The Cultural Impact of IoT on Maintenance Organizations – Addressing the “Aging” Workforce.

IoT and the Aging Workforce

When engaging a customer on current challenges they are facing within maintenance operations, they inevitably begin a discussion of the “aging out” of their current workforce and inability to replace them.  Interestingly, this has been a concern for quite some time.  I liken it to the Y2K hype in the late 90’s with one exception – nearly every company updated their systems to prevent widespread havoc.  Unfortunately, few companies have prepared as well for the current workforce situation.

My esteemed colleague, Terry O’Hanlon, discussed this in an article he wrote back in 2006.  At that time, seasoned veterans were also disappearing from the company ranks, but for somewhat of a different reason – companies were being short-sighted and cutting costs in the form of what then appeared to be expensive labor assets.  Terry went on to discuss how companies were being impacted as talented individuals, in all age groups, began leaving to find work at companies that valued their skills.  He also suggested that within 5 years companies workforce’s would begin to retire.  His comments were supported by a National Association of Manufacturers study that showed 80 percent of manufacturers had a moderate to serious shortage of production workers, machinists, and craft workers. The group predicted that manufacturers will need as many as 10 million new skilled workers by 2020, in part to replace the aging boomers who make up a large part of the 14 million manufacturing jobs today.

Well, here it is 2019 and the problem of the “Aging” workforce is in full swing and current estimates suggest that 2 million of the 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will potentially go unfilled. Whoa.

At the time Terry wrote his article, he spoke of rapidly changing technologies throughout the plant floor and strategies that companies can put in place to manage these challenges around workforce shortages. All of which are still valid today.  My guess is that if IoT solutions were in full swing then, he would have also written of how these solutions could be part of a company’s workforce strategy.  Contrary to the naysayers, who suggest that IoT solutions will remove workers, it is my contention they actually attract the right workers.

Technology has always had an interesting impact on the maintenance workforce – whether it was the complex manufacturing systems, software systems like Maximo, or evolutionary access to mobile devices. IoT solutions, from simply connecting “things” together to advanced analytics and augmented reality, can have an impact far beyond cost savings – it can be leveraged to change the way a maintenance position is viewed by the available labor pool.

My view is that IoT can have a critical cultural impact in three primary ways:

Applications of IoT solutions move maintenance positions out of a pure “blue collar” perception.

This change in perception has been occurring for some time as the complexity of manufacturing plants and facilities has steadily increased.  IoT solutions bring a whole new level of sophistication to managing and maintaining these assets.  It is an interesting combination of hands-on work and pure brainpower.  I like the term “new collar” jobs, coined by IBM’s CEO, Ginni Rometty.  Re-branding maintenance as offering “new collar” makes the job intrinsically more attractive to college recruits who may of looked past engineering as a career choice.

IoT Solutions create a more diverse workforce.

Maintenance has typically been a male-dominated environment.  The changes in how assets are diagnosed and repaired create an opportunity for a more non-traditional workforce.  The increase in the percentage of women entering STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) careers has steadily increased over the years and I see this spilling over into Maintenance.  Anecdotally, I have witnessed this with the significant increase in the WIRAM (Woman in Reliability and Maintenance) membership.

IoT knowledgeable workers add value and subsequently cost more.

Higher paid workers seem counter-intuitive to reducing costs.  However, the value that will be created by these new workers will outstrip the rise in cost associated with the position.  Furthermore, higher salaries inherently attract qualified candidates with greater long term potential to impact operations.

Of course, this impact will not occur overnight, but deploying IoT is a sure way to attract the next wave of maintenance professionals.  And before I forget – be sure to check out Terry’s article – so much is still relevant after all these years. https://www.netaworld.org/sites/default/files/public/neta-journals/NWsp07O%C2%B9Hanlon.pdf 

Freeing Up Maintenance Time with IoT

Everyone wants something! As a Maintenance Support function, where do you find the time for every request? Where do you find time to train? Where do you find time for Predictive Maintenance (PM) activities?  Where do you find time to do Asset Reliability?

