Jul 30 2015

Top 10 ROI Metrics to Justify an EAM/CMMS

MT_Blog_Need_for_EAM-350pxIf someone asked you about your business maintenance plan, what would you say? Do you have a proper one in place? Is it working? How are you tracking it? What is your ROI year over year?

These are questions that companies are faced with that do and do not have maintenance plans, so I have provided the top 10 below to give you a sneak peek in how these ROI statistics can help your business save money in training, documentation, and energy costs to name a few.

How Badly Do You Want To Protect Your Business?

A proper infrastructure relates back to the initial plans to maintain it. The 80/20 rule is a great reference because 80 percent of your maintenance activities should be proactive, while 20 percent should be doing unplanned maintenance items.

If a business constantly waits for items to burn out, the end result will be spending more money in fixing the problem rather than maintaining it. It is the curse of the “why fix something if it isn’t broken?” People generally think about the initial cost rather than long term benefits of using a CMMS.

For example, if a staff member does not check a HVAC unit regularly for corrosion using a CMMS then there is a good chance the unit could break unexpectedly causing the repair cost to be higher than if there was a proper maintenance plan in place.

10 Sneak Peak Maintenance ROI Statistics

Maintenance refers to several assets in a business including: training, documentation, and utilities; below are the top 10 maintenance ROI statistics.

  1. Preventive Maintenance: a company can save between 12-18% using preventive maintenance over reactive maintenance
  2. Facilities implementing proper HVAC maintenance will use 15-20% less energy
  3. Every dollar spent on preventive maintenance will save you five dollars on other expenses
  4. Commissioning can save a typical 100,000-ft 2 hotel 10-15% of its energy costs or roughly $20,000 per year
  5. Buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 39% of U.S energy consumption in 2005 and of that total commercial buildings accounted for 46.3%
  6. 80% of employees waste an average of 30 minutes per day retrieving information
  7. Professionals spend 5-15% reading information but up to 50% looking for it
  8. The average spending per learner is $1,202
  9. 18 minutes is the average search time for a document
  10. One bad review on Yelp can cost you 30 customers

Turning ROI Statistics into a Reality

Even in a small business, paper documents, assets, etc. can be a lot to keep track of and take a ton of time. Relying solely on a paper-based system is not practical in today’s world especially when software makes it easier. The idea is to work harder and smarter. Work harder on a maintenance plan and smarter by delegating tasks that are not getting attended to when staff is being taken away to retrieve lost documents, etc. Maintenance and inspection are critical parts of a business’ success.

Keep your assets running properly and in optimum condition to ensure their longevity using an asset management plan. This will not only preserve your assets but save you money in the long run.

This article was originally posted here.


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2015/07/top-10-roi-metrics-to-justify-an-eamcmms/

Jul 28 2015

3 Ways an MES / MOM System Can Improve Quality

Quality Improvement Agility

Customer expectations continue to elevate. Across every industry, digital connectivity is empowering greater market knowledge. In manufacturing, products must now be developed and delivered more rapidly than ever before with an increasingly personalized and complex specifications. The days of doing “one-off” production processes are gone.

Fortunately, IT systems have come a long way to help address this complexity. Both design and execution systems must be top-notch if manufacturers want to remain competitive. While it is well recognized that investment in these systems is needed to keep up with the pace of today’s global marketplace, the challenge is to figure out the best course of action – and how to best justify such an investment. Here is where there is no one, clear answer. How does one best evaluate a system that can simultaneously maintain high levels of throughput, quality and customer service?

The first challenge is that seldom can one system be everything to every manufacturer. The second challenge is that most manufacturers are already working with a collection of systems – so starting with a blank slate is seldom an option (note this type of scenario has its own set of challenges … there is no “easy” ride).

On the topic of quality, it does no good to design a product with great quality specs if it can’t be built accordingly. Quality must be planned and executed with the greatest of precision. And, it must do so in an environment where specifications, designs and product options are frequently quite dynamic.

One approach I have seen that makes sense is to pick one system as the “foundation” or “core” of your IT strategy. It makes most sense if this system is central to your manufacturing operations management – and is ideal if it all shares a set of common business processes and data model. For the purpose of this blog post, I will make the assumption that you use either a Manufacturing Execution System

(MES) or a Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) solution as your “core” system, which then can help you guide your way through the decision process of what other applications should be used to help achieve your overall production goals.

