A