In my experience, increasing headcount in this competitive environment, is just not an option!

So where do we find this elusive “time?”

Looking honestly at our maintenance activities, how much of the work we ask our mechanics to perform is truly “value-add”?  Does it make sense to do monthly inspection PMs on equipment that never fails? What about those monthly inspection PMs on equipment still fails?!? When we did an analysis, we discovered we are wasting time doing maintenance activities that are not needed.

How can we determine if the PMs are not needed? Simply stopping the PM program is a good way to lose your job…. If we had the labor available we could do a lot of PM Optimization studies. BUT – if we had that time, would we have this issue to begin with. So, what can we do?

What if our machines could talk to us and we were able to listen?

If our machines could talk to us and we were able to listen, what would they tell us? Could they tell us everything is fine, don’t do this month’s PM – don’t run the risk of a machine breakdown by doing anything today. 

Could we eliminate non value-add inspection PMs and perform only those maintenance activities the machines tell us we need to do?

If we could optimize the actual maintenance work being performed, would we need as much maintenance labor?

What could we do with that available labor?

The traditional World Class Maintenance Labor Rule of 45/45/10 – 45% time on PMs, 45% on Corrective work and 10% on Emergency work – would tell us if our machines talk and we are were listening, there is a potential of reducing the demand for maintenance labor by 45%!

What if we could even just reduce that number by half? What would you be able to accomplish if you had 25% of your maintenance labor available to do other things? 

IoT is about our machines talking to us – but we have to listening and be able to respond. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Nikolaus Despain CPE, CRL is the Director of Maintenance at a large manufacturer. He has over 25 years of experience in Food Manufacturing. During his career he has help various plant positions in Operations, Engineering and Maintenance – including Maintenance Supervisor, Project Engineer, Maintenance Manager, and Plant Manager. He has led several company-wide project teams in evaluating, selecting and implementing various maintenance reliability programs (CMMS, EAM, PM, PdM, TPM, RCA and CBM). In his current role he is responsible for multiple plant Maintenance and Technical Asset Performance. He works with corporate plants in driving Continuous Improvement projects and an integrated Asset Management program. He is also responsible for all Leprino Foods Maintenance, PSM, and RMP activities.

How Often Do You Change Your Oil? – A Look at how IoT has Changed Preventive Maintenance

Everyone knows the saying about getting your oil changed, “Every 3,000 miles…..”

I used to take my car in for an oil change every 3k-5k miles, until a recent interview with Senior Director of Maintenance, Nikolaus Despain, led to a discussion of the evolution of car engine maintenance and how it parallels what maintenance organizations everywhere are experiencing – an opportunity to transform Preventive Maintenance with the power IoT.


Transition from Reactive to Preventive Maintenance

Motors were a significant invention, saving both time and physical labor.  Yet motors weren’t always as reliable as they are today.  When engines were first created, they didn’t initially use oil.  Early motors would lock up frequently until someone realized if you put lubricants on the metal parts, it would run longer and extend the life of the engine. This caused other problems with contaminants and sludge that would both build and plug up the engine, so the motor still had to be taken apart and fixed.  Additionally, no one liked the mess of lubricants, so they decided to enclose them – great idea, but the engines still required rebuilding, until someone else decided to filter the oil so the engine would run longer between maintenance.

Finally, a bright industrial engineer did a time study and determined that if the oil is changed on a fixed frequency, the engine would not require rebuilding.  In an attempt to address the build-up that was causing engine failures, we started periodically changing the oil to clean it, resulting in the engine running longer.


Shift to Predictive Maintenance

If you look in most car manuals, you would see that many engines can actually go anywhere from 5k-10k or even 15k miles between oil changes. So, if I take my car in to get an oil change every 3k miles as suggested, I am changing my oil way too often, doing unnecessary maintenance to my car, and spending money that doesn’t need to be spent.

Most new cars today actually have sensors on the engines that can tell when the pressure differentiation reaches a certain threshold that it is time to take the car in for an oil change.


