Heilet Scholtz, Executive at EOH Infor Services, Infor’s Master Partner in Africa.

A recent poll has revealed that the South African facilities management, manufacturing and fleet management industries face four distinct pain points; work orders, asset registers, downtime and contractors. The challenges within these areas include value and visibility. Enter technology, which (if used correctly) can offer reliable solutions, turning pain points into profit areas.

The poll was conducted during an EAM Xelerate roadshow, held in the last quarter of 2017. The software strives to empower businesses to streamline for faster benefits, and is powered by EOH Infor ServicesInfor’s Master Partner in Africa. The results reveal that, across facilities management, manufacturing/production and fleet management, similar pain points are experienced. With spreadsheets and manual management, productivity and accuracy continue to be stifled.

According to the results, work orders present a marked challenge. “In facilities management, for example, work orders with inaccurate information that are poorly scheduled or not synchronised with material and labour requirements cause chaos,” states Heilet Scholtz, Executive at EOH Infor Services, Infor’s Master Partner in Africa. “Incorrect costing on work orders wastes valuable time in the finance department, resulting in incorrect invoices going out to customers. It is imperative that work orders direct the technician or service agent to all the information needed to complete the job quickly and effectively.”

Scholtz confirms that the solution can be found in Infor’s Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) schedules. This software assigns all work orders to the right technician for the right job, based on geographical location, skills, and available inventory. It reserves the spare parts, tools and other materials needed for the job, providing better maintenance inventory planning and control. Technician are guided by defined workflows, customer information, checklists, bills of materials, diagrams and step-by-step instructions, to ensure the work is completed efficiently and to standard. Once the work is complete, the mobile capability enables the technician to update the work order and record costs in real-time.

The second pain point is the asset register. Organisations with no visibility of their own assets and capital investments are on a path to self-destruction. Without an accurate, up-to-date asset register, asset-related decisions are made without the entire cost picture.

Through effective EAM solutions, an asset register hierarchy tracks where assets are located and what they cost. “A ‘family tree’ connects equipment, systems, and locations. It includes photos of those assets and related documents such as original purchase date, instruction manuals, drawings and diagrams, technical specifications, service contracts, spare parts and warranties,” adds Scholtz. “With a complete picture of the cost to maintain each asset (labour, materials, energy consumption, and depreciation) accurate budget calculations and capital planning can be done.”

Equipment failure and machine downtime are detrimental for any business, but especially catastrophic for manufacturers. “A plant or line not running is not generating value and revenue for the manufacturer,” laments Scholtz. “Unexpected downtime ripples through the entire production cycle, causing delays to order fulfilment, delivery and customer satisfaction.” According to Mining Global, each hydraulic power and belt drive failure can result in up to $180 000 in lost production. Yet many organisations lack the insight and visibility they need to refine their operations in a cost effective and proactive way.

The key to solving this pain point is to determine the optimised mix of failure-based maintenance (run-to-fail), use-based maintenance, preventive maintenance, and condition-based maintenance. “At CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, Infor EAM is used for corrective maintenance on research laboratory equipment. This has increased the speed and efficiency of scheduled maintenance, ensuring the Large Hadron Collider has an availability equipment uptime of 98 to 99%. Maintenance processing time has been reduced by 93%, and maintenance personnel efficiency has improved by 15%.”

For organisations managing a wide variety of facilities, buildings and properties over a broad geographical area; partnering with contractors is the key to maintaining service levels and keeping customers satisfied. Managing those contractor relationships includes effective communication, providing accurate information and instructions, receiving feedback, and applying the correct rates.

A reliable “Contractor Portal” is essential for EAM to provide a trustworthy link to the facilities maintenance manager and the contractors. “As service requests are entered, the work should be scheduled and, through the Contractor Portal, work activities assigned to the right contractor,” says Scholtz. “Infor EAM can guide the contractor with defined workflows, customer information, checklists, bills of materials, diagrams and step-by-step instructions, to ensure the work is completed efficiently and to required standards.”

It is essential that manufacturers keep their assets performing to improve uptime and minimise business risk. Effective work order and contractor management are the foundations for profitable facilities management. While an accurate understanding of an asset’s performance over its lifespan informs better asset buying decisions, a detailed, accurate asset register is vital for reducing overall total cost of asset ownership. “With the right EAM solution, these pain points are dissolved, solutions provided, and benefits seen,” concludes Scholtz.