Identification of Critical Manufacturing Assets | Supply Chain and Demand Manager

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Businesses around the world are increased spending on supply chain innovation to effectively navigate the disruptions of the pandemic era, from shortages to the great quitting. For the manufacturing industry, clogged supply chains limit the flow of critical spare parts and equipment to manufacturing facilities. With longer timelines and limited resources associated with record consumer demandmanufacturers must manage the pressure to release more product while getting fewer resources by optimizing their maintenance and reliability programs to maintain the highest level of productivity possible.

But many companies today still tend to respond to supply chain disruption by panic buying, storage inventory they may or may not need to keep production lines running in the future. While it can bring some peace of mind to anxious manufacturing professionals, this approach also results in inventories full of unnecessary inventory, increased overhead, and even higher tax prices due to retention. tangible assets.

Instead, manufacturers must assess and identify the relative criticality of their assets and take all possible measures to protect and maintain the most essential equipment. With a thorough understanding of asset criticality, they can minimize wasted capital in two main ways: by not over-buying spare parts and by having the right parts on hand to avoid critical failures and downtime. prolonged stoppages.

Asset criticality assessments to optimize inventory

The goal of asset criticality assessment is to uncover data to inform strategic decisions for maintenance and manufacturing inventory. With a criticality score linked to each machine, manufacturers have a better idea of ​​which machines they should invest in for continuous monitoring.

By monitoring the machine health of critical assets in real time, manufacturers will know in advance when machines are likely to fail and what parts they will need to avoid downtime. Equally important, they will identify non-critical assets for which they do not need spare parts inventory, which helps reduce overhead.

When determining machine criticality, manufacturers should look for assets that would shut down the production line in the event of a failure. These are the critical pieces of equipment and where organizations will want to spend strategy and money. Equipment that is not vital to the operation of the line or for which manufacturers could find easy workarounds to continue operations is not critical.

Adapt maintenance and manufacturing reliability practices

After distinguishing between critical and non-critical equipment, manufacturers must adjust maintenance and reliability practices to ensure sustained productivity. Start with three key steps:

1. Always monitor the right equipment.

When machine health sensors continuously collect and report the machines to which they are assigned, service technicians know which machines need attention and when long before the machine fails. But performing maintenance on non-critical assets will be an inefficient use of more valuable manpower spent on critical equipment.

Additionally, constantly collecting data can be an expensive investment with little return on investment if the sensors are not strategically placed. Once you’ve determined your most critical assets, adjust your monitoring approach accordingly to allocate expensive sensors only to production-critical equipment.

2. Stop stockpiling unnecessary inventory.

Many organizations currently buy too many parts to avoid machine downtime due to parts shortages, but this is a costly and inefficient strategy. On the one hand, it exacerbates shortages when companies buy back stockpiles of resources, which can potentially inflate the prices of future purchases.

Another direct problem is that storing extra unused parts just adds to a list of taxable assets, which can become a significant expense for manufacturing companies. Instead of buying parts in a panic, use data from continuous critical asset monitoring to predict when machines will need repairs with a lot of time and prioritize your parts inventory based on criticality scores.

3. Avoid extreme preventative maintenance.

Technicians tend to perform maintenance on set schedules. For example, if the failure rate of certain parts shows that bearings typically fail after six months, technicians replace those parts in advance to avoid failure – every five months, in this example.

This can be a more targeted method than monitoring all equipment at all times or stocking spare parts for every asset, but it can still be wasteful if organizations invest a lot of capital in unnecessary repairs. Instead, insights from continuous monitoring of critical equipment can help companies optimize inventory and labor by determining not only when machines are likely to fail, but also what crews maintenance must do to avoid it.

With proper asset criticality assessment and strategic ongoing monitoring, manufacturers can predict needed repairs, enabling longer lead times to secure parts and make data-driven decisions for inventory and power allocation. workforce. It’s the smart way to keep operations resilient, keep production lines running, and contain long-term costs, regardless of unforeseen disruptions.

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