Blog: Price of production disturbances

As a sales leader, I meet tens of existing and potential customers every month. During the past few months I’ve realized that something has changed in their behavior. Instead of focusing 100% to direct operation and/or maintenance spend with an accuracy of a euro cent there has been vastly increased focus on productivity. Perhaps this change is caused by improved economic operating environment, a strong push from CxO-level to investigate the possibilities of IoT or something else, but I sincerely believe that this is a positive development.

It is surprising how differently customers from different industrial sectors are aware of the value of lost production. In energy industry, the most educated companies know exactly what the value of each unavailability event was. Other companies, who produce a greater variety of products, may only have a vague idea of the cost of disturbances. In both situations, it is beneficial to gain more understanding of what caused the disturbance (i.e. the root cause), how it could have been prevented and what was the actual impact.

Latest predictive analytics tools can be utilized to analyze the behavior of even the most complex production plants to predict failures well in advance. This enables operators to react to abnormal behavior and even help them to prevent disturbances to production. By doing this, production losses and unavailability costs can be at least minimized, if not eliminated.

In some of our service solutions, in which we have combined predictive analytics with effectively managed operation and maintenance services, we have achieved up to 90% reduction in production losses. However, this requires seamless cooperation between operation and maintenance personnel and proper management tools and structures to ensure implementation of corrective actions in timely manner. In any case, predictive analytics can be used to optimize more traditional maintenance services such as predictive maintenance program. This also greatly increases the productivity of maintenance personnel and eliminates over- and under-maintenance of critical devices and thus disturbances to production.

I want to challenge all readers to critically evaluate your own operations; do you know what the cost of disturbances is at your production site and have you taken all feasible actions to reduce it? Have you implemented new tools to identify and eliminate root causes and how many of your unavailability events could have been prevented? If 90% sounds too good to be true, please let me know and I’ll tell you how we have achieved it.

Mika Riekkola
Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Maintpartner Group

mika.riekkola (at) maintpartner.com