Energy & Utility Management

Driving Data & Decisions

A Guide to Building and Measuring a Lean Maintenance Strategy

Professional racing is a masterclass in efficiency. Teams don’t just dislike waste—they hate it. Every millisecond of a pit stop has a purpose. Every component of a car is analyzed to ensure it’s functioning at its best. Strategies are designed to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. When you translate this mindset to the shop floor, you achieve a lean maintenance strategy. Lean maintenance is the merciless reduction and elimination of waste at every stage of your maintenance program so you can go further, faster, while spending less. This guide outlines the basics for building and measuring a lean maintenance strategy, including:
  • What is lean maintenance
  • The types of waste in maintenance
  • A formula for creating a lean maintenance strategy
  • Metrics for tracking lean maintenance success

What is lean maintenance?

Like lean manufacturing, lean maintenance is the continual process of identifying, reducing, and removing waste from maintenance activities. Waste is considered anything that doesn’t increase output, decrease costs, or otherwise boost productivity. There are a lot of examples of waste in maintenance, including:
  • Money spent on a part that becomes obsolete before it’s used
  • Time spent clarifying the details of a maintenance request
  • Effort spent collecting maintenance data you never use
It’s often difficult to spot waste in your maintenance program. That’s why a lean maintenance strategy can’t work without iteration. Iteration is the practice of making small changes over time to find the best way to set up processes and activities. In other words, lean maintenance is not a one-and-done project. It’s a way of thinking and acting that takes years to build.

What are the benefits of lean maintenance?

Odds are, you’ve uttered the words, “What a waste of time,” or “What a waste of money,” in the last couple of weeks. Lean maintenance eliminates those moments. And while there are a thousand things you could be referring to, most of them can be grouped in these four main benefits:

1. Cost savings

A lean maintenance strategy reduces direct costs (labor and resources) and indirect costs (the money you lose in downtime or lost production). For example, you might discover that you can reduce routine maintenance on an asset from once a week to once a month, cutting labor costs by 75% in the process.
Quote from Charles Rogers

2. Efficiency gains

Efficiency is another word for getting more done in less time. Lean maintenance strategies help you find activities and processes that take too much time so you can modify or eliminate them. Voltalia’s maintenance team is a great example of this benefit in practice. The company noticed that one of its service teams spent 40 hours a week driving from the office to an off-site facility. The solution was to build a satellite office near the off-site facility to save time.

3. Maximized potential

When machines and people are not bogged down by unnecessary duties, they can operate at full capacity and perform to the best of their abilities. Tom Dufton’s maintenance team is a perfect example. Tom, a maintenance manager, noticed his skilled maintenance technicians were spending a lot of time assisting production. He used this data to advocate for extra operators so his team could get back to maintaining equipment.

4. Employee engagement

Removing unnecessary work and administrative tasks helps employees feel more engaged with their work. It also gives them time to up-skill and do high-value work. One way this translates into real life is with new maintenance software. If technicians don’t have time to learn the system, your big investment in technology could be for nothing. Eliminating extra tasks elsewhere will give your team time to learn, ask questions, and get used to new technology.
Quote from Bryan Sapot

The three types of waste in maintenance

The first step in eliminating waste is to find it. There are three main areas in a maintenance operation where waste shows up: Environmental, financial, and human potential.

Environmental waste

Environmental waste occurs when raw materials are used inefficiently or disposed of because of inefficient maintenance activities. Examples of environmental waste in maintenance include:
  • An increase in scrap or rework after equipment maintenance
  • Overuse of fuel by improperly maintained vehicles or unnecessary transportation to and from a worksite
  • Overstocking parts for maintenance due to an outdated inventory purchasing schedule
The impact of environmental waste from maintenance includes:
  • More pollution and trash
  • Higher carbon emissions
  • Low-quality products
  • Increased safety hazards
Some strategies for reducing environmental waste in maintenance include:
  • Frequent inventory cycle counts and just-in-time purchasing to ensure your storeroom isn’t flooded with unused inventory
  • Grouping scheduled maintenance together in one time period to cut down on travel
  • A mandatory check from a second technician after repairs or replacements prior to production to ensure start-ups don’t result in scrap or rework

Financial waste

Financial waste refers to the extra costs from inefficient maintenance. It also includes lost production from unnecessary downtime. Examples of financial waste in maintenance include:
  • High labor and parts costs from preventive maintenance tasks that are done too frequently
  • Defective products from an asset that was assembled or rebuilt incorrectly
  • Delayed maintenance because technicians had to wait for a part to complete repairs
The impact of financial waste includes:
  • Higher labor and parts costs
  • More capital expenditures
  • Lost revenue
  • Missed opportunities to grow the business
Strategies for becoming leaner include:
  • Identifying tasks in your preventive maintenance schedule that can be eliminated or done less frequently
  • Reducing downtime by finding maintenance work that can be completed while an asset is running
  • Building a FRACAS to address and prevent failure on critical equipment
  • Creating parts kits for critical equipment to speed up repairs and avoid stockouts
  • Setting a regular meeting with production staff to align maintenance with operations and get updates equipment changes

Wasted human potential

Administrative work and unnecessary tasks wear on staff and take them away from specialized tasks only they can do. Burnout, poor morale, and turnover increase, leading to even more waste. Examples of wasted human potential in maintenance include:
  • Spending hours every day writing, reviewing, and sorting work orders
  • Fixing the same component over and over again
  • Inspecting non-critical equipment with low or nonexistent failure rates
  • Supporting production more than once in a while
  • Searching for parts and supplies in your storeroom
The impact of wasted human potential includes:
  • High employee turnover and loss of organizational knowledge
  • Low wrench time and big backlogs
  • Decreased employee engagement and low adoption of new systems
  • More pencil whipping and less accurate data
Strategies for becoming leaner include:
  • Conduct frequent maintenance team meetings to discuss challenges and brainstorm solutions
  • Automate activities you do frequently, like creating work orders or reports
  • Eliminate or reduce scheduled maintenance that has low rates of follow-up work
  • Train machine operators to do routine maintenance tasks

Creating a lean maintenance mindset

The first step in creating a lean maintenance strategy is to ask the right questions, challenge the way you do things, and be willing to change. This is a lean maintenance mindset and it’s essential to make lean maintenance strategies work long term. There are four changes that’ll help you shift to a lean maintenance mindset:

1. From small details → Big picture

There will always be days when your team is reacting to everything—putting out fires, getting last-minute requests, and racing to catch up on backlog. But a lean maintenance mindset prevents this from becoming the norm. It allows you to build maintenance activities around business and production goals, and deprioritize or eliminate work that doesn’t connect to these goals. For example, you might spend an hour every week creating a report. But if that report doesn’t help you eliminate waste, that time becomes waste itself. You can either spend time building more useful reports or do other waste-eliminating work.