To that end, an MES/MOM can actually have a significant impact on the quality level that your products and processes are designed and executed. So, if you are considering implementation of an MES/MOM, here are three factors to consider that will result in higher quality across your enterprise operations. For those considering upgrading their MES/MOM, be sure to consider these criteria as part of your Return on Investment evaluation.

1. Avoid designs getting lost in translation

The manufacturing businesses that use intelligent IT systems tied to their MES/MOM can harness, evaluate, and manage that data far more effectively, with many rewards to follow. The combination of in-depth data analytics across operations coupled with an end-to-end view of product and process traceability equips employees with the tools they need to react faster to order changes and process improvement, resulting in an increase in quality.

New products with complicated specifications and designs are regularly introduced, requiring quick changes to materials and management. An MES/MOM can act as an accelerator, speeding up response times automatically, without manual intervention. This is especially important in highly regulated industries such as aerospace, defense or life sciences where high levels of compliance and quality are essential. Manufacturers need to be aligned between plants, departments, and machines – and to the customer. Without clear channels of communication and an efficient use of IT, designs run the risk of being lost in translation and consequently, falling short of design and end user expectations.

2. Make flexibility a priority

Manufacturing products to personalized specifications tend to be a work in progress. Products are not always perfect on the first run. In reality, plans become outdated very quickly. Alterations and new ideas are frequently filtered down from the design team to the plant floor. As a result, manufacturing processes must be flexible to engineering change orders, and be able to be adapted efficiently, without excessive wastage. By allowing teams to build quality and design activities directly into production processes and material management flows, quality control is optimized at every step.

3. Be ready for anything!

As manufacturing becomes increasingly globalized and impacted by an ever-expanding number of external factors (think the Fourth Industrial Revolution), internal processes and management direction must be able to respond and adjust, seemingly at any moment. Businesses require complete transparency of their manufacturing processes in order to guarantee traceability of products throughout the lifecycle. A unified, end-to-end approach allows issues or recalls to be handled quickly and with minimum disruption to the customer and end consumer. But, more than simply monitoring what is going on during processes, they must be well understood so that if a future change is needed, the ramifications of such change can be readily understood quickly, to avoid fixing one problem in exchange for another.


Sophisticated IT systems like an MES/MOM can allow manufacturers to fix most of these issues for the lowest possible cost, and at virtually any point of the process. This unified or “core” strategy is invaluable, and can help you to improve your process and products while eliminating needless errors along the way.

In an environment where the customer is king and manufacturers are competing to keep up with growing expectations and tighter timeframes, the investment in an IT system has wide implications and an increasingly larger share of the responsibility. Businesses must find a way to optimize their working processes and use tools like MES/MOM to drive efficiency and quality on a global level. If manufacturers want to exceed customer expectations for quality, whilst maintaining top levels of throughput, the right MES/MOM could be the answer they are all looking for.


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2015/07/3-ways-an-mes-mom-system-can-improve-quality/

Jul 23 2015

Zoe Clark

A Compelling Case for Plastic Shipping Pallets

plastic-v-woodEvery part of the manufacturing production, warehouse and distribution process is now under scrutiny. The search for lower costs, higher sustainability and greater safety is now transforming the pallet industry. If you are still using wooden pallets, here are 6 reasons why now is time to make the shift to plastic.

Ease of Transportation

Plastic pallets are typically lighter than their wood counterparts. So, this means less wear and tear on the equipment you use to move or transport them. In addition, shipping and relocating plastic pallets is lighter, so will cost less in transportation fees.

Lower Total Cost of Ownership

Wooden pallets tend to splinter, crack and absorb water in humid environments. They frequently break, so require a labor resource to fix or repair. Wooden pallets’ multi-piece construction is not always automation friendly, which is increasingly an issue. Plastic pallets can be picked up by a forklift from four sides, instead of just two, helping to create other automation or process efficiency. At best, it causes delays or programming modifications, which can cost more to manage over the long term. While plastic pallets have a higher initial cost than wooden ones, over the total lifetime of the pallet, plastic ones cost less.

Higher Customer Satisfaction

One attribute of plastic pallets is consistency in shape and form, and a lack of splinters or damage that can impact the goods that are stored or being transported on them. In any of these cases, a deformed pallet that damages the goods they should be supporting and protecting will undoubtedly lead to a poor customer experience.

