Understanding 2023 Tech Trends:
Manufacturers have invested massively in technology and automation since the start of the pandemic in order to confront the challenges that accompanied this global phenomenon. Now, at the beginning of 2023, high inflation and market volatility have hit businesses hard, and companies are prioritizing digital tech and process automation investments, with some companies cutting their initial investments.
Forbes highlights that many IT leadership teams have made tough decisions about which technology investments to keep. However, the post also references a Gartner report that states that 45% of CEOs and CFOs would put performance and efficiency improvement investments among the last on their list of technologies to cut. Furthermore, 91% of IT leaders claim that their organizations plan to increase investments in process automation and process orchestration.
The focus on retaining process automation and orchestration investments indicates that manufacturing leaders want to reduce process downtime and make productivity gains, even in lean periods and with unstable markets. This indicates just how important asset and capacity utilization has become, especially in uncertain market conditions.
Downtime Kills Productivity:
Unplanned downtime is defined as any kind of equipment failure or machine malfunction that disrupts the normal flow of production and disrupts planned production activities. While planned downtime is necessary to maintain process equipment and keep machines in good enough shape to avoid breakdowns during normal operations, unplanned failures that lead to downtime are a serious threat to productivity and cause massive tangible and intangible losses.
Manufacturing.net highlights in a post that downtime is the number one reason for production loss and causes factories to lose 20% of their productivity. Furthermore, the results from a survey taken in 2018 revealed that the cost of downtime for major manufacturers across the globe can be as high as $250,000 per hour with an average cost of $2 million per downtime event. Even though PM (preventive maintenance) is a virtual norm across the industry, 82% of companies experienced unplanned downtime, and 70% lacked awareness that their machines needed maintenance and/or upgrades.
When you look at the figures from 2018 and factor in inflation and market uncertainty, the need to eliminate downtime becomes extremely clear, since the cost per unplanned downtime would have only gone up by 15 to 20 percentage points. The only way that manufacturers can avoid unplanned downtime is through the application of digital tools that give frontline workers and process owners better visibility of asset performance and the ability to collaborate cross-functionally during failures.
Adopting digital tools that create a connected frontline and a Workforce Intelligence Center by unleashing the power of AR, AI, and Industry 4.0 should be the top priority for manufacturers given market conditions.
Eliminate Downtime and Increase Productivity With Webalo:
The Webalo Platform delivers exceptional process optimization results when applied across multiple use cases to create a Workforce Intelligence Center. Webalo can do wonders for reducing unplanned downtime. Let's take a look at how.
The Webalo Platform allows workers to create and use apps on their mobile devices and also allows for integration with AR tools and wearables. This means that instead of collecting and analyzing data at workstations, personnel can monitor data on the go and, based on their experience and alerts from the platform, predict failures and eliminate unplanned downtime.
Furthermore, the platform collects all process information and allows workers to collaborate with maintenance personnel both on the ground and remotely,allowing for quicker status-quo analysis and faster reaction to imminent or occurred failures. All actions taken are recorded by the platform’s AI module and can be reviewed and recalled to prevent future events and create new SOPs and WIs.
Finally, Webalo is the only tool that provides end-to-end preventative and incident-based maintenance orchestration. Everything from maintenance work orders to equipment inspection to mobile SAP PM to work order notifications resides on the platform, as indicated in Figure 2. When unplanned downtime is reduced productivity gains can be made, simply as a result of increased asset utilization and maximum-capacity production runs. Webalo also orchestrates the production process, which means that when downtime is reduced planning can be made more effective. And platform-driven execution, yield, and throughput increases all translate to higher productivity, which in turn improves profitability and organizational resilience in a period of high inflation and market uncertainty.
It is obvious that manufacturers need to reevaluate their digital tech investments, and the best way to do this is by examining the gains an investment brings over a period of time and the actual value it adds. As a downtime-reduction and workforce-management platform, Webalo delivers value by implementing the primary building blocks of predictive maintenance. So think and choose carefully when investing in a frontline workforce optimization platform, and consider how a given platform can cut downtime and boost productivity!