ROI Example:

Consider for the following example that I drive 20k miles/year and the cost of an oil change is $25.

  • If I take my car in every 3k miles
    • 6 oil changes/year
    • Total = $150
  • If my car actually only needs an oil change every 9k miles:
    • 2 oil changes/year
    • Total = $50

This would result in over a 65% reduction in preventive maintenance activities performed on my car. Not only would my overall annual maintenance cost also be reduced by over 65%, but I would be decreasing the opportunity for experiencing an unnecessary failure introduced by maintenance.

“Believe it or not, the last time I had my oil changed my filter cracked, which is a perfect example of maintenance introduced failures… and this happens on the plant floor whether or not maintenance organizations like to admit it.”

– Nikolaus Despain Senior Director of Maintenance 


Challenging the Norm

The Big Oil companies loved the idea of regular oil changes because it generated guaranteed future revenue.  What oil change service didn’t recommend changing the oil every 2,000 to 3,000 miles of travel?  Further Engineering studies revealed different motors can operate reliably for many more cycles than the Big Oil companies initially recommended (5,000 to 7,000 miles or even 10,000 to 15,000 with synthetic oil and/or oil blends – check your vehicle owner’s manual!).  In the name of quality, and reliability, car manufacturers’ engineers came up with a variety of ways to use oil filter pressure differential and engine operational data to determine the optimal oil changing frequency.  Right now, that solution comes to us from the vehicle console with a warning light telling us to “change the oil.” They used Big Data to allow the equipment, in this case, the engine and vehicle, “talk” to us!


Listening into the future with IoT

This is a classic example of IoT! If we learn the language of our machines and listen to them, what can they tell us?  Will they tell us we are wasting our time changing the oil every 3,000 miles?  Will they tell us when we are operating our vehicle with the tire air pressure too low?  Eventually, will they warn us of a potential bearing failure based on vibration data consistently monitored before we take that long road trip?

Machines are already talking to us.  The Automobile manufacturers are already listening.

Do you think, if your machines talked to you, you would have a different perspective on maintenance? Would any of your machines tell you to continue with a one-sided preventive maintenance approach or could you save money and labor costs if you only did maintenance that was necessary?  Our machines are talking, we just need to listen.

Consultant Spotlight: Jason Wang

Jason Wang is a Principal Consultant and Support Lead at Aquitas Solutions. Known for being able to solve anything, Jason is a jack of all trades.

JASON’S INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE

In 2003, Jason graduated from Georgia Tech with an Industrial Engineering degree. This field of study deals with looking at systems and processes to determine the most optimal ways to run an operation. Jason started out working with Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS), now referred to as Enterprise Asset Management (EAM).

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With over 14 years of Maximo consulting experience, Jason is a bit of an anomaly in that he has never had to “turn a wrench”. Despite this, Jason has had many mentors throughout his career who have that more traditional maintenance background that have helped guide him to the point where he is today. He is able to translate the Maximo software solution to the needs of his clients and discuss issues in a way that relates to the customer as if he has had traditional field experience.

BECOMING THE ‘GO-TO’ SUPPORT GUY

Jason initially joined Aquitas as a Functional Consultant in 2008. Most of the work he did dealt with identifying business requirements, applying them to the customer business processes and then configuring systems to meet those needs. Eventually Jason dove into the technical side as well, with the intent to understand all the facets of Maximo.

Coming to understand a little bit of everything, Jason became known as a jack of all trades.  CEO, Wayne Brisson saw the value in Jason’s ability and offered him a new role to manage Aquitas’ Maximo Support organization. Jason can solve almost any problem our customers bring to him, and if he can’t solve the problem he has been in the industry long enough that he knows the right person who can.

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THE EVOLVING CHALLENGES OF MAXIMO SUPPORT

When working with clients, Jason enjoys being able to answer unique and challenging questions that change depending on the day or the client. He also gets to build up relationships with customers in a way he would not be able to if he were working for a larger company.

