For asset-intensive industries like utilities, the need for skilled technicians will not disappear anytime soon. However, as digital transformation quickens, the scope for automation of a wide range of field tasks broadens. Smarter networks are opening up rich possibilities for managing assets in the field.
Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, for example, make it possible to build networks comprising millions of devices and data sources. Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies are being integrated into inexpensive devices at the edge of the network.
Field service organisations need to deliver their services efficiently and sustainably. This has been acutely demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic. With the world increasingly turning to mobile both at home and at work, asset-intensive industries are naturally turning to mobile app technologies to find more efficient ways of working.
With 59% of employees thinking their organisation has been too slow to deliver mobile apps, now's the time to build an effective mobile strategy.
In this article, we'll reveal 4 ways in which asset-intensive industries benefit from mobile app technology.
1. Build an accurate asset register
Your technicians spend a lot of time collecting valuable data from the field. Accurate information of location and other data helps your organisation react faster to equipment failure.
With 76% of adults in advanced economies owning a smartphone, your technicians will be comfortable using mobile apps.
Further, they can use their own devices or ones provided by the company, saving the cost of purpose-built devices. In-built security features found on mobile apps such as user authentication and automatic backups cannot be duplicated with paper.
Technicians can thus register or update field assets using their mobile devices, however, ensuring that they are secure is another matter. They can capture relevant data (location, photos...) and build an accurate asset register.
This also eliminates manual data entry back at the office once the data has been collected, avoiding duplication of work and errors. Inaccuracies can also be corrected at the point of service, avoiding the need for return visits.
The data is available for analysis and reporting instantly, improving collaboration and decision-making. Errors can be spotted sooner and corrected more quickly.
Furthermore, as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives gather pace, mobile technology supports your paperless office efforts; reducing your paper burden and supporting your digital transformation initiatives.
2. Increase collaboration and tool time
Delivering an integrated asset management workflow is important for asset-intensive organisations.
Mobile devices connected to the cloud provide your schedulers and technicians with real-time and historical information around schedules, work orders, inventory and more, maximising productivity.
With real-time mobile information available at their fingertips, supervisors can react to backlogs and re-allocate resources where needed. And technicians can make on the spot decisions about repairs and services, avoiding the need for a return visit.
Mobile app technology delivers on the promise of digital transformation by eliminating silos and making information accessible anywhere.
3. Perform predictive maintenance
With more accurate asset data available to them, field service organisations can better plan for their future maintenance requirements. Artificial Intelligence software can analyse large amounts of data to build accurate predictive maintenance models.
Mobile app technology provides your technicians with timely point of service information, enabling them to make quicker decisions and react to time-sensitive situations; thus turning your organisation into an agile provider able to meet its SLAs.
Wearable devices and mixed reality technologies, coupled with mobile devices, will allow your field technicians to locate assets better and work unimpeded.
4. Execute successful shutdowns, turnarounds and outages
Asset-intensive industries like utilities and oil and gas build their reputations on reliability and safety. Thus, shutting down assets for maintenance or repairs is a complex and detailed process, taking years to complete.
Shutdown, turnaround, and outage (STO) projects are highly technical, and delivering them on time, within budget and to rigorous safety standards is challenging. As you can imagine, the risks in terms of costs and reputation are considerable.
Legacy (or paper-based) workflows are a liability in an STO project, and the lack of real-time data to support efficiency, transparency, and traceability can spell disaster. Legacy workflows reduce wrench times, putting project deliverables at risk.
A successful STO depends on robust analytics and reporting tools and software, together with full mobility support. Thus stakeholders have real-time visibility into schedules, deficits, calendar needs, estimates, reviews and other information.
iPlanSTO is a software which aids in the management of shutdowns, turnarounds, outages and TAR events with a proven industry workflow. It's supplied with an on-site mobile app that allows you to capture scope when planning your event and live progress capture when executing your shutdown.
It enables you to scope, plan, estimate, sign, approve, schedule and capture progress, time recording and learning of your STOs - It does not require an internet connection to capture scope and progress work.
As we move into the 21st century and look beyond the coronavirus pandemic, asset-intensive organisations need innovative approaches to working, unhindered by conventional thinking. Ways of working which, by necessity, embrace mobile technology. Mobile data collection reduces costs, reduces errors, increases productivity, empowers your workers, and fuels your digital transformation.