Managing equipment waste: knowing when to say goodbye
Knowing when to ditch old equipment is tricky but essential to avoid waste and downtime.
“Data is a precious thing and will last longer than the systems themselves,” wrote Tim Berners-Lee back in 2006 in A Framework for Web Science. It’s an interesting quote because 19 years later it can be applied to what we are starting to see in industry. As new research from Forrester Consulting has revealed, the value from equipment and service data will exceed the value of equipment itself within five years.
The research, From Grease to Code: What Drives Digital Service Transformation, found that 41% of organisations say they don’t know if they are retiring equipment prematurely, and a lack of service data insights means they have no knowledge of how much capacity remains in their capital assets.
Interestingly, this statistic was taken from a cross section of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, utilities and telecommunications. Organisations of all shapes and sizes are reaching the same conclusion. Something drastic has to be done to ensure they are not pouring money down the drain by ripping out machines too early or risking productivity by keeping them in situ for too long.
“Firms struggle with understanding the lifetime of their equipment and how to improve it,” says Forrester Consulting in the report. “As a result, they face high maintenance costs and unplanned downtime that affects their revenue and customer experience.”
Most, according to the report, have high maintenance and operating equipment costs, as well as a lack of knowledge on how to reduce these costs. More than half of organisations surveyed say unplanned downtime is becoming a bigger issue, which of course directly impacts revenues and customer experience.
It’s a huge challenge for organisations, especially those with considerable fixed assets. While the average lifespan of equipment is under ten years for most companies, 80% of firms say they need better insight to extend the life of their equipment. Close to 70% of businesses say extending equipment life would result in financial gains.
Whoever owns the assets also owns the risk of over-capacity and under-utilisation, poor machine up-time, management of the supply chain required to keep the machines running, recruitment, training, and retaining staff to service the equipment – or paying someone else to do so. It’s a catalogue of tasks that needs managing, but how?
Firstly, there’s an assumption that information about a capital asset resides in the company ERP system, but that’s a record of business transactions of the equipment “as sold”, which doesn’t describe what the equipment looks like today. Overcoming invisibility of assets should be a primary task and that means on-going health, repairs, patches and add-ons.
Accurate data about “equipment as-maintained” is critically important for any business as it not only enables companies to see how much longer they can ‘sweat’ their assets, but it also ensures they’re dispatching the right technicians with the proper tools should anything go wrong. The last thing organisations want is to delay repairs by having multiple visits or truck rolls to get a machine up and running again. Otherwise it’s a bit like a doctor trying to help a patient without having any medical records. It’s still possible to fix the problem but it could take much longer to do.
And of course, it’s important to take the issue of ‘skills fade’ into account. As a piece of equipment ages, so too does the workforce – you need a system to share knowledge and collaborate around asset maintenance.
In short, businesses need a system of record for equipment as it is maintained to prevent downtime, lost revenue, negative customer experiences and expensive and unnecessary premature retirement of capital assets. With live equipment information, technicians can minimise outages and downtime. Response rates will increase and be more efficient. Calls to the service desk to log a “case” should become obsolete as service teams can be alerted to issues through live product visibility.
Only then can organisations truly know when their machines’ time is truly up.
Dave Hart is Executive Vice President at ServiceMax
ServiceNow pumps millions into EU service compliance
ServiceNow, the digital workflow company, has announced a multimillion euro investment to help EU customers meet compliance requirements.
The legal, technical and organisational safeguards will help companies to comply with the the Schrems II judgment and European Data Protection Board (EDPB) Recommendations issued in June 2021.
ServiceNow’s investment means all EU-hosted data will be exclusively handled within the EU, and the cloud-hosted digital workflow provider claims its solution will come “without impact on current delivery and service”.
ServiceNow upgrade: free of charge
There will be no cost for current customers to opt in to the data compliance solution, even though ServiceNow is investing an unspecified multimillion euro sum and hiring more than 80 new staff across the bloc.
Mark Cockerill, vice president legal, EMEA and global head of privacy at ServiceNow, said: “With any regulation change, cloud services companies have a choice. They can adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach or get proactive and help customers and partners innovate. At ServiceNow we are on the front foot, continually investing in our customers, allowing them to operate with the highest level of choice and control over their EU data.
ServiceNow upgrade: ‘peace of mind’
“Our new EU-centric service delivery model will give our current customers and partners peace of mind. For customers and partners operating in highly regulated industries, or in the public sector, or those that have yet to make the switch to the cloud, this model gives them certainty and simplicity when selecting the cloud service that best suits their needs.”
Carla Arend, lead analyst, cloud in europe for IDC, said, “The Schrems II ruling has led European organizations to revisit their cloud-related data protection policies and processes when it comes to international data transfers through cloud services.
“Contractual, privacy, and security safeguards and the assurance that data will be kept and handled in the EU help European organizations to comply with European data protection laws while taking advantage of global cloud platforms. Vendors, such as ServiceNow, that invest to support their customers in response to this ruling are providing essential choice to their customers.”