How to Optimize Equipment Maintenance for Heavy Machinery
Construction, mining, and agriculture projects often rely on large quantities of heavy machinery at the job site. Periodic equipment maintenance and quick repair is critical. Unexpected equipment breakdowns can mean lost productivity, project delays, and substantial monetary losses.
However, the ability to proactively manage equipment has become increasingly challenging amid a decreasing pool of repair professionals. More than 30% of maintenance managers cite staffing skilled technicians as a challenge. This staffing shortage will become even more of a burden as the demand for heavy machinery grows. For instance, the global agricultural equipment market is expected to expand by more than $80 billion between 2021 and 2030.
To maintain similar productivity levels in the face of labor shortages, organizations will need to digitize their maintenance workflows to streamline tasks for technicians. Equipping them with laptops, 2-in-1s, and tablets to use alongside data collection and diagnostic software will help minimize instances of equipment failure and reduce the time it takes to conduct repairs. Depending on the repair, a technician can sometimes fix the equipment on that first visit, reducing downtime and monetary losses. If it can’t be fixed onsite, a technician can quickly access applicable warranty information and order parts from a mobile device to get the equipment back to work quicker.
Let’s explore some of the benefits and tips for implementation in more detail.
Keeping Workers Connected
With technicians constantly on the go, mobile devices help them stay in touch with each other at job sites and office locations. This way, they can ask questions, share real-time updates, and call for backup as needed. Maintaining this level of communication also helps optimize efficiency. For instance, if someone finishes a job earlier than expected, they can quickly transition to another nearby repair to avoid sending another technician.
Mobile devices also allow technicians to come better prepared when entering a site, so they can begin repairs as quickly as possible. Before leaving for the job, they can read any background info and ensure they have the necessary tools or parts. With the ability to view and manage inventory in real time, they can order any missing parts for immediate delivery to minimize potential delays.
Reducing Equipment Downtime
When equipment downtime delays a project, it’s critical that you have the right processes in place to get back up and running as soon as possible.
Diagnosing the problem can sometimes take more time than the actual repair. In particular, manual diagnostics require technicians to disassemble machine components to uncover the issue. But, using their mobile devices, technicians can access real-time diagnostics via software that communicates with sensors directly in the machine, so they can quickly find the problem and devise a solution. This insight significantly cuts down on the repair process, eliminating the need for trial-and-error diagnostics that drain the technician’s time and can waste repair parts.
Another benefit of this type of software is that it can also determine failure rates and establish a profile and service history for the piece of equipment, so future technicians know what problems it has encountered in the past.
Driving Proactive Equipment Maintenance
Software analytics make it easier for repair professionals to conduct predictive maintenance. Technicians can remotely monitor equipment health while the software on their mobile devices collects and analyzes equipment data to predict future problems. With this insight, technicians can step in before an equipment failure results in major downtime.
The ability to easily collect equipment maintenance history also helps repair professionals track when service updates will be necessary. This allows for planned machinery downtime which avoids longer, unplanned downtime and more costly repairs. On average, predictive maintenance increases productivity by 25%, reduces breakdowns by 70%, and lowers maintenance costs by 25%, so giving workers the technology to achieve this objective supports overall business operations.
How to Choose the Right Mobile Technology for Your Technicians
There are many factors to consider when deploying mobile devices to your technicians. Primarily, these devices should be durable. From construction sites to mines to farms, they must withstand drops and spills and operate in any weather condition without overheating or powering down due to temperature. Devices with extended battery life will keep technicians from needing to stop and charge in the middle of a shift. Reliable wireless connectivity will allow technicians to stay connected even when they travel to remote areas.
Likewise, the diagnostic software used on these devices should be functional and user friendly. This way, technicians avoid spending extra time navigating the platform and can jump right in to review analytics, determine the issue, and order any necessary parts.
Driving a Positive Employee Experience
Equipping technicians with mobile devices supports better collaboration and efficiency, giving them the tools they need to achieve optimal productivity. Driving a positive work experience will help keep staff motivated, productive and boost retention, minimizing the burden of the worker shortage. Supporting technicians with the proper hardware and software tools ultimately helps construction, mining, and agriculture teams achieve their goals and desired business outcomes.
Learn more about our technology for equipment maintenance and field services.