In the manufacturing and distribution sectors, the term lifecycle management is often referred to as a means to extract the maximum longevity and value out of material handling systems. Too often, the standards and best practices needed to achieve these goals are not carried out, typically due to few common reasons:
- New systems provide a false sense of security and remove the sense of urgency.
- Insufficient in-house staff to develop, implement and execute a lifecycle plan.
- Lack of dedicated lifecycle management partner to drive program execution.
Regardless of the reason, lifecycle management programs can fall by the wayside, and the inevitable results are disruptions to business continuity, unplanned downtime and the associated expenses of lost productivity and equipment repairs. In our most recent On The Move webinar, Protect Your Investment With Effective Lifecycle Management, we looked at the components that make up a successful program as well as strategies for creating a roadmap for long-term system success.
In a rapidly shifting warehouse environment where systems are becoming more complex and the pool of qualified technicians to service them continues to shrink, lifecycle management is more important than ever. That’s why Honeywell Intelligrated recommends taking a comprehensive, proactive approach to managing the hardware, software and performance requirements per specific operational needs.
For the warehouse manager, maintenance engineer or continuity officer responsible for system and equipment operation, lifecycle management addresses their primary concerns for:
- Safety — Establishing a culture of safety that encompasses personnel, processes and adherence to regulations.
- Efficiency — Maximizing the return on system investment through a focus on sustainability and long-term planning.
- Dependability — Evaluating performance of assets and personnel responsible for incident response and ensuring process rigor to maximize system uptime.
To effectively address these priorities, a lifecycle management program should center around four core principles:
- Maintenance — Improve maintenance via reactive and proactive measures and a parts management strategy that provides access to the correct part when needed.
- Support — Provide access to a dedicated technical support network, onsite and online training and detailed reporting on asset health.
- Optimization — Ensure continuous optimization through modernization efforts, performance improvements and obsolescence planning.
- Adaptation — Adapt to industry trends and business process changes throughout the product lifecycle.
The Importance of Assessments and CMMS
Behind each of these core principles, assessments and computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) are two tools on which lifecycle management providers often rely to assist with program execution.
Assessments are the underpinning of a sound lifecycle management program — establishing a baseline, benchmarking performance, assessing system health and providing a long-term road map. Whether you’re operating a brand-new system or dealing with aging assets, these assessments cover a wide range of disciplines and help to drive improvements across multiple areas that could impact operational reliability.
A CMMS serves many critical lifecycle management functions but isn’t often utilized to its fullest extent. We recommend loading all assets into the CMMS and using that as reference point for the original system’s state. It also helps operators set up and implement maintenance plans and procedures, maintain an inventory of parts and tools, and provide system reporting and analytics. And for those seeking to transition a more proactive approach to asset health and system maintenance, a CMMS database can help support those efforts.
With all of these considerations, we’re finding that many operators simply don’t have the bandwidth to execute an effective lifecycle management program. We recommend partnering with a dedicated provider, such as the Lifecycle Support Services team at Honeywell Intelligrated, who is capable of delivering 24/7 expert support and parts access.
To view this webinar in its entirety click the link and learn more about the tenets of effective lifecycle management.