2. From getting it done → Collecting data as you go

A lot of maintenance teams operate in survival mode. Complete the task and move on to the next one. No time for any extra steps. But a lean maintenance strategy hinges on data and taking the time to collect it. Those five extra minutes it takes to complete extra fields on a work order adds up. Having a lean maintenance mindset means building a buffer in your schedule to account for this. It also means everyone knows the importance of these extra steps and isn’t pressured to fudge the numbers to make up for lost time.

3. From big changes → iterative improvements

Everyone wants to see big wins as quickly as possible. Our brains crave a finish line and tangible results. But that’s not how lean maintenance works. Instead, it depends on making small, consistent improvements. If done right, it’s a process that’s never truly finished. The best way to tackle this shift is to give yourself and your team small goals and milestones, track progress, and celebrate success. For example, you might want to cut out unnecessary steps in your scheduled maintenance. In lean maintenance, you’ll examine your work orders once a month to reduce delays and increase wrench time by 10% to 15% across the entire year. It’s crucial to track progress, celebrate it with your team, and get suggestions from technicians on how to keep winning. Technicians will feel a sense of ownership over this metric and will be invested in making progress.

4. From “that’s the way it is” → “Is this necessary?”

It’s easy to accept the status quo. It’s uncomfortable to change. And it takes a lot of work. But lean maintenance is all about challenging business as usual. You need to look at everything your team does with a critical eye and make changes if something no longer makes sense. This requires you to adopt a win-or-learn mentality instead of a win-or-fail mindset. Your team will be able to question things without blame or punishment. For example, you might have done a PM at the same interval for a decade. But everything has changed in that time, from the equipment to the technician doing the work. You need to question how the PM is done as well. Should it be done more or less? Is it even necessary anymore?

Building a lean maintenance strategy

Building a lean maintenance strategy follows a three-step formula:
  1. Understand what you’re currently doing and how you’re doing it
  2. Find areas of waste and eliminate them
  3. Create processes that allow you to do steps one and two over and over again

Step 1: Mapping your maintenance process

This step is about knowing how your team currently operates so you can find the work you’re doing too much of and work you’re not doing enough. This stage involves documenting your maintenance processes, including:
  • Key information about equipment, like criticality and failure modes (this FMEA template can help you collect this data)
  • What inspections and repairs are done, and how often
  • What an emergency looks like and how your team reacts
  • How follow-up or corrective maintenance is created, assigned, and tracked
  • Team meetings and what happens in each one
  • Goal-setting, metrics creation, reporting, and data collection
  • Health, safety, and compliance activities
  • Parts purchasing and storeroom management
Then think about business needs:

Step 2: Identify opportunities for improvement you can act on now

The next step is to find out where you’re spending too much time, money, or energy. Here are a few ways you can spot waste hiding in your processes:
  1. Look at specific processes with members of your maintenance team. Ask them what part of the process takes the most time or where they face challenges when completing work. Use this insight to make activities easier and remove roadblocks.For example, something as small as misidentifying lubrication can lead to wasted time, breakdowns, lost production, and buying too many supplies. Colour-coding lubrication and bearings can eliminate this waste altogether.
  2. Identify tasks that consistently take more time or money than planned and conduct a root cause analysis to find out why. This is more helpful than slashing costs, which can do more harm than good and doesn’t address the real reason for the waste.For example, labor costs for a weekly work order are twice as high as you’ve budgeted. An RCA might find repair times are longer than expected because different technicians are doing the work. You might tweak the schedule to put the same technician on the job so they can familiarize themselves with the work and do it faster.
  3. Audit your planned maintenance work to make it more efficient. We outlined the steps for auditing your PMs in a separate article, but the main takeaway is to question the need for all regular maintenance and the frequency, timing, and resource for each task.For example, a PM might be triggered every 10 days, regardless of how much the asset is used. That can be a waste of time and money. In this situation, try triggering maintenance based on usage, like after every 100 hours of production.
  4. Develop KPIs and metrics around the growth and success of your team. This data will allow you to find wasted potential on your maintenance team.For example, you might track turnover rates or knowledge-sharing opportunities on your team. These stats can uncover complex processes or areas of low productivity that you can correct. The end result is better morale and a higher-performing maintenance team.

Step 3: Build a long-term vision

The core vision of your lean maintenance strategy will always be to improve maintenance bit by bit so it supports business goals. But those goals may change, as will the things you need to improve. This step is about documenting what you’ve iterated on, the impact of change, and what might come next. If your iterations produced a negative result, don’t immediately jump back to the way things were. Instead, think about what caused the negative result and see if there’s another iterative improvement. It can take a few tries to get it right.

Choosing metrics for a lean maintenance strategy and tracking success

While every project will have different KPIs and metrics based on your desired outcomes, here are some best-practice metrics to start with:
Environmental waste Financial waste Human potential waste
Idle times Maintenance costs (by asset, type, task, etc.) Wrench time
Raw material usage Equipment downtime (planned and unplanned) Employee turnover
Carbon emissions/energy use Rate of corrective maintenance after inspections Time spent on production support
Travel times to/from sites Response rates to breakdowns/emergencies Time spent on administrative tasks
Raw materials disposal (ie. oil) Clean start-ups after maintenance Number of steps in a maintenance process
While this isn’t a comprehensive look at lean maintenance metrics, it does give you a good foundation. And you don’t need to track, measure, and improve every metric. Choose metrics you can realistically collect and ones that connect to production and business goals. There are two ways to create success plans around each metric and push your lean maintenance strategy forward. The first is to go small. Pick a few metrics and focus on improving specific areas of your maintenance operation. For example, if you want to reduce maintenance costs, choose your top 10 most expensive tasks. Focus on reducing waste in these activities. The other method is to go broad. Aim for a goal that includes improving several metrics. For example, the ultimate target might be increasing efficiency through better standardization across sites. As part of this project, you can standardize the processes for work requests, reporting, and parts purchasing. There are several metrics you can use to build your project and track its success. This includes the number of steps in a maintenance process, time spent on admin tasks, response rates to breakdowns, and raw materials usage. It’s essential to share your wins, regardless of your approach. The whole point of lean maintenance is to make small gains that add up to big ones over time. Showing off your success keeps momentum high, increases buy-in, and helps you advocate for more resources to expand your lean maintenance program.
Quote from Jason Afara

Lean maintenance is ongoing

At its core, lean maintenance is about tying maintenance practices to business needs. This will likely ruffle feathers, but it’s a critical step to move maintenance from a cost center to a value driver. And when you do that, the world begins to open up for the maintenance team to be seen as a true business partner. Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/guide-to-creating-a-lean-maintenance-strategy/

Sustainability with Intelligent Information Management

Fighting climate change has undoubtedly become, and rightly so, one of the major drivers of people’s behavior in recent years. At the same time, the importance of sustainability to business has grown too. Whilst companies have to a large extent realized their responsibility on sustainability, the ability to find ways to become ever more environmentally healthy remains a challenge.