Better Sustainability / Green Factor

Plastic pallets have a more durable and longer life span. That means they will last longer. A typical wooden pallet has a lifespan of only 3-5 years; a plastic pallet can last up to 10 years, or 250 trips, provided they are loaded according to specifications, and that environmental temperature regulations are followed. As an indication of how much more durable a plastic pallet is, there is an active market for used plastic pallets. And, leasing options exist, which doesn’t make as much sense for wood products. Industries that benefited from switching to plastic pallets in Sydney include food, mattress, dairy, wine & spirits, chemical, flooring, export, steel, electrical, appliance, baking, material handling and packaging industries.

More Sanitary

Choosing plastic pallets is a more sanitary choice, given that they don’t rot and can be washed with high pressure hoses. By sanitizing them between uses, the chance of cross-contamination is minimized, helping to reduce the spread of food borne illnesses like Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria. Plastic pallets have smooth surfaces so are more “cleanable”; many offer flow-through design for easier washing. Alternatively, as wood pallets are more porous, they require periodical fumigation or heat treatment to comply with ISPM-15. These treatments further damage wood pallets, thereby shortening their lifespan.

A Safer Option

On average, a wood pallet has about 150 nails in it. A loose rusty nail or splinter can damage and even contaminate packed foods. And, they can be a source of injury, lost labor time or a painful infection. There have been cases where companies shifted to plastic pallets as their customers refused shipments that arrived on damaged wooden pallets, due in part to safety concerns. Plastic pallets, on the other hand, are produced by injection molding, as a single piece with no links or nails required. Virtually impossible to splinter or crack under normal load conditions, they are also impervious to insects, rodents and fungus growth. Better stacking ability means it is less likely a stack of plastic pallets will fall over, potentially causing injury.


Timber has historically been considered a prime material for pallets for more than a century. It was affordable, readily available, and well understood. Change is often difficult. Most would like to avoid it, at all costs. However, in today’s world of manufacturing transformation, change is the norm, rather than the exception. New processes, methodologies, materials and concepts are now being embraced as the global competition manufactures operate in now dictates it. Today, it is become clear that plastic pallets have so many advantages that their initial higher price is quickly compensated by durability, life span, reusability and an unbelievable ROI.

What do you think? I welcome your feedback, if I have missed anything!


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2015/07/a-compelling-case-for-plastic-shipping-pallets-2/

Jul 21 2015

5 Challenges Electronics Manufacturers Face In 2015

electronics_manufacturersThe world is quickly and constantly transforming as new technologies continue to enter the market. This rapid pace of change is perhaps felt most heavily in the electronics industry which brings in the biggest and newest innovations every year. Look back just a decade and you’ll see how the industry has shifted, with completely new heavyweights leading the field. The evidence is clear that a company must consistently evolve with the times to remain an industry leader in electronics.

Following, we’ll look at the five foremost challenges said company must look forward to.

  1. Brief Product Life Cycles

Technology isn’t evolving for its own sake. It’s responding to the wants and needs of consumers hungry for products that perfectly suit their day to day lives. Thus, companies in Electronics Manufacturing Services and contract manufacturers are required to have quality processes in place for new product introduction. To make sure product launches hit set goals on quality, volume and release, it’s important to use closed-loop communication concepts between engineering, sales and manufacturing.

  1. Intricate International Supply-Chain

It is obvious now that we live in a global economy. Those who are positioned best to deal with the complexities of international sales are those best positioned to succeed in the long run. Now, it is common for components to skate across multiple continents—sometimes more than three—before arriving at their end point. Companies must be prepared to deal with varying international standards along with the twin issues of compliance and traceability that are prone to raise operational problems.

  1. Demand

The worst of the global economic crisis is fortunately in the rear view mirror, so it is expected that the demand for electronics should continue to rise. While cyclical fluctuations and economic dips are responsible for large shifts in demand, on a smaller level technology is highly susceptible to changing local conditions because tech is now so heavily tied to consumer demand. Consumer demand is an uncertain thing, determined by the vagueness of perceived value and swiftly fleeting tastes. For that reason, production capabilities must remain lean and able to shift quickly with uncertain demand.