Lately, he has found more instances where clients are requesting assistance with integration issues. Many clients today want to dip their toe into the EAM world, but expect all the bells and whistles to automatically match their business needs, especially where Maximo integrates with other systems.  As part of Support, Jason works with these clients to understand their business process, and come up with configuration and integration plans to make sure their Maximo system is successful in talking to those systems.

WHY AQUITAS FOR JASON?

Getting to work with good people, who are genuinely talented and knowledgeable, is the reason he has stayed with the company for over a decade.

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Want to request Jason for Maximo consulting services? Contact us!

 

MaximoWorld 2018 Recap – Did you remember to bring your Tupperware?

With the latest MaximoWorld in the books, it is worthwhile to take some time to reflect on the event.  I recently described Maximo World as the industry’s best Pot Luck dinner. A Pot Luck dinner is where each person brings forth their best dish – whether that might be the “Big Green Egg” smoked pork, the special mac and cheese or the mythical Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies.  And of course, someone is always called upon to bring the veggie tray or to be the cup and plate guy.  It is also the time where you connect with those you have not seen in a while, swap family stories and catch up on the latest successes and failures.

MaximoWorld 2018 had some amazing dishes to be sure – from the appetizers shared in the User Group Round tables or the tasty main courses served up by the Keynotes from the inspiring young Natasha Ravinand during the WIRAM luncheon, or Author Ben Pring who provided the best quote of the show, “Things sucking is the Real Mother of Invention”.  Or how bout all those casseroles – nearly 100 of them covering so many different takes on how companies have best implemented, improved, enhanced, etc.… Maximo to make a difference in their organization.

Don’t forget about the availability of the basics, like Nikolaus Despain’s “Using the Where Clause and the Power of Embedded Queries” for the newbies or IBM’s presentation on the Maximo roadmap that provided the “carbs” that we crave.  And hopefully you took part of the deserts chock full of IoT, Augmented Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Machine Learning, Spatial, mobile, etc… offered up during the sessions and in the Expo Hall, including Aquitas’ Connected Maintenance solution.

 

The question is… did you bring your Tupperware to MaximoWorld 2018?   There are two things that I have learned when ever my sisters throw a potluck dinner.  One, my sisters are fantastic cooks and two, there will be leftovers!  With that in mind, I make sure to equip myself with a few Tupperware containers to be sure I can easily squirrel away some of their fantastical fare for later.

So back to my question – did you bring your Tupperware to the event?  In working with Pam Denny at IBM, we loaded all the attendees and events into Watson which then analyzed the data to determine that there were approximately 3, 681 unique actionable ideas that were generated from the conference.  Off the idea buffet table, Watson then calculated each individual attendee on average, could absorb roughly 84 worthwhile ideas over the three days.  84 different unique ideas that then could be put in your Tupperware and consumed at a later date.   How many ideas did you take back to your office to apply?

Terry O’Hanlon, Maura Abad and the rest of the ReliabilityWeb team not only put together an awesome conference menu – it takes a lot to coordinate that there are a variety of dishes available- they even were handing out Tupperware at the end of the third day with the “Maximo in Action Panel”.  The panel which included myself, esteemed colleagues and customers, provided a number of “containers” to help you take home those 84 ideas and put them into action.  The theme of most of the messages was – “Take Action”.  Choose an idea and go for it.  I particularly liked Paul Crocker, from Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, discussing “stepping up and becoming a vocal leader” – just after sharing that he never pictured himself ever getting up in front of hundreds of people to share what he learned.  That is a Maximo evangelist in action!

So, what are the things I took away from the event?

