Shaking The Tree: Disruption Hits Capital Equipment Assets (And Why That’s A Good Thing)

Oct 11, 2017 • FeaturesCapital EquipmentDave HartIoTservicemaxSoftware and Apps

Disruption has become a phrase so widely used it is in danger of becoming hackneyed, but in terms of asset maintenance, the IoT is bringing true, genuine disruption writes Servicemax’s Dave Hart...

If you had to pick a moniker for this decade, then “disruption” is a pretty good one. It’s now so pervasive that it’s almost become a cliché of itself.

Everywhere you look, from banking to music to taxis and hotels, traditional business models and markets are being disrupted. All driven by technology being applied in innovative new ways. Now it seems it’s the turn of capital equipment assets and the machines themselves to be disrupted – or at least the way we manage, use and maintain them.

Industrial downtime is no joke. Unplanned downtime in just about every industry has a significant impact. The Aberdeen Group last year reported that the cost of downtime across industries went up to $260,000 per hour on average between 2014 and 2016. That’s a huge jump with a considerable hit on any business.

Time typically isn’t kind to equipment and machines.

Most companies don’t know how best to optimise uptime availability in different conditions, such as managing volatility, meeting peak demand or managing performance in extreme conditions

As assets get older, parts need maintaining or replacing and more can go wrong. And when it does go wrong, service technicians are typically sent out on site with very little insight other than something isn’t working. On top of that, most companies don’t know how best to optimise uptime availability in different conditions, such as managing volatility, meeting peak demand or managing performance in extreme conditions. It’s an area of business that’s historically been very inefficient, and had very little intelligence or investment applied to it.


As a tech-enabled society, we are better than that. And it was only a matter of time before the wave of technology innovation and disruption made its way to changing how we optimise equipment and capital assets, and predict their maintenance and service requirements. By harvesting and applying intelligence that previously would have been impossible to obtain, companies are seeing a major step change this area.

And it’s more than just a ‘nice to have’ scenario. For most industries, margins are too thin and competition is too fierce to simply guesstimate how much capacity a piece of equipment can cope with, and it seems positively archaic to run a reactive break/fix service mentality in today’s connected age.

The reality is that the Industrial Internet offers an opportunity to intelligently manage resources and manage performance. Machines with sensors feeding back performance data provide a raw pipe of potential intelligence that needs to be woven into the business. With the right tools, organisations can use this data to develop strategies that alleviate risk.

Asset-intensive companies always strive to reduce operating risk while improving efficiency, at the same as coping with regulatory demands and workforce development.

These are key challenges that are difficult to achieve without an intelligent asset performance management (APM) approach. The more forward thinking companies also have field service management (FSM) strategies in place in an effort to streamline and automate their service departments. They are wise investments as both APM and FSM each deliver significant value in their own right.

But here’s the real disruptor: By combing these two disciplines, businesses have, for the first time, a complete suite of intelligence at their fingertips to understand potential equipment issues, and pre-empt them or act upon them quickly and efficiently with the correct tools and parts, should machinery need fixing for example.

No second guessing, no wasted investigative journeys and much lower risk of downtime.

Now take this one step further and think of a digital twin that mirrors of all your physical assets globally, giving you a dashboard that reports back to you on the status, health and performance of how each piece of equipment in each location is working. One that proactively alerts you, through intelligent APM, when action is required, and automatically takes preventative measures, through FSM, when an issue arises. Suddenly downtime looks much less of a threat.

Service businesses represent around seventy per cent of the world’s economy, yet to date, only about a third of the world’s large service businesses use just FSM solutions. They are missing a trick.

That’s because predictive analytics and work management through APM enable businesses to plan, schedule, execute and feedback on problems and solutions. Which equipment is failing or about to fail and why? What parts are needed to fix the problem, where and by whom? And FSM then automatically triggers scheduling, ordering and dispatch of a service technician if required, to ensure everything is up and running and downtime is minimised.


It’s interesting that service businesses represent around seventy per cent of the world’s economy, yet to date, only about a third of the world’s large service businesses use just FSM solutions. They are missing a trick.

A combined APM and FSM approach optimises the equipment strategy for a company, analyses the risk and cost of how often equipment should be inspected, saving money, increasing productivity and reducing risk of downtime.

So what does all this mean in real terms? By proactively optimising and managing equipment assets, business can expect, on average, a 10 percent inventory cost reduction, 40 percent reduction in reactive maintenance, 25 percent gain in employee productivity and a 25 percent reduction in total cost of ownership.

Likewise, field service management can generate an average 13 percent boost in revenues and an 11 percent increase in customer satisfaction.

Why wouldn’t you want to join the dots on metrics like those? Throw in the potential savings from reduced transport and failure rates, less downtime, plus the sustainability benefits, and you have a recipe for future growth.

Now that is compelling, not to mention disruptive.



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