  1. Environmental Issues

This is no longer a world where companies’ margins are freely raised above the concerns of the environment. New standards and regulations are pushing electronic manufacturers to consider their ‘social responsibility’ when making decisions both small and large. A manufacturing consultant says some Electrical Engineering Master’s programs are now including sustainable engineering strategies in their curriculum to accommodate the growing trend of environmental awareness. The entire life cycle of a product must be considered; from manufacturing, with the use of harmful chemicals and human exposure; to consumer use, with the consumption of energy; to the end of its life, with waste disposal and complex disassembly.

  1. Tighter Margins

Consumers have benefited from a global marketplace that has emphasized competition to bring in the latest and greatest innovations and lower prices. On the supply side, however, this has to lead to shrinking margins. Gains in efficiency and organization have slowed and there is not enough differentiation between products to stave off this growing trend of commoditization. Electronic manufacturers must deal with this downward pressure on operating margins as lights continue to turn on across the world.


Of course, those that are part of electronics manufacturing already know how competitive their industry is. Just look at what evolution has occurred within semiconductor manufacturing to see how challenging it can be dealing with steadily shrinking margins and higher product performance and quality expectations. Yet, industry leaders find a way to make it all work and come together consistently over an extended period of time. They have unlocked the winning combination, which perhaps is based on continuous process improvement and significant investment in the systems and processes of how business gets done.


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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2015/07/5-challenges-electronics-manufacturers-face-in-2015/

Jul 17 2015

Farm Tech Focus Shifts from Steel to Satellites

combine_photoThe use of electronics in agricultural equipment is nothing new, with the first machines to adopt such technology being made commercially available over three decades ago. But while this heralded the first wave of “precision farming” equipment, providing the ability to monitor, measure and manage, the development of the second phase, driven by the recent advent of GPS satellite system technology, is much more profound.

Since their inception, the focus on achieving greater efficiency from farm machines has been on increasing size to boost capacity. While engines have become more frugal in terms of fuel used per hectare, this has generally meant more powerful but bigger and heavier machines have been the development route to creating more efficient farm equipment, by enabling fewer, wider passes across the field.

Size still rules. Tractors of 600 horsepower are not uncommon in crop production – 50 years ago 60 horsepower machines would have been considered large. The possibilities offered by modern electronic and GPS technology are increasingly driving a rethink among manufacturers about how to best make their machines more efficient: smaller, lighter and more power-efficient.

Self-driving Farm Equipment

GPS is taking on a new role in farming to provide direction for automatic steering. This is accomplished by having the operator drive an initial pass. The co-ordinates are stored in the tractor’s computer, which is then used to operate the machine’s steering cylinders so as to make every subsequent pass parallel to the first. What results is that each turn of the wheel is automated, as the tractor or harvester traverses the field rows completely out of the driver’s hands.

Modern “corrected” GPS systems can produce parallel passes with a deviation of just +/- 2.5cm. When sowing seed or applying fertiliser, for example, a reduction in overlaps or misses to that level is far more accurate than a human operator could repeatedly manage. This precision can then save a great deal of waste from overlapped seed and fuel or missed areas.

Lean Farm Production

The use of GPS in farming is not just about accuracy and reducing waste. Greater speed results in expanded output. Because a machine electronically guided by satellites is quicker to respond to necessary steering movements than a human, it can be operated at a faster forward speed without risk to the crop – when cultivating to remove weeds between vegetable crop rows, for example.

In that same application, companies such as cultivator makers Garford and Micron are using camera technology to add to the benefits of GPS. What this means is that not only can weeds be eliminated from between rows, but cameras can identify weeds from the crops – by shape or by colour – and remove them as they pass with a tine movement or a spray nozzle. The speed and accuracy with which such technology operates removes the need for larger, heavier, less accurate machines.


Agricultural machinery has even begun to benefit from the Formula One technology of telemetry, using remote transmission of machine operating data to the farm computer for monitoring and measuring. Companies such as combine harvester specialist Claas are using telemetry to help farmers determine the most efficient way to cut a field and the best places to unload on-the-move to minimise downtime and wasted fuel.

The size of modern farm machinery may still look daunting, but gradually this new technology is leading to developments which are lighter, faster and more compact. The manufacturing process to create this equipment has certainly become much more sophisticated – and high tech – the contribution that today’s technology is making to tomorrow’s tractors and other farm equipment.



GPS technology for tractors:

Camera-guided hoes and sprayers:



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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2015/07/farm-tech-focus-shifts-from-steel-to-satellites/

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