Many companies have or are initiating their environmental policies, aligned with an increasing amount of similar requirements from their trading partners, which places demands upon their own internal processes. Thus, sustainability has become a clear factor on B2B sales, not only B2C, As people are placing more and more importance on these topics in their personal lives, green values have become an important factor.  Employee demands for sustainability change are becoming selection criteria when applying for a new job. This places far more emphasis on a prospective employer to show a progressive approach to these demands if they are to persuade new talent to join.

Challenges for sustainability in Information Management

The role of Information Management is often not the most obvious when it comes to a sustainable way of working. The most notable effect of modern IT systems is clearly their ability to support collaboration over vast distances, i.e., as an enabler of remote work and avoiding unnecessary travel to business meetings. The COVID-19 epidemic has quite naturally sped up the transformation towards remote work, so communications over remote meetings with Teams, Zoom, etc., have pretty much become the norm.

Even though modern remote meeting systems enable communications over remote connections, they are not very good for non-formal communications that we tend to do while in the office or meeting clients or partners on site. The lack of such non-formal communication places even more importance in information management processes, including tools for employees to easily carry out their responsibilities.

Traditionally, managing the company’s business critical documents has been especially reliant on the non-formal communications taking place in the workplace and physical meetings. Finding the correct documents or previous work has been done by asking around in the office. A lot of documentation is simply replicated, with approval processes largely completed by signing paper copies in the office. Thus, better means for document & content management are certainly one challenge that companies need to address, allowing operations with reduced overheads.

Besides providing means for remote work, there are other factors in Information Management systems that affect the total CO2 footprint of a company. As these systems consume substantial amounts of energy, optimizing their usage of computing resources and digital storage would result in a more sustainable workplace. Unfortunately, such issues were largely overlooked when companies initially set up their information management systems and, therefore, offer considerable room for sustainability enhancement.

Sustainability challenges have gained more attention lately. For example, Capgemini has recently produced a report and an article about “Sustainable IT” that outlines very similar conclusions as mentioned here: Sustainable IT Leads to Significant Benefits But Is Still Not a Focus for Most Organizations.

How to make content management an asset for sustainability

State-of-the-art information management usually relies upon Enterprise Content Management (ECM), i.e., managing a company’s documents and the information related to them. The question is: How can a company become more sustainable by improving the way they are using and managing their documentation?

Reflecting the challenges outlined above, the benefits of an ECM system for a company from the sustainability viewpoint can be summarized by the following three points:

  1. A common system for accessing documents and supporting digitized processes.  This approach enables effective collaboration on the documents, typically involving review & approval processes, even when working remotely. Thus, an ECM system can act as an important enabler for remote work, avoiding travel to meet clients and partners whilst enhancing customer service.
  2. Avoiding document copies.  Document version management in ECM systems and the ability to use document links instead of email attachments, reduce storage requirements, thus saving energy required for maintaining multiple document repositories. In practice, this means that the companies can reduce the amount of network drives & other repositories by utilizing modern ECM systems.
  3. Cloud environments enable computing resources to be securely shared. A cloud-based solution is a collaborative resource distributed among many users / clients, thus using processing power much more efficiently than systems relying on the processors in each users’ PCs or company servers. In this manner, using cloud-based ECM solutions can drastically reduce the overall computing power needed for document management.

Improving a company’s sustainability can be seen as a ripple effect: changes that by themselves seem small but combined together make a real difference. Applying modern ECM technology to enable intelligent information management is an important part of striving towards more environmentally healthy way of working.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/sustainability-with-intelligent-information-management

5 Ways Your Maintenance Team Can Increase Production Efficiency

Every day, meat processing plants need to make sure the metal detectors in their machines are working. It’s a simple check to ensure there’s metal where there should be and no metal where there shouldn’t be. This process involves running test balls through the machine. It takes about 45 minutes to complete (25 minutes of manual labour and 20 minutes of admin time). It’s routine maintenance— the type most people don’t give a second thought to. It’s also an example of how tweaking maintenance processes can boost production efficiency. Instead of a manual check, the inspection can be done with an automated test-ball shooter. A button is pressed, the balls roll out on their own, and the task is wrapped up in five minutes. The result is more than 160 hours of extra equipment availability per year. This is just one example of how companies can leverage maintenance to increase production efficiency. This article outlines several other strategies for bolstering production efficiency using maintenance, including:
  • How maintenance impacts production efficiency
  • Five ways the maintenance team can boost production capacity
  • How to measure the impact of maintenance on production

What is production efficiency?

Production efficiency is a measurement used mostly by manufacturers to determine how well (and how long) a company can keep up with demand. It compares current production rates to expected or standard production rates. A higher rate of production efficiency delivers three critical outcomes for manufacturers:
  1. Reduced resource usage: Efficient production systems produce the same number of goods with fewer resources
  2. Higher financial margins: Efficient production means higher margins throughout the supply chain
  3.  A better customer experience: Efficient production allows products and services to be regularly and dependably delivered to customers

How to calculate production efficiency

The calculation for production efficiency compares the actual output rate to the standard output rate. The formula can be applied to either manual or automated work. When it comes to industrial processes, the calculation takes quality into account. Let’s say you produce 50 units in an hour, but only 30 are useable. Your rate of production for that hour is 30 units. The following formula is used to calculate production efficiency: Production Efficiency = (Actual Output Rate / Standard Output Rate) x 100 For example, a manufacturing company receives a new order of 100 units. The standard rate of completion for 100 units is 10 hours, or 10 units per hour. However, the company took 12 hours to complete 100 quality units. In this case, the production efficiency formula would look like this: Actual Output Rate = 100 units / 12 hours (8.3 units/hour) Standard Output Rate = 100 units / 10 hours (10 units/hour) Production Efficiency = (8.3 / 10) x 100 (83%) In this instance, output and productivity levels are below capacity.
Production Efficiency Formula

How maintenance can increase production efficiency

Proper equipment maintenance is essential for increasing production efficiency. It ensures your total effective equipment performance (TEEP) is as high as it can be. Using preventive maintenance to keep assets operating at their best helps to:
  • Limit equipment downtime: If equipment is checked regularly, you can find and fix failures before they cause big breakdowns that disrupt production. Having a solid preventive maintenance schedule also allows you to coordinate with production so planned downtime is done quickly.
  • Establish a corrective action system for failures: Having a strategy to find, analyze, and fix failure (aka a FRACAS) allows you to target recurring issues at their root. You can spot and eliminate problems that impact equipment availability and product quality the most.
  • Coordinate better shift changeovers: Better changeovers between maintenance shifts means communicating the right information to technicians quickly and accurately. This includes a run-down of what work needs to be done, when, and any obstacles that might get in the way of that work.
  • Ensuring standard operating procedures are clear and maintained: SOPs train operators to do routine maintenance so machines can be operated with fewer breakdowns and accidents.
Stewart Fergusson quote

Five things your maintenance team can start doing tomorrow to increase production efficiency

There are a lot of projects that take months or years to complete. But getting quick wins is also crucial for building momentum and proving the value of your maintenance team. So, here are five things your maintenance team can start doing tomorrow to increase production efficiency.

