Wringing the Rag Out
ú Make informed equipment decisions. Deciding whether to buy, rent, or sell is a lot easier when taking the entire equipment life cycle into account. By calculating life-cycle costs, an operator can make an informed decision about each and every machine.
Step 2. Incorporate technologies into the plan to leverage the value of sophisticated equipment.
ú Create an equipment management plan using software and related technology tools. To manage today’s sophisticated equipment, an operator needs more than anecdotal reports from the field and sticky note reminders that a machine needs an oil change. Technology will help operators leverage the full value of their equipment.
Depending on the size of an organization, the appropriate technology solution may be as simple as installing an equipment management software application on an existing system. Or, the solution may require a robust rollout of onboard equipment technology linking to an online system.
An online, Web-based condition monitoring and backlog management information system may offer readily available, around-the-clock information from the convenience of the operation or any location with an Internet connection. Once connected to the Internet, an operator can download utilization information, operator events, fault codes, SOS results, active and passive backlogged events, and other real-time information to make better decisions and manage costs. It’s also becoming more common to use laptops and “pocket technicians” out in the field to diagnose equipment and locate parts via the Internet.
ú Develop integration with existing processes and systems and Smart Products. If operators haven’t already heard of Smart Products, chances are they soon will. Integrated with other systems, Smart Products “think, act, and communicate” smart. Smart Products combine the best in satellite technology, Web security, e-commerce, Global Positioning Satellite (GPS), and mapping technology to provide an operator with a common view of the entire fleet.
Smart Products possess information-sensing capabilities, on-board diagnostics, and controllers and networking communication capabilities. They also provide data to managers as an information display based on individual preferences and unique needs. The most robust systems automatically prioritize alerts, allowing an operator to manage by exception and focus its resources on critical areas.
ú Tap the expertise of equipment dealers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). An equipment dealer should be able to make recommendations on the technology and application best aligned with an operator’s business. Many OEMs also provide staff training programs on the effective use of technology. Some offer options for operators to order parts or obtain information online.
Step 3. Foster an equipment management mentality throughout the organization.
ú Embrace this as a change-management initiative. For some in an organization, the implementation of an effective equipment management program may initially create some uneasiness. That’s understandable, since they may have been working in a reactive, “put out the fires” mode for years. For others that possess less technical savvy, they may doubt their ability to learn a new system.