  • IBM is not only fully backing MaximoWorld to make it the cornerstone event for all Maximo users, they are fully vested in Maximo! Hopefully, you had a chance to catch the roadmap sessions or go by the IBM booth or listen to IBM’s keynote session.  If you did, you can tell that IBM sees Maximo as a critical piece to their overall Watson strategy. This is good news for all of in the ecosystem to keep IBM invested and improving on the solution.
  • The Internet of Things is not on the fringe any longer for Maximo users. Judging by the number of sessions on Connecting Assets to Maximo or Using Analytics to better understand/predict failure and IBM’s product roadmap, this capability is here now at a price point that is totally doable.  There are customers exploring this capability now – more importantly, these are not just the customers with huge IT or support staffs, the Fortune 100, they are the mid-sized companies looking for innovative ways to gain control of their operations.  They are thinking big, starting small and acting fast!
  • The ability to get connected into the ecosystem is huge benefit to a Maximo user. It is rare in the software industry that you see so many willing people offer to share, help, assist, etc.  Walking through the halls, at lunch, after sessions or at the booths you could hear people sharing both their challenges and solutions.  Take some time to reflect on a few of the contacts that you met and then make an effort to reach out to them.  Be willing to take a call or two from customers looking for help.  The more you “connect” the more likely you will be able to improve upon your current implementation.  Our industry is changing more rapidly than ever – don’t hesitate to reach out to a peer to get their insight.

A final comment is that there was so much “food” that it was a challenge to taste everything.  Again, I want to give a shout out to ReliabilityWeb and all of the presenters and customers that make this conference so special.  All of these presentations have been recorded and will soon be made available in their neatly labeled Tupperware containers.  Don’t miss the chance to go back and listen to ones that you feel are most applicable or maybe even one or two that you have no idea if it is applicable.  Listen to one a week – a lunch and learn approach – and my bet is that you come away with another potential idea to implement.

Want to talk about your ideas for your current Maximo implementation or the use of new technology to advance your operations?  Feel free to give us a call or visit our website at www.aquitas-solutions.com

 

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Aquitas at LiveWorx 2018!

This was my first time attending LiveWorx, and the Aquitas teams’ first time as a Sponsor, Exhibitor, and Speaker. As a relatively new PTC partner, we were excited to dive in and establish ourselves in the PTC and ThingWorx community as an Elite Sponsor, gain exposure for our new Connected Maintenance solution, and build relationships with other partners, customers, and various integral members of the PTC team. I have to say…. this conference did not disappoint!


THE “XTROPOLIS” FLOOR

The Xtropolis floor was bustling non-stop with an air of excitement for this age of Digital

Transformation that we are in with the emergence of the Industrial Internet of ThingsIMG_5254.JPG (IIoT) and Industry 4.0. The Aquitas team felt right at home with our new Connected Maintenance solution that officially launched earlier this year.

Michael Hayes, our Director of Development, was busy showing demo after demo to customers, members of the PTC team, and curious neighboring IoT exhibitors. We have a pretty sharp demo (if I may say so myself!) to show how the integration between the leading industrial IoT technology of ThingWorx and IBM’s Maximo system allow you to listen to and respond to your assets in real time.

In the demo we apply pressure to a running motor, thus changing the conditions being monitored to a level that an alert is triggered to follow your maintenance processes. In our demonstration, a work order is generated in Maximo for maintenance to check on the asset, with all of the information from ThingWorx clearly accessible through Maximo.

Here is an exclusive sneak peak at our demo motor running with it’s Digital Twin overlay which displays conditions like vibration, humidity, temperature, RPMs, and more in real time.

With Connected Maintenance, we use advanced condition monitoring and anomaly management with automated workflow… As soon as a set of conditions is met that indicates a problem, automatically have a work order or service request generated in Maximo. Learn more about our Anomaly Management & Alert System. 


CUSTOMER PRESENTATION – “IoT in Maintenance”

 Nikolaus Despain, Senior Director Maintenance Operations at Leprino Foods,  was on-hand at LiveWorx to share a direct customer perspective on why it makes sense to get started now with IoT in maintenance, and how to turn small wins into huge returns on investment through transforming their preventive maintenance program.

“We can theoretically reduce our preventive maintenance activities by 50% per year. Just do the labor math. What would that mean to your organization?”