1. Optimize the frequency of your PMs

A preventive maintenance schedule can be a good example of having too much of a good thing. Going overboard on preventive maintenance can affect production efficiency in two ways. You can either waste valuable time preventing non-existent failure. Or you can increase the risk of failure by meddling with a perfectly fine component. These guidelines can help you find the right balance between too many PMs and too few:
  • Use equipment maintenance logs to track the found failure rate on preventive maintenance tasks. Start with PMs that take the longest to do or cost the most.
  • If a PM leads to regular corrective maintenance, keep it at the same frequency.
  • If a PM rarely identifies failure, try increasing the time between inspections. If the found failure rate exceeds the frequency of the PM, tweak your schedule so it’s better aligned. For example, an inspection might happen every two weeks. But a failure is usually found every six weeks. In this case, plan for the PM to happen every 4-6 weeks instead.
  • If a machine experiences frequent breakdowns between inspections, try shortening maintenance intervals. You can also modify the trigger for maintenance, changing it from a time-based trigger to usage or performance-based trigger.
PDCA model

2. Identify machines that can be maintained while running

Some routine maintenance can be done while a machine is still operating. Find out if there are any assets that can be safely worked on while being used for production. The key word there is ‘safely’. This might mean that some work can’t be done because certain areas of a machine aren’t safely accessible while it’s operating. In this scenario, determine if partial maintenance is possible and if it’ll have a positive impact on the performance of the equipment. It’s also a good idea to track rotating or spare assets and swap them for production equipment when possible. That allows you to do regular maintenance on these machines without sacrificing productivity.

3. Make equipment capabilities transparent and clear

Create an iron-clad list of instructions for operating equipment and common issues to be aware of. You can use a failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) to create a list of common failures experienced by each asset. This can also include warning signs for breakdowns. Having this information clearly outlined and easily accessible gives operators a chance to notice the early signs of failure and notify maintenance before it gets worse. Employees will be empowered to observe and identify any potential problems, and report them accordingly.

4. Use work order data to identify where your team can be more efficient

Work order data can tell you what jobs can get done quicker and how to minimize the risk of asset failure so you can boost production efficiency. Look for these telltale signs of broken processes in your work orders:
  • Unavailable parts and supplies: If this issue is delaying maintenance, review the purchasing process for parts and supplies. That includes making sure your cycle counts are accurate and the threshold for purchase approvals is low enough that inventory can get replenished quickly. You can also create parts kits for frequent repairs or emergency repairs on production equipment so your team can locate and retrieve parts quickly.
  • Misidentified/misdiagnosed problems or missing instructions: Make sure task lists, failure codes, and descriptions are clear. Attach photos, manuals, and other documentation to the work order.
  • Diverted resources resulting from emergency work orders: Emergencies can always be avoided. Analyze your work order data, find tasks that are too big, and break it down into smaller jobs to reduce the risk of major disruptions.
  • Scheduling conflicts with production: See if maintenance can be scheduled while production is happening or if work can be done at an alternate time, like evenings or weekends. You can also consider giving operators minor maintenance responsibilities associated with the work order.
  • Lack of adequate worker skillset: Work order data can show you if the person/people assigned to the work may not have the right skills. Make it very clear on the work request what kind of skills or certifications are necessary for certain maintenance types.

5. Find the biggest obstacles for your team and eliminate them

You can learn a lot from the data that comes from your equipment and work orders. But sometimes, you just have to ask the people who are doing the actual work. They will be able to tell you what barriers they face when completing work. Acting on this information is crucial to continually improving your maintenance processes. All those improvements can add up to a huge boost in production efficiency. For example, your technicians may spend a lot of time going back and forth from the office to retrieve manuals, asset histories, or other materials that help them on a job. You probably won’t know that just by looking at work order records or wrench time reports. Armed with this information, you can figure out a solution. Maybe that’s creating areas throughout your facility where files can be accessed for nearby assets. Or it could be digitizing those files so they can be accessed through a mobile device. Here are a few questions to ask your technicians to find any roadblocks:
  • What tasks commonly take you away from a machine?
  • Are information and parts easily accessible? If not, why?
  • What information would help you complete work more efficiently?
  • Are there processes or systems that are hard to use or you think could be improved?
  • Is there anything that frequently keeps you from starting a task on time?

Four ways to measure the impact of maintenance on production efficiency

There are many ways to measure how your maintenance efforts are affecting production efficiency. The most common metrics are the following:

Found failure rate on preventive maintenance

This metric will help you measure how efficient your preventive maintenance schedule is. If your found failure rate is high, it means you’re cutting down on unnecessary maintenance while preventing major disruptions to production.

Unplanned asset downtime (last 90 days)

This number tracks the amount of unplanned equipment downtime and compares it to the previous 90-day period. Because each minute of downtime lowers your production efficiency, this number highlights how maintenance is contributing to healthier, higher-performing assets.

Average time to respond to and repair breakdowns

This stat quantifies all the work you’ve done to prepare for emergencies. Breakdowns will happen. Having a plan to quickly and safely fix these failures will help you reduce the amount of time production is stalled.

Clean start-ups

Compare the amount of useable products coming from the equipment prior to and after maintenance is completed. If the machine is running better after maintenance, it’s proof that your team is increasing production capacity in a meaningful way.

Maintenance has the opportunity to drive production efficiency

Maintenance often gets talked about as an expense. A necessary evil. A cost-center. But the reality is, good maintenance can drive your business forward. When you keep the machines running, you can do more, faster, with less. That means happier customers, a better bottom line, and more profit for everyone in the supply chain. It’s a true win-win-win. In order to turn maintenance from a cost centre to a business driver, you need to reorient maintenance as a business function and start asking how maintenance can drive production efficiency. From there, a world of opportunity opens up. Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/increase-production-efficiency-with-maintenance/

Natural Language Processing Acquisition Opens Doors For Nuix Product Roadmap

Nuix announced its decision to buy Topos Labs, Inc. (Topos), a developer of natural language processing (NLP) software that helps computer systems better understand text and spoken words at speed and scale.

Headquartered in Boston, MA, Topos designed its artificial intelligence (AI) driven NLP platform to reduce the workload on data reviewers and analysts by surfacing relevant or risky content faster. Its mission is to provide customers with risk-oriented content intelligence for proactive risk management and regulatory compliance.

The addition to Topos to our already extensive software platform will, as you’ll see, play a noticeable role in making the lives of our users easier. Whether you’re tasked with conducting internal corporate investigations, handling legal discovery review or ensuring your organization is meeting its risk and regulatory obligations, Topos’ NLP capabilities and integration with Nuix in the coming months will be something to pay attention to.

POWERFUL ANALYSIS AND CLASSIFICATION

The platform, which is still in the early stages of its development, can already automate accurate analysis and classification of complex content in documents, electronic communications and social media. Business users can directly define NLP models through the software’s no-code user interface, reducing the time required to identify risk in the organization’s data. From there, it can present the risk assessment of confidential, sensitive and regulated content in user-friendly dashboards.

