgets. The thing I hear over and over is that work habits are in the midst of a shift. Technology put us on the track, COVID-19 accelerated us down the hill.

While filing cabinets were once the status quo for managing information, now documentation is handled at home via laptops and cloud storage. Or where maintenance teams used to head to the field in groups of two or three, now they go alone with a technology connection—calling others for support when needed. Maintenance managers are turning to digital to ensure their teams have access to the right information—whenever they need it.

One of the new ways to enable a successful shift is a tighter connection between maintenance planners and technicians. If a well-informed planner can prepare an outstanding and complete work packet, technicians can make a single trip to the field to fix a problem. This results in improved safety and efficiency and drives improved schedule compliance.

Robust digital tools act as a repository of everything the plant receives from a supplier, eliminating the need to dig through old files or old catalogs. Key maintenance inputs include replacement or spare-part identification, wiring and installation diagrams, service-history information, and access to the manufacturer’s experts.

Improved schedule compliance

With access to digital-asset information, a planner can click on the device tag to view serial number, documentation and spare parts. Once they have identified the required part, reordering is as simple as putting the item in a cart and placing the order. They can manage lead-time, accommodate for it in the schedule, and have confidence in the accuracy of the part. By eliminating the need to access paper files or supplementing what they find in their CMMS, maintenance planners can quickly find the information they need both in the office or working remotely.

Confidence in planning and faster results

Once a part arrives, the planner can easily produce a high-quality work packet. By scanning the QR code on the device or checking the serial number, they can access wiring and installation diagrams to prepare instructions and tools so a technician can complete the work order the first time. Online records are automatically updated as parts are pulled and used. Planners also have real-time lead-time information, helping them identify which spares should be kept in inventory to shorten maintenance windows.

Record keeping is not only faster, but also accessible from anywhere, making it easy to expedite work and manage inventory regardless of proximity to the plant.

Access to critical information, regardless of physical location, is key to developing and supporting successful maintenance planners and technicians. Let’s give them the right tools and embrace the changing workplace.

For more information: www.Emerson.com/MyEmerson