How to Prevent Unplanned Downtime using Cloud based Equipment Maintenance Software

Unexpected Downtime. That's one of the worst things that can happen in the manufacturing supply chain. It affects your customers and costs money on lost production time. In fact, a publication from the National Institute of Standards and Technology estimates that of the 82% of companies that have experienced unplanned downtime over the past three years, those outages lasted an average of four hours and cost an average of $2 million. So what can you do to stay in the other 18%?



One of the largest controllable manufacturing costs is in maintenance operations. As zero unplanned downtime is becoming a priority for more and more organizations, how you manage your maintenance is critical. Your equipment needs to be running at peak performance and efficiency. There are two approaches to plant maintenance:

Corrective Maintenance is a repair or restorative task done to return the equipment to optimal operating condition. This type of maintenance is typically not planned and is more reactive.

Preventative Maintenance is a more proactive approach to maintenance where routine adjustments, part replacement, cleaning and inspection are all done to keep the equipment in optimal working condition. Problems or upcoming repair work is noted and scheduled for a time that will have the lowest impact to production. Maximizing working time and life of the asset also results in significant cost savings.

Companies that conduct regular preventative maintenance on their equipment see benefits like:

  • Increased production performance
  • Improved staff safety
  • Better product quality
  • Extension of life of their assets
  • Prevention of major unexpected repairs and unscheduled production downtime
  • Ability to budget and plan for equipment upkeep costs

Maintenance Plans & Cloud Maintenance Software Options

Maintenance programs are a foundational requirement for preventative maintenance of an asset. In the NIST study, 70 percent of respondents weren’t aware of when their equipment was due for maintenance, upgrade or replacement. Corrective maintenance is not going to cut it for the modern supply chain.  

Digital technologies are transforming the manufacturing industry, and you can use cloud maintenance software to create and execute a maintenance plan for your organization. Moving to the cloud enables you to streamline planning and execution of work orders and achieve end-to-end visibility into your maintenance operations to make better decisions. If you are looking for a modern, integrated maintenance solution that merges cloud, desktop, mobile all into one, you should consider Oracle Maintenance Cloud.  

Read More: Why You should be considering Cloud

Leveraging Technology to Schedule a Maintenance Plan

Define Your Assets
The first step in any maintenance plan is to define your assets. If you need to slowly roll out the plan, start with your mission-critical assets. Within Oracle Maintenance Cloud, you can define the necessary master data for your organization hierarchy & process standards, including: calendars, work areas, work centers, and resources. You’ll take your list of assets and create a maintainable asset in Asset Definition so they can then be properly maintained and repaired. You can also define an Asset Hierarchy to help visualize where assets are located and the implications of an asset failure.

Gather Maintenance Information
The next step is to gather maintenance information. This includes recommended maintenance on an asset and the resources and materials needed to complete the job. Start your research with the original equipment manufacturer manuals for maintenance recommendations.

  • What tasks should be performed daily, weekly, monthly, etc?
  • Analyze maintenance history – what failures have you experienced in the past?
  • Talk to your maintenance technicians and operators. Find out about frequent repairs or inspections that should be added to the maintenance list. Your technicians know your equipment best!
  • What resources and materials do technicians need to complete each job?

In Oracle Maintenance Cloud, you can define the maintenance operation steps, and then drag and drop resources and materials to the process in Work Definition.

Mobilize Your Workforce
Whether running your maintenance plan manually or using cloud maintenance software, automating the paper-based processes out in the field is another way to reduce labor and costs. It takes extra time for your technicians relying on paper print outs to complete the job and input the data. If they don’t know what items are on-hand, they may have to check multiple locations or need to order out-of-stock materials. If they notice a problem during an inspection, they may have to communicate a corrective maintenance work order to a manager or maybe they fix it on the fly and managers don’t have visibility into the problem.

Mobile maintenance solutions like RF-SMART let you run your shop floor faster and more efficiently by putting mobile in your technicians’ hands. Our mobile Plant Maintenance solution allows your technicians to execute preventive maintenance work orders based on the plans you set up in Oracle. They can also create corrective maintenance work orders directly in Oracle straight from the shop floor.  

In Oracle Maintenance Cloud, the Maintenance Dispatch List provides an overall view of scheduled work, and changes to operations that may impact your priorities.  It only requires ‘two-clicks’ to complete work orders, enter material and labor required to complete a work order, and enter work order completion information.

Analyze the Data
Finally, for maintenance plans to be effective, they need to be periodically reviewed over time  to make sure that they are aligned with the latest supplier-defined recommendations, meeting maintenance goals, and are optimized to reduce labor and material costs. Maintenance Management in Oracle Cloud provides a quick look at critical information about your maintenance operations. You can view key metrics, and drill into the details to resolve any issues. Metrics about your problematic assets, as well as the overall maturity of your maintenance program are also provided.

Oracle Cloud Maintenance Module

As you are auditing your plan, make sure you look at the data. If an asset is breaking down with regular maintenance, what was the cause? Do you need to schedule more maintenance or is it time to replace the equipment? A rule of thumb when deciding on whether to repair or replace is the 50/50 rule - you don’t replace it until the cost of repairing the machine exceeds more than half the cost of the desired replacement machine. For an accurate calculation, the costs of repairs should include labor expenses as well as the cost of parts for the repair.

Oracle also has a robust cost management solution. You can define cost by asset, work order or type of work performed, providing you with the insight you need to control material and resource costs. You’ll be able to monitor maintenance work order costs throughout the entire life-cycle of the work order.

Now that you know how to create a preventative maintenance plan and the benefits of cloud-based maintenance software, it’s time to revamp your approach to maintenance.

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