“The acquisition of Topos is an exciting evolution in Nuix’s journey,” said David Sitsky, Nuix Engineering Founder and Chief Scientist. “Integrating the Nuix Engine’s ability to process vast quantities of unstructured data with the next generation NLP capabilities of Topos will be game-changing for Nuix’s product portfolio.”

“Topos will strengthen Nuix’s product offering by helping customers get to relevant data even faster,” added Rod Vawdrey, Nuix Global Group CEO. “The potential for user-friendly dashboards and for users to easily customize the software to their specific needs also reflects Nuix’s focus on empowering our customers to search through unstructured data at speed and scale. We look forward to Christopher Stephenson [Topos CEO] and his talented team joining Nuix.”

WELCOMING THE TOPOS TEAM

As part of the deal the Topos team, including members of senior management, joined Nuix. By welcoming the Topos team and integrating the NLP capability at this stage of its development, Nuix can optimize the technology to benefit its investigations, eDiscovery and governance, risk and compliance (GRC) customers, further enhancing the unstructured data processing power of the Nuix Engine.

“We are delighted to join Nuix and are excited about combining our innovative NLP platform with the Nuix platform,” said Christopher Stephenson, CEO, Topos Labs. “Along with my talented engineering and product team, I look forward to deploying Topos to further enhance Nuix’s powerful processing capabilities and to being part of a global leader in investigative analytics and intelligence software.”

 

Source: https://www.nuix.com/blog/natural-language-processing-acquisition-opens-doors-nuix-product-roadmap

Working From Home Still Needs to Mean Working Securely

It’s no secret that telecommuting or working from home has been on the rise over the last ten years, particularly as high-speed Internet connections have become a ubiquitous part of our lives. Everyone knew that this was the way of the future – thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, “the future” arrived quite a bit faster than most people probably expected.

According to one recent study, at the highest point of the pandemic in May of 2020 roughly 35% of people found themselves working from home indefinitely. A significant percentage of them are expected to continue to do so long after the pandemic has passed us by.

Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Another study estimated that working from home has the potential to increase productivity by as much as 13%. About 77% of respondents to one Stanford study said that working from home at least a few times per month increased their productivity, allowing them to do more work in less time. It also improved employee satisfaction, while cutting attrition rates by as much as 50%.

Working from home does bring with it its fair share of challenges, too – especially for organizations dealing with inherently sensitive information like accounting firms. All the productivity and performance benefits in the world ultimately won’t mean a thing if employees are suddenly sharing and working with confidential information in an insecure environment.

Recently, the team at M-Files did a survey with Accountancy Age on data security-related issues that accounting firms in particular face when having employees work remotely. The survey’s findings paint a vivid and important picture about how far telecommuting has come, where it all might be headed, and the challenges we’ll need to face along the way.

The Issue With the “Old School” Methods of Communication and Collaboration

Obviously, it’s critically important that accounting professionals have the ability to create, share and collaborate on data with one another – regardless of where they happen to be. When everything shut down and people suddenly found themselves working from home indefinitely during the onset of the pandemic, firms turned to a number of “solutions” to help make this possible – with mixed results along the way.

According to the aforementioned study, some firms took to sending important documents and other pieces of information through the postal service to get it all into the hands of the people who needed it the most. The issue here is that it simply takes too long to get items to employees who depend on it to do their jobs – to say nothing of how this method makes collaboration essentially impossible.

Not only that, but a sudden delay in postal deliveries – like the ones experienced during the last half of 2020 – could grind productivity to a stop. Early on in 2020, three-day USPS mail service was already taking an additional four or five days to reach 99% of recipients. Flash forward to the end of the year, and it was taking an extra 14 days. This, coupled with the potential that a sensitive item could always be lost in the mail with no way to recover it, make this method essentially a non-starter.

Other firms turned to email – a tool that they’ve used successfully in the past. This, too, brings with it a number of issues – chief among them being confidentiality. It’s simply far too easy to click one wrong button or mistype a character and send sensitive client information to the wrong person.

If you’re trying to collaborate on a project with other employees, this too is less than ideal because it creates too many unnecessary steps. If three people need to sign off on a document before it can be approved, Person A has to send it to Person B – at which point the waiting begins. Maybe Person B gets to it today, maybe they don’t. Regardless, Person C literally can’t do anything because they’re waiting on someone to act on an item that this individual may or may not have even seen yet.

On top of it all, emails are inherently insecure. Unless you can guarantee that all remote employees are using advanced security methods like two-factor authentication – which you can’t – there is always the potential for an email account to be compromised, exposing all of the proprietary and sensitive information that has ever passed through it at the same time.

Finally, the working from home revolution has exposed a major issue at the very core of many accounting firms – namely that they’re using far too many applications or systems to manage and share business and client documents to begin with. According to the M-Files study, 23% of firms use at least three such systems on a daily basis. This can include things like email folders, files and folders across shared network drives, CRM and ERP systems, a dedicated accounting solution, file sharing applications like Dropbox and more.

At that point, simply knowing where to find an essential document becomes a uphill battle. Likewise, if something important is stored on a local shared network drive and you’re now working from home, how do you access it? The answer is clear:

You don’t.

Tearing Down the Old School to Build the New One

Thankfully, there are modern solutions built with this type of data security – not to mention communication and collaboration – in mind. It’s simply up for accounting firms to embrace them.

A document management solution like M-Files, for example, can consolidate all data across an enterprise into a single, easy-to-use system. It allows accounting firms to organize information based not on where it is, but on what it is – all while giving people the chance to access it through a single view without needing any expensive or time-consuming data migration.

Keep in mind that if information is being shared among employees with a private tool like Dropbox, firm leadership suddenly has no control over what it is and what is being done to it. It can easily be lost or compromised in some way and this is actually a major source of duplication and version issues. But with M-Files, you can leverage features like dynamic organizational permissions and permissions-based content and context to secure documents and folders based on who needs access to them to do their jobs. For the right person, that information is easier to find than ever. For the “wrong” person, they’re totally cut off from it – exactly as it should be.

In the end, working from home isn’t going away anytime soon – and that can very much be a good thing under the right conditions. Trying to manage sensitive accounting firm information using methods that were designed for a time when everyone was still in the office is only inviting disaster. Instead, true document and content management is needed and tools like M-Files can help bring it to accounting firms everywhere in the easiest and most cost-effective way possible.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/working-from-home-still-needs-to-mean-working-securely

Nuix Helps Australian Big Four Bank Manage Privacy Risks Across 240 million Documents

Personal and private data graphic
 

Under Australia’s Privacy Act, organizations that hold people’s tax file numbers (TFNs) must securely destroy or permanently deidentify those TFNs once they no longer have a legal reason for storing them. This might happen when someone stops being a customer.

Australia’s privacy regulations pay particular attention to TFNs because of the potential for them to be used in fraud and identity theft.

