Procurement teams in the manufacturing world are increasingly turning to predictive maintenance solutions to improve uptime and achieve significant cost reductions, the industry news outlet Supply Chain Dive reports.
A 2018 PwC survey of procurement organisations in manufacturing found that 51% of respondents saw improved uptime as the principal goal of predictive maintenance, with “Higher customer satisfaction” (12%) and “Cost reduction” (11%) following in second and third places.
A major source of cost reduction delivered by these predictive maintenance solutions is the ability to reduce inventory levels to ‘sufficient’ rather than ‘excess.’ As Pete Guarraia, the global head of supply chain at Bain & Company put it, most firms “carry way, way too many spare parts in their inventory.”
Predictive maintenance can work in conjunction with other digital technologies such as location tracking to improve the relationship manufacturing firms have with their parts suppliers. According to Deloitte Consulting’s chief futurist Robert Schmid, technology is enabling firms to be more connected to their suppliers to such an extent that it’s now possible to automate ordering from them based on a much more accurate calculation of inventory levels.
Schmid told Supply Chain Digital that the best companies can make reductions of between 25% and 35% in spare parts inventory, with some even being able to cut as much as 50%
Predictive maintenance enables firms to concentrate their spare parts inventories on the most critical parts, usually those subject to unexpected outages or with long lead times.
However, these solutions will not typically be implemented as the first step in creating a more connected factory, Schmid observed. More typically, they are introduced as a development during phase two or three in the connected factory. Before they can be effectively introduced, factories need to undergo a process of really centralising the machines and processes, including factory bottlenecks, they will be used to improve, he added.
Cost reductions arise from lower inventory and inventory storage.