How IBM Maximo & Varis are Increasing Wrench Time

IBM (Credit: IBM)
Inadequate asset management and cumbersome procurement processes lead to inefficiencies and hinder organisational performance, according to IBM

For businesses in any industry, inadequate asset management and cumbersome procurement processes can inevitably lead to inefficiencies and hinder performance across their value chain.

If companies are not getting the best out of these two elements, vital working hours can be lost, with time spent on solving problems rather than adding value.  

In a recent blog post, IBM highlights conversations it has had with senior leadership figures representing major firms, from global aerospace companies to Fortune 100 manufacturers.

Leaders shared first-hand accounts of how these factors are leading to significant inefficiencies and hindering organisational performance.

One conversation was centred on a company suffering a computer numerical control machine failure, which disrupted manufacturing. Diagnosing the problem on site and digging through paper maintenance logs proved to be an exhaustive exercise, while obtaining a replacement part involved manual entries and approvals in a separate procurement system, further dragging out the process.

Leaders from the affected organisation told IBM they longed for modern mobile enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions and best practices for procurement integration.

As a result of its discussions, IBM has published a blueprint that smart manufacturing, telecom, utility and government contracting leaders can use to increase wrench time by at least 15% among operations, maintenance and facilities technicians.

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Embrace real-time technician mobility and asset data accessibility

Digital field processes with mobility: Eliminate inefficient steps, travel, dual entry and wait time associated with paper-based processes.

Immediate information: Technicians can access maintenance histories, manuals and schematics directly on mobile devices, reducing downtime and expediting responses.

Seamless integration: Real-time procurement data and status updates are integrated into EAM systems, ensuring that crucial information is available at all times.

Integrate EAM with procurement processes

Automated triggers: When a machine fails, an integrated EAM automatically initiates the procurement process for required parts, eliminating delays caused by manual processes.

Efficiency in procurement: The procurement process is fully automated, from requisition to order placement, reducing time and administrative burdens.

Implement advanced workflow automation

Streamlined issue logging: Automating the logging of issues, alerting technicians and tracking resolutions within EAM ensures that no steps are missed and progress is continuous.

Faster procurement: Automated workflows reduce manual entry errors and speed up the parts ordering process, crucial during unexpected downtimes.


Leverage decision support through data

Informed decisions: EAM systems provide analytics and historical data on machine performance, aiding technicians in making quick, informed decisions.

Simplified ordering: Detailed parts diagrams and itemised pick lists help technicians quickly identify and order necessary parts.

Enhance support with remote diagnostics

Remote assistance: Modern EAM includes remote diagnostics and augmented reality (AR) support to guide technicians through complex repairs remotely.

Efficient delivery: Procurement practices must ensure quick and efficient delivery of required parts by aligning closely with suppliers.

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Blueprint working as intended

With 1,400 employees across 25 service locations, Skookum Contract Services is among those which previously faced inefficiencies in its work, asset and parts procurement processes.

This resulted in more than 3,000 hours of lost productivity annually at one location alone.

By adopting these best practices and processes for seamless integration between asset management and procurement functions, Skookum transformed its operations: 

  • Implemented a digital workflow through EAM and mobility that streamlined and digitised asset, work and logistics processes, improving technician wrench time by 15%
  • Created an integrated process and technology solution that led to a paperless work order environment
  • Streamlined part searches and procurement workflows, reducing the number of steps from 15 to a single seamless digital workflow
  • Enabled technicians to quickly and easily access parts using mobile devices.

Skookum maintained on-time, on-budget project delivery, enhancing overall efficiency and productivity. It achieved these results by integrating advanced procurement and mobile EAM technologies.

Technology enablers: IBM Maximo Mobile and Varis purchasing platform

Skookum was transformed by the integration of Varis and IBM Maximo.

Varis streamlined the procurement process with a user-friendly digital marketplace, while IBM Maximo’s mobile features offered real-time access to asset data, maintenance histories and remote diagnostics. This integration allowed technicians to manage and procure parts efficiently, reducing downtime and boosting productivity.

The integration of modern EAM solutions with advanced asset, work and procurement processes significantly boosts wrench time and reduces downtime for technicians.

By embracing real-time asset data, automating procurement, streamlining workflows, leveraging data-driven support and using remote diagnostics, companies can achieve notable gains in efficiency.

Skookum Contract Services exemplifies these benefits, showing how tools like Varis and IBM Maximo can drive procurement operational improvements – ensuring projects finish on time and within budget.

Scott Smith, Skookum’s Director of Reliability and Asset Management, explains: “Varis’ e-catalogue functionality and support was outstanding. Critical success factors were met with flying colours: time to implement, intuitive search and end-user acceptance.

Scott Smith, Skookum’s Director of Reliability and Asset Management

“This is a problem area that has plagued the maintenance domain for 30 years and Varis has finally solved it. You have a great product. There have been no issues integrating between Varis and Maximo.”

To learn more about how Varis and IBM can help, check out our latest webinar; Boost wrench time: How leading companies merge mobile EAM and procurement


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