RISKS AND CHALLENGES

Managing these risks can be challenging. In large organizations, TFNs can be stored within vast oceans of data, in many different locations and file formats. This may include scanned handwritten documents such as application forms.

Without powerful technology to find and redact TFNs, the task of compliance can be almost impossible. If not dealt with properly, this sensitive information can be exposed in an instant by an embarrassing and costly data breach.

BIG FOUR BANK

To help proactively manage these risks, one of Australia’s Big Four banks recently deployed Nuix Workstation and the Nuix Data Finder plugin to find and redact TFNs across more than 240 million documents.

Using the unmatched power and speed of the patented Nuix Engine, bank staff quickly scanned the documents and identified those containing TFNs, significantly reducing the bank’s compliance risk profile within a very short timeframe.

PRIVACY DATA IS A GLOBAL ISSUE

Australian banks aren’t the only organizations facing this challenge. Healthcare providers, insurers, professional services firms and government agencies often hold enormous amounts of private and sensitive data. Privacy laws around the world strictly require organizations to only hold private data they need for business purposes and to ensure they remove any personally identifiable information they no longer have use for.

As volumes of data in the world increase at acompound annual growth rate of 23%– doubling every three years – this will become an impossible problem very soon unless organizations invest in the right technology to solve it.

Source: https://www.nuix.com/blog/nuix-helps-australian-big-four-bank-manage-privacy-risks-across-240-million-documents

Take Control of Your Customer Complaints to Unlock the Hidden Opportunity

Tips for Insurance Carriers

“A complaining customer can be your best opportunity to show how good you are…and to create a customer evangelist.”- Shep Hyken

I have been in the insurance industry for more than a decade now and have had the opportunity to work with Fortune 500 companies globally. One intriguing matter that I noticed is that insurers keep working with their monolithic legacy complaint management systems despite the challenges these systems present. This costs you not only customer loyalty, but you also deal with the risk of losing millions in complaint settlements (caused by mismanagement). Also, you end up compromising on the overall operational efficiency.

It’s time you think beyond traditional complaints management systems.

The right technology can help you simplify and optimize your complaints management process. Without a streamlined approach, complaints management can be cumbersome. For instance, setting up a complaint on a legacy system could take up to 90 minutes! With the right platform, it can be done in under 6-8 minutes! Also, with legacy systems, reporting for individual cases could take weeks to collate data from multiple sources. Whereas with the right technology, weeks’ worth of work can be done in minutes!

Today, insurers need a comprehensive digital transformation platform to manage all nuances of complaints management deftly. And cloud-based NewgenONE digital transformation platform with low code capability offers you all of the above, along with stability, scalability, and much more! Here’s how-

  • Complete digitization of the complaints process with no manual hand-offs
  • 100% compliance to necessary regulations such as FINRA, WORM, and more
  • Easy-to-use forms for quick complaint set-up; integration of the platform with necessary applications allows auto-filling of the forms, which speeds up the process
  • No more misfiling of complaints with 100% traceability, visibility, tracking, and auditing of each case
  • Easy upload, download, and streaming of large media files; our technology breaks down larger files into smaller bits to ensure there are no failures
  • Dexterous handling of each case with smart case assignment from a centralized dashboard
  • Advanced reporting—case summary packages with advanced search capability based on 20 parameters for quick reporting to regulatory authorities

The core point that I intend to drive home is that with NewgenONE, you can have a firm grip on customer complaints. This will help you avoid misrepresentations and fraudulent selling by agents, thereby protecting your organization from unnecessary exposure and liabilities. Furthermore, you can stay on top of compliance and regulatory requirements. The right technology can also mitigate all risks and optimize the complaints handling process to unravel optimized costs, operational efficiency, and enhanced customer experience.

If you are curious about how NewgenONE continues to empower global insurance organizations, read how we helped a Fortune 500 insurer automate and transform their complaints management and field inspection processes.

Source: https://newgensoft.com/blog/take-control-of-your-customer-complaints-to-unlock-the-hidden-opportunity/

The Key to a Successful Digital Transformation in the Work From Home Era

Regardless of the type of business, you’re talking about, organizations invest in digital transformation for a myriad of different reasons.

Some turn to the power of modern technology to improve efficiency – empowering employees to communicate from department to department easier than ever before. Others want to guarantee that data can flow freely across the enterprise, making sure that the critical information that people need to do their jobs is always in the right hands. Others still do it for cost savings. Not only can a digital transformation save a tremendous amount of money upfront, but it’s an investment that will also continue to pay dividends for years to come.

All of these benefits have always been important – but they’re especially so given everything going on in the world right now with the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March of 2020, as the pandemic first began to make its way across the world, millions of employees suddenly found themselves working from home indefinitely. As a result, many organizations suddenly realized that they lacked the infrastructure needed to support this revolution. In addition to not having access to the tools people needed to work as productively as possible, they found themselves in dire need of solutions that would allow them to share critical information as securely as possible. This is especially true in an industry like accounting and financial services, where firms are dealing with data that is decidedly more sensitive than most.

Even though vaccines are rolling out across the world, the number of remote workers isn’t exactly dropping. One recent study revealed that in August of 2021, about 13% of people were still working remotely full-time due to concerns about the pandemic and the newly emerged Delta variant, among others.

Indeed, working from home is a trend that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon – which means that organizations who were preparing for digital transformations prior to the pandemic need to seriously rethink their approach. The world has changed in a dramatic way and there’s no putting that particular genie back in the bottle. This is only a negative thing if you allow it to be. If you approach your digital transformation from the right perspective, you stand to gain enormously in a wide range of different ways, all of which are worth a closer look.

The Shifting Landscape of Post-Pandemic Life

Not too long ago, the team at M-Files partnered with Accountancy Age on a report that detailed what digital transformation – and business in general – has been like before, during, and (hopefully) after the pandemic. It featured survey respondents from a mix of organization sizes, ranging from those with 51 employees all the way up to those with 1,000 or more.

Overwhelmingly, the report revealed that accountancy firms in particular were simply not ready for the transition to fully remote work when lockdown restrictions were originally imposed. A massive 76.6% of respondents said that they initially battled significant challenges in terms of enabling staff to work productively from home – not to mention the difficulty they experienced in servicing clients as effectively as possible.

So much of this has to do with the fact that the accounting industry has long adopted a myriad of different applications and solutions to share, manage and store sensitive business data. This includes but is not limited to chat and video conferencing tools, enterprise content management systems, and more.

The issue here is that this almost immediately runs the risk of creating data silos that firms simply cannot afford to have existed. Again, information needs to be able to flow freely from one segment of the business to the next – regardless of where those employees happen to be. This is true not only in terms of allowing people to effectively collaborate with one another but with regard to empowering workflows as well. If critical data is trapped in a single repository and the person who needs it to do their job doesn’t have access to it – or worse, isn’t sure it exists at all – this only runs contrary to a firm’s goals.