-Nikolaus Despain

Director of Maintenance, Leprino Foods

 


IGNITE SESSION – “Getting started with IoT: Think big, start small, act fast”

For me, the highlight of the conference was watching Ray Miciek captivate a crowd in the IoT Innovation Center during a 15 minute “Ignite Talk” that was included in our sponsorship, in which he would discuss the idea of getting started with IoT in maintenance. Our booth was close to the “theatre” where Ray’s talk was going to take place, and turnout had not been great at previous talks. We predicted Ray would have 6-8 people in the audience.

Instead it looked like this….

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What struck me was the fact that the entire crowd stayed and listened to the very last word. They would nod their heads in agreement to one of Ray’s ideas. They would signal to their colleague, “Are you hearing this?”

When Ray’s 15 minutes were up, there was a line of people waiting to talk to him.

What this tells me is that customers not only want to learn more about the Industrial Internet of Things, they are ready to look at solutions and figure out the best strategy to get started.

As Ray said in his presentation..

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Your assets are talking. There is hidden treasure on your plant floor. …. THINK BIG. START SMALL. ACT FAST.

Download Ray’s Presentation HERE

Need help getting started with IoT? Get started with a FREE ASSESSMENT

 

What is Industry 4.0 and where do maintenance organizations fit in?

At a recent conference, I overheard two reliability engineers discussing whether or not the correct term was Industry 4.0 or Industrie 4.0.  Toe-mato or Ta-moto.  They queried their colleague who just walked up on his thoughts.  Pondering the question, he asked, “Can either of you explain to me what Industry/Industrie 4.0 is anyway?”  The two engineers then set off on giving their opinions, quite differently I might add, on what the term meant.   I later came to find out the third person was a Director of Maintenance  and what he was really trying to figure out  was Why Should I Care About Industry 4.0?

It may seem obvious, but it is worth restating, even if you don’t know the exact definition, that the wave of Industry 4.0 (we will use that term interchangeably with Industrie 4.0), is sweeping across our manufacturing sectors and it will, can and should impact the way organizations view their maintenance processes.

So, let’s start from a definition standpoint.

Ask for a quick definition and you quickly realize that there is no quick definition – other than Industry 4.0 represents the 4th Industrial Revolution behind 1) The invention of steam/water powered machines 2) Use of Electricity enabling the assembly line and 3) Rise of computers/robotics/intranet/internet allowing automation in manufacturing.  With Industry 4.0, we move from previously embedded systems to cyber-physical systems, lnternet of Things, Cloud Computing and Cognitive computing.  Simple, right?

The point is how companies manufacture, as well as how they take care of their assets, are changing.  How did we get here?   According to McKinsey, primarily because of four major disruptions that have occurred in the plant:

  • The massive increase in data volumes, computer power and connectivity (networks and sensors)
  • Increased advancement in analytics and business intelligence capabilities
  • Greatly enhanced forms of human-machine interaction – Augmented Reality or Touch Interfaces for the employee
  • Transfer of digital instructions to the physical world – Advanced Robotics or 3D Printing

Though the focus for Industry 4.0 is primarily in gaining insights and improvements in design/quality/yield/product lifecycle for manufacturing of product, there is growing realization that it is maintenance that can take advantage of these disruptions.  That maintenance of the company’s assets is an essential part of leveraging the components of Industry 4.0 to impact one’s organization.

McKinsey does a nice job of summarizing the components or “levers” as they call them, and the value they deliver for an organization.  The over arching reach of Industry 4.0 on a manufactures’ operation and where maintenance fits into the criticality of this strategy, can be viewed in the digital compass example below.

McKinsey & Company Digital Compass

The Acatech Industry 4.0 Maturity Index does a great job of revealing the various gates that are associated with implementing an Industry 4.0 strategy.

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Many companies have in place the “digitalization” piece of the process – their plant floors having been automated (robotics, CNC machines, etc…) or upgraded with new equipment or sensors.  The challenge is how to make the data that is being produced visible.  For maintenance operations, gaining visibility to that data is the critical starting point for Industry 4.0. Connected Maintenance achieves that visibility and provides the ability to catch problems before they are catastrophic. It can be further enhanced with Augmented Reality (AR) to create the Digital Twin of the asset to provide real-time asset performance in a format the technician can easily digest, not to mention the visual training aids and improvements the technology provides.

