5 most critical to-dos for future-proofing your industrial operations

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Image credit: Schneider Electric

Each “to-do” on this list will help you acquire the skills and capabilities you need to achieve and maintain operational excellence for years to come.  

Everyone needs to future-proof their industrial operations.  

This ensures they can adapt to disruptions and quickly integrate new technologies when the opportunity arises. But if you seek operational success for the future, then your first step should be building the right foundation in the present. Doing so requires increasing your operational agility, improving asset reliability, and finding ways to drive sustainable growth through efficiency gains.  

1. Improve asset performance 

Maximising uptime. Reducing costs. And delivering high-quality products. Achieving these traits require an optimised management of enterprise assets throughout their lifecycles.  

To improve your asset performance, look to adopt an operations and asset management platform that can help you predict and improve asset reliability. When it comes to improving asset performance, look for an operations and asset management platform with artificial intelligence (AI), robust analytics capabilities, user-friendly data cleansing, model training, fault analysis and diagnostics, and prescriptive actions. Otherwise, you will have a tool that forces you to react to issues only after they’ve happened, as opposed to a solution that gives you the ability to take proactive measures before problems ever occur.  

2. Maximise operational performance 

Operational performance is all about finding efficiencies. It only makes sense that your platform should deliver the capabilities to identify all opportunities where efficiencies can be gained.  

To that end, you need to adopt a platform that simplifies Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) monitoring by allowing you to check KPIs in real-time. Your platform should also make it easy to identify bottlenecks and quality loss, so that you can minimise unplanned downtime and increase overall process performance. These can be accomplished with an operations and asset management platform. Ensure that the platform gives you greater insight into asset-level risk, maintenance costs and asset utilisation. These granular insights enable you to maximise operational performance and set the stage for future-proofing your operations. 

3. Enable digital ways of working 

It’s a safe bet to say that your facilities are capturing more real-time information and storing more data from more sources than ever: HMIs, supervisory and control systems, Historians, MES, Edge devices, IIoT, and others. Not only is this data being captured in different environments and stored in all kinds of formats, but the people who need access to that data are working literally everywhere—from home, the office, and on site.  

Look for a platform that easily unlocks siloed data and makes it universally accessible to people for advanced analytics and insights. Once you and your teams have access to the same information and insights, you will have the ability to do things like identify anomalies in advance, quickly spot bottlenecks in production, detect quality loss, and minimise unplanned downtime.  

4. Address the labour shortage 

Whenever a skilled worker leaves the organisation or retires, any valuable knowledge they have about the inner workings of your daily operations goes with them. 

Look for a platform with an extensive and detailed asset library and a natural language search functionality. This kind of feature houses information that can solve for any knowledge gaps between workforces, providing validated remediations to the known causes behind failures. This will enable incoming workers to solve issues faster, minimise unplanned downtime and increase safety. It also simplifies onboarding and training through the efficient sharing of intimate knowledge regarding your specific equipment and operations. 

5. Keep up with constantly evolving technology 

A key characteristic of being a future-proof organisation is flexibility. Whenever new technology comes along, you have to be able to integrate that technology easily and quickly. And that means doing so without disrupting your operations, inflating costs in the process, or adding a greater burden to your IT department.  

With SaaS, you can scale your technology vertically and horizontally with ease. And that’s because the implementation of industrial sensors, mobile devices, and resource-intensive advanced analytics are no longer restricted to your on-premises or privately managed resources. A flexible subscription approach also means that the latest platform version will always be securely available in the cloud, with no requirement for you to manage updates, patches or hardware. 

To learn more, visit https://www.manmonthly.com.au/features/5-critical-dos-future-proofing-industrial-operations/.

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