Initially, in an effort to combat some of these risks, many accountancy firms took to sharing information with clients by sending physical copies in the mail. This was true of 44.4% of respondents. Another 79.4% of respondents said that they shared the same information via email. Not only do these methods pose a significant security risk, but they also affect traceability as well – leading to a poor client experience when the opposite should be your primary objective.

The Future of the Workforce Has Arrived

All of these things underline the importance of digital transformation in the modern era – particularly during a time when the “new normal” that we’re all about to return to will likely have little resemblance to the one we left behind.

Case in point: data security. As stated, accountancy firms in particular lacked the infrastructure needed to truly support remote workers in the most secure way possible. In addition to email folders, respondents to the aforementioned survey said that they used files and folders across shared network drives, solutions like Microsoft SharePoint, CRM and ERP systems, dedicated accounting solutions, file sharing applications like Google Drive, and more to manage and share business and client documents within the firm itself.

The right approach to digital transformation is an opportunity to consolidate all of this down into one simple, easy-to-use system that is built with modern workflows in mind. M-Files, for example, is a document management system that allows information to be accessed based on not where a file is stored, but on what is contained within it. All data is stored via a system that can be accessed anywhere, at any time, on any device. More than that, permissions can be set to make sure that only the people who need a particular file to do their jobs have access to it – thus preventing that information from falling into the wrong hands.

Likewise, a digital transformation can be a great opportunity to create branded, customizable client portals that themselves can help accountancy firms better collaborate with clients. Not only does this guarantee the security and privacy of client documents, but it also improves the digital client experience as well.

In the end, a digital transformation is a massive undertaking, yes – but for most accountancy firms, the pandemic has proven that it’s an investment that is well worth making. “Change” and “disruption” are only negative words if you allow them to be. With the right perspective, you can see them for what they really are – opportunities just waiting to be taken advantage of to propel the next decade of your firm’s success and beyond.

Source: https://resources.m-files.com/blog/the-key-to-a-successful-digital-transformation-in-the-work-from-home-era

How to combine data and storytelling to get your maintenance project approved

Competing for money and resources can be brutal. Everyone wants the same slice of budget that just opened up. That includes the maintenance team. There are probably a thousand things you can think of doing with a little extra money. And you know they would all make a difference. But you need to convince the people with the keys to the budget that this money will be well-spent in your hands. That requires you to stand out from the crowd and get business leaders to buy into your vision for your maintenance project. If it seems like it would be easier to climb Mount Everest than to get that buy-in, this article is for you. It gives you a formula for combining two powerful forces in the fight for project approval: Data and storytelling. There are six steps for building the perfect pitch for your maintenance project. At each stage, you’ll find out how to use data and storytelling to elevate your ask above others so you can get approval for your project and the budget to match.

Step 1: Present a problem

Why this works

Your project is a change. And change is painful. That’s why you need to show that the pain of doing nothing (aka your current situation) is worse than the pain of changing. Find a problem that your project solves and lead with it.

How to tell the story

There are three steps for telling the story of your problem:
  1. Describe the problem
  2. Show what the problem looks like
  3. Explain the impact of the problem
The problem: Our storeroom is disorganized, What it looks like: Technicians can’t find the parts they are looking for and it’s hard to track parts usage, The impact: Work takes longer than expected and is leading to delays, downtime, and more backlog

What data to use

Make your best effort to quantify your problem. In the example above, you might talk about:
  • The average time to retrieve parts from the storeroom
  • The number of emergency parts needed each month
  • The number of downtime hours tied to the disorganized storeroom
Some other examples of quantifying a problem include:
  • Cost: How much is the problem costing your team?
  • Time: Are you spending more time than you should on a task? What is that keeping you from doing instead?
  • Health and safety: Are audit compliance tasks not getting done, or are near misses getting higher?
  • Employee retention: Is it hard to hang on to good team members?
  • Quality: How is a deficiency for your team affecting the end product?

Step 2: Outline your solution

Why this works

Now that you have a villain in your story (the problem), it’s time to introduce the hero (your project). People like to poke holes in a project because it’s a leap into the unknown. But they’re less likely to do this when the project is the answer to a problem they’re worried about.

How to tell the story

Describing your solution with a three-step approach:
  • Describe your solution/project
  • Explain how it solves the problem
  • Outline the outcome/benefits
We’ll hire a storeroom manager who will be responsible for organizing, purchasing, and tracking parts. Having someone dedicated to managing the storeroom will allow us to find parts faster, complete work easier, and respond to emergencies quickly. We’ll be able to slash downtime, reduce our massive backlog, and hit our throughput targets.

What data to use

Attaching numbers to your claims will help them resonate. For example, find out how many labor hours you could save if technicians didn’t need to spend their time searching for parts. That may seem like a small number. But if you multiply it by weeks, months, or years, it can add up fast. All those benefits don’t exist in a vacuum. If you spend five hours a month on repairs instead of rifling through the storeroom, it could mean five more hours of production, which could be huge for your organization. There are a few ways you can get this data:
  • Work order data: If you want to improve a process, break it out on your work orders and have technicians record how much time or money they spend on that process
  • Your peers: If you don’t know how much of an hour is worth to the production team, ask them or consult the OEM guidelines for an asset
  • Conduct a controlled experiment: Test your solution on a small, low-risk asset or process and measure the results before and after (this will also help you in step #4).

Step 3: Align your solution with business goals

Why this works

Everyone, from the CEO to a junior technician, has a target to hit. If your project gets people closer to hitting their targets, you’re more likely to get their support. It turns your project from something the maintenance department wants to do to something the business has to do. It creates an emotional investment in the idea, which can quickly turn into a financial investment.

How to tell the story

This story is told in three parts:
  1. Determine the goals of the business: This could be anything from reducing costs to opening new sites around the world
  2. Connect that goal to maintenance work: Highlight what the maintenance team is doing and how that impacts the higher-level goal
  3. Tie that work to the project: Explain how your project can either close a gap or improve what you’re already doing in your maintenance program
The business goal: Improve cost efficiency, The maintenance work: Maintenance costs (labor and inventory) impact the cost efficiency of production and distribution, The project: Hiring a storeroom manager will cut maintenance costs by reducing spending on emergency parts.

What data to use

You’ve identified the impact of your maintenance project on business goals. Now it’s time to answer the question, “By how much?” Here are a few examples of tying a maintenance project to company initiatives with data:
  • Cost efficiency: Hiring a specialist will allow us to cut contractor costs by $100,000 a year and increase production time by 8% a year
  • Expansion: Buying maintenance software gives us the power to standardize maintenance processes so we can set up new maintenance teams in 30 days instead of 60 (This guide has many more tips for convincing your boss to invest in software)
  • Risk reduction: A dedicated inventory manager will track and forecast parts usage so we can prepare for supply chain disruptions and cut emergency purchases by 40%

Step 4: Prove the project will work

Why this works

People hate the unknown. Risk is a dirty word, especially in budget discussions. That’s why proving your project will work is essential for getting it, and its budget, approved. A lot of skepticism around your plan will disappear if you can show your idea can, and has been done, before.