With this new found Visibility, you can then move forward to the next phase which is Transparency which represents true condition based monitoring of your assets.  This monitoring is needed to move into Predictive Capacity in which you begin to not only predict failures, but potentially begin to run simulations on your Digital Twin to determine how changing variables will impact the performance of your asset.  The final stage is Adaptability – where the organization can then make actual changes to processes based on the multiple inputs weighed against cost/benefit analysis.

It is easy for one to become paralyzed by the onslaught of available technology and the tremendous benefits, both real and envisioned, that Industry 4.0. promises.  So where do you start?  Keep in mind that as maintenance professionals, the information your teams are collecting about your day to day work is the foundation in which advanced analytics, as well as machine learning, will derive its value.  That means, consistent collection of: problem, fault, remedy codes, application of job plans to work orders, resources (internal/external, tools, inventory)…are more critical than ever.  In the past you may have lacked manpower, time or expertise to make correlations about all of this information – so it only mattered if you kept the asset running or got it repaired quickly.  Going forward, analytics and machine learning can make those correlations for you to do the 3 P’s of Maintenance – Prevent, Predict and Prescribe.  But it needs information to do that.

Connected Maintenance is the first step in that information gathering process and the foundation of any Industry 4.0 strategy.  Connecting existing sensored high value (revenue or cost impacting) assets to your asset management solution is a quick win. Your mantra should be Think Big, Start Small, Act Fast.  Keep an eye on the future with a platform that can grow with you, no matter where you end up on the Industry 4.0 maturity curve.  Determine a use case that is easy to implement and has a high return and do it now.  Rest assured, your competitors are…

A solid Industry 4.0 strategy will include a platform that is scalable to any size organization, and agile enough to quickly gain returns on investment. Gone are the days of multi-year implementation projects.  Connected maintenance is the beginning of the “yellow brick road”… each brick representing a quick connected win along the journey to gaining operational efficiencies. Don’t be afraid to move, or you may find yourself unable to move and in need of oil. Use your brain, have courage Think Big, Start Small, Act Fast…

Consultant Spotlight: Gina Leonard

Gina Leonard is a staple in the Maximo community. Most Maximo customers have either worked directly with Gina or benefitted from Maximo applications that she designed. She is the perfect example of what separates Aquitas consultants from the pack. After joining Aquitas in 2015 as Principal Consultant, she quickly became a core asset to our team.

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GINA’S INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE

Like some of the best consultants in the industry, Gina started out working with Maximo as a customer in 1995 for Columbia Gas, where she discovered she had a knack for training. A PSDI consultant recognized Gina’s natural talent and made a suggestion that would turn out to be a life-changing career move: Gina should become a Trainer.

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Gina joined PSDI in 2000 and spent the next 15 years at MRO Software and IBM working in various areas of training, design, and customer facing projects. She eventually became a worldwide Support Specialist, supporting the whole Maximo product suite across every industry. It was in that role that Gina started to develop an expertise in supply chain. She quickly became the “go-to” supply chain person, so when the role of Supply Chain Designer/Architect for the entire Maximo product opened up, Gina was the obvious choice.

WHY LEAVE IBM FOR AQUITAS? 

Even though Gina loved her role as Supply Chain Designer/Architect, she missed the customer interaction. She had been wholly focused on supply chain at IBM and realized she missed working with the complete product suite. Gina would obviously bring her supply chain expertise anywhere she went, but she also wanted to get back into the full implementation of Maximo and working directly with the customers.

Gina looked at people she had worked with for the past 20 years like Gary Toft and Mike Lorden who were now part of the Aquitas team and very happy.

Knowing she had the full support of our leadership team, she made the transition in September of 2015.

GINA’S ROLE AT AQUITAS 

As Principal Consultant, Gina works primarily on large implementations. She just wrapped up a 9-site implementation and is now working on a 64-site rollout for a leading food distributor.

