Production optimization: the tools that the maintenance manager must know

In this article, we introduce a main team for manufacturing companies, production optimization: the tools that the maintenance manager must know.

In the manufacturing sector, the role of maintenance manager within the factories is to ensure that the equipment and machinery used works with maximum efficiency and production capacity. This is important in order to optimize the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) indicator as much as possible). This expresses the overall efficiency of an industrial plant.

To achieve this goal, the professional in question must deal with the management of interventions such as preventive maintenance. Moreover he must administer the failures of mechanical, electrical or robotic equipment, but also manage the personnel and the reports relating to the budgets and costs of the various activities.

In more detail, the tasks of the maintenance manager can range from reactive, preventive, proactive or predictive maintenance initiatives, to the planning of interventions. Followed by supervision and verification activities, to check that the various operations have been carried out correctly and completed according to the established deadlines.

Furthermore, the maintenance manager, to increase the operational efficiency of the plant, must improve the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) of equipment and reduce their downtime (downtime). He must manage and implement improvement plans and use metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to ensure that in the production environment the EHS (Environment, Health and Safety) requirements are respected.

Among the tasks of the maintenance manager there is also the ability to administer the teams and train them on technical best practices, establishing standard policies and procedures, continuously improving the manufacturing environment, highlighting the deficiencies and recommending the necessary changes in terms of training, methodologies and work processes.

Two fundamental tools: the CMMS and EAM tools

The activities described show how numerous and complex the tasks that the maintenance manager must comply with. They also how strategic, especially in the era of digital transformation, is the use of automation tools that can rationalize and speed up the management of their work. In this perspective, the fundamental tools that the maintenance manager must learn to know and master are at least two. The first one is the CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System) tool, a software that can be implemented on-premise within the company headquarters, or in “cloud-based” mode, to become usable as a service provided by an external provider.

CMMS: the tool for maintenance activities

The CMMS software can help the maintenance manager to keep track of the status of maintenance activities, machinery repairs, but also to manage the warehouse inventory for spare parts; identify where the device to be repaired or replaced is located and indicate the correct procedure for doing so. The CMMS proves to be a valuable decision support system when, for example, it is necessary to decide whether it is cheaper to replace an entire machine, or to replace only the components necessary to put it back into normal operation. In addition, the maintenance manager can also set rules for automate scheduled maintenance. The CMMS system alerts you when it is time to perform routine maintenance procedures, generating warning messages and service request tickets for technicians who must physically perform the intervention.

EAM: the tool for asset management

The other key tool to adopt is the EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) software, especially when dealing with the management of expensive and complex equipment and machinery. Using an EAM application, the maintenance manager has a remote monitoring system available the operational status of the production infrastructures. He can count on a detailed and precise database, continuously updated, which provides a clear perspective on all industrial assets, on their technical characteristics, on their service history. All together with the documentation on the regulations that regulate compliance requirements. Among the other main functions of the EAM software, in addition to those for the management of the complete asset life cycle (ALM), there are the supply chain management functions, or SCM (Supply Chain Management), which manage the management and supply of materials and spare parts. The EAM software can also be integrated with CMMS systems, which are specifically dedicated to maintenance operations.

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