How to tell the story

There are a few different angles you can take to prove your project is a sure thing:
  1. Find examples of other companies that have done the same project with good results. Bonus points if it’s a competitor or a well-known company.
  2. See if another team or site at your company has gone through a similar project and what the positive outcomes were. For example, how have maintenance teams at other sites approached the problem you’re trying to solve?
  3. Conduct a small experiment or pilot of your idea and present the findings. If you do a trial of free maintenance software, you can show how a paid version will bring a return on the investment.
Where to find proof that your project will work: Case studies, Similar internal projects, pilot programs.

What data to use

Collecting data from case studies or pilot projects is only half the battle. The strongest pitches take these results and translate them to fit your team and the scale of the project. For example, another company may have seen 30% fewer breakdowns after installing sensors on all their machines. But what if it’s only realistic for you to monitor sensor readings on a handful of assets? Will it yield the same results? Here’s another example: Let’s say a month-long pilot project has helped you save 20 hours of administrative work. If you put this project in place full-time, it would save you 240 hours a year. In other words, it would free up 12% of your time.

Step 5: Identify risks

Why this works

Every project has its risks. This isn’t a secret. Ignoring potential pitfalls will quickly send your project into ‘too good to be true’ territory. Anticipating these speed bumps shows you are prepared to navigate around them without spending too much time or money. And that’ll make your boss (and their boss) more comfortable with the project.

How to tell the story

The secret is to pair every risk you’ve identified with a plan for conquering it, like these examples:
  1.  Risk: Technicians won’t use the software we’re introducing Plan: Involve them in the selection process so they’re comfortable with the system
  2.  Risk: It will take longer than we think to onboard a new hire Plan: Record short tutorials for routine tasks to shorten the learning curve
  3.  Risk: Our backlog will get bigger while we implement the project Plan: Develop a system to prioritize and complete backlogged work to reduce risk
  4.  Risk: We’ll overspend on the project Plan: Create a well-defined project roadmap to prevent scope creep and overspending

What data to use

Risk prevention is about spotting red flags on the horizon. Just like a high level of vibration could signal an impending breaking down, there’s data that’ll help you find a threat to your project and stop it. Presenting these KPIs during your pitch will show that you’re not gauging risk based on a hunch. For example, you could measure adoption rates if you were implementing new software. If adoption rates are low, you could do more training to get your team comfortable with the system. Other examples of red flag data include:
Costs, Completion rates for project tasks, Backlog of project tasks, Planned time on project tasks vs. actual time on project tasks, Data quality, Employee satisfaction

Step 6: Outline your plan and requirements

Why this works

This step is about filling out the specifics of your plan so everyone understands how it’ll affect you, your team, and the rest of the organization in the weeks or months to come. It also shows that the resources and support you’re asking for will be put to use quickly and effectively to produce reliable results faster.

How to tell the story

Avoid a massive list of everything you plan to accomplish and the resources you need. Break your project into milestones. Then figure out what you’ll need and how you’ll measure success at each step using this framework:
Milestones A, B & C with 1. Timeline  2. Tasks  3. Stakeholders  4. Resources and costs  5. KPIs
  1. Timeline: How long will this step of the project take? Pro tip: if it takes longer than a couple of months, consider breaking this step into even smaller touchpoints.
  2. Tasks: What will you accomplish at this step of the project? If the end goal of this step is to complete an audit of all weekly scheduled maintenance, one of your tasks could be to review all task lists for accuracy.
  3. Stakeholders: Determine who’ll be involved at each step of the project. Pro tip: Highlight how involved each stakeholder will be. For example, who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed?
  4. Resources and costs: What resources will you need to accomplish each task and how much will they cost? This can range from labor and parts costs to software subscriptions.
  5. KPIs: How will you measure success at each stage. This could be anything from what you’ve accomplished (ie. audit 50% of work orders) to its impact (ie. wrench time in the last 90 days).

What data to use

A lot of focus will be put on costs at this step. The best way to soften the blow is to compare the cost of the project to what the company is spending (or losing) without your solution. For example, hiring a storeroom manager and creating an inventory program will cost about $125,000 a year. The company is currently spending about $250,000 a year on lost production time and emergency parts purchases. When measuring success metrics, look at rolling averages to mark progress. Set up your metrics like this:
  1. Define your success metrics. Ie. Time to retrieve parts
  2. Set benchmarks. Ie. It takes an average of 20 minutes to retrieve parts
  3. Track 90-day progress. Ie. The average time to retrieve parts has dropped by 33% (6.5 minutes) over the last 90 days

The perfect pitch combines data and storytelling

People don’t invest in projects. They invest in problems, solutions and outcomes. And the best way to get their attention is with stories. Sprinkling some data in there drives home the size, scale, and impact of those problems, solutions, and outcomes. You don’t need a ground-breaking idea to use this framework. It works just as well for a massive overhaul of your maintenance systems as it does for getting extra money for a contractor. So the next time you need to justify your budget, pitch an idea, or just want a vote of confidence for a new process, just remember that storytelling and data are your best friends. Source: https://www.fiixsoftware.com/blog/using-data-and-storytelling-to-get-maintenance-project-and-budget-approval/

Is Low Code the Game Changer for Successful Digital Transformation?

The Struggle with Digital Transformation (DX) is Real Digital transformation offers an opportunity for every industry and business to thrive. Change is happening rapidly today, pushing enterprises to seek, embrace, and effectively manage digital transformation. But the reality is that most of these efforts struggle to succeed. Research by McKinsey & Company indicated that less than 30% of organizations were able to achieve their stated objectives as they embarked on transformation efforts. Some of the common roadblocks they have faced include inadequate strategic planning, poor time management, and lack of right talent. Digital transformation can be complex, and this complexity only increases if organizational systems are not in sync.

Upending DX Challenges: Low Code Platform is the Answer

To succeed with DX initiatives, enterprises need to break down their larger digital transformation objectives into smaller and manageable goals. And then deploy technology or tools that can optimize their systems and processes. Low code platforms offer the perfect opportunity for companies to manage complexities and put the wheels of DX in motion. To break it down, low code software development necessitates minimal coding and resorts to visual application development. It can automate the most complex of business processes and digitally transform them in the shortest possible time. Low code platforms are a true game-changer for many companies because it offers rapid application development, flexible integration, and quick innovation for all. To learn more about the capabilities of a low code platform, here is an interesting podcast by Newgen Software’s Global Head of Marketing, Hemant Makhija. He decodes digital transformation and provides actionable insights on how companies can consider jumpstarting their path towards DX. He also shares an interesting success story of how a leading health insurance provider developed and launched a core health insurance system using Newgen’s digital transformation platform with low code capability within eight months. Source: https://newgensoft.com/blog/is-low-code-the-game-changer-for-successful-digital-transformation/