She also supports our entire customer base on supply chain issues. If another consultant needs to do a gap assessment, Gina will help make sure the right questions are being asked. She also does on-site customer visits and assessments to help our customers leverage Maximo to improve efficiencies. She is also still very active in the Maximo community.

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THE “TRUSTED ADVISOR” 

Gina truly embodies a “Trusted Advisor” role. She isn’t scared to challenge customers to think a different way if she believes something can be done better or an existing process can be improved. She can troubleshoot challenges within the organization and configure the tool to work with the customer’s business processes.

Gina is (obviously) particularly valuable when it comes to supply chain and the transactional data involved that has a direct effect on the company. We need to have flexibility to accommodate the many different ways that customers want to implement Maximo when hooking up to their financial systems. Gina is your partner to figure out how to meet the needs of the “business users” that are directly impacted by what happens in Maximo, while ensuring you are still delivering the best solution for your end users.

Want to request Gina for Maximo consulting services? Contact us!

 

 

Get ready for the MUWG 2018 Spring Conference!

The Maximo Utility Working Group (MUWG) Conference is always one of my favorites, but I am especially excited for this year’s spring meeting, which is fittingly themed, “Walk… Run… Innovate: Maximo Basics to Breakthrough Technology.” The MUWG offers customers, partners, and IBMers a chance to come together to share new ideas and best practices with each other to drive innovation. Fuzzy Merritt from Duke Energy, a long-time, respected, and very active MUWG member said it best:

Customer quote benefits of MUWG

***Make sure you catch Fuzzy’s session at 2:45 on Wednesday, “Duke Energy’s Material Reservation Process”***

Here are some other things to look forward to on the Agenda:

  • Take a look behind the scenes of the new Maximo Work Centers with Pam Denny
  • Learn how to justify an upgrade with Clay Cook’s group discussion
  • Find out why you should stay current with Feature Packs and see demonstration of new functionality in the IBM Demo Room
  • VENDOR NIGHT! 

….Speaking of Vendor Night…..

 

Connected Maintenance Data Sheet
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Aquitas will be officially launching our new Connected Maintenance solution for Maximo. With customers already using the solution, we are ready to bring Connected Maintenance to every Maximo customer to help them add value to their maintenance operations & capabilities.

We will be showing live demos all night, so stop by Booth #9 to meet our team and learn how easily you can started monitoring your assets in real-time, preventing failures, and impacting your bottom line.

It should be a fun, productive, and educational couple of days down in Houston. I look forward to seeing everyone next week!

 

Do you have the latest Maximo feature pack?

What are feature packs?

Maximo feature packs are periodic releases of fixes and new functionality requested by the Maximo community. They include security fixes and updates for reported issues, and enhancements for new functionality.

Feature packs also include new platform support. For example, Maximo 7.6.0.8 added support for Windows 2016, SQL Server 2016, Chrome 58 and Firefox ESR 57, while Maximo 7.6.0.9 adds support for Cognos 11.

Why are they worth installing?

Feature packs include enhancements and fixes for issues that have been discovered by either IBM or a customer. Even if you may not have run into these issues, we recommend installing the latest feature pack because you may at some point.

What is in the latest one?

The most recent Maximo feature pack is 7.6.0.9 released in December 2017. It includes new support for Cognos 11, seven security fixes, new report functionality, 22 behavior changes and 321 resolved defects. Each feature pack also includes all the items from previous feature packs for that version of Maximo, which is currently Maximo 7.6.

Where to find the latest one?

IBM Support posts the latest Maximo feature pack information here: http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg22008852

From this page, you can find anything you need to know about feature packs, but I will also share some quick links here:

Tips for installing feature packs

If you have applied an IBM supplied hot fix for a defect, make sure it is in the feature pack being installed. If not, consider waiting for the next feature pack or be prepared to re-apply the hot fix(es) that are not included. When applying a feature pack, be sure to check the compatibility with your Maximo industry solutions if you have one or more of them. This link contains information on the compatible Industry Solutions for the feature pack you are installing:

http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg24044373

 

Need help upgrading to the latest version of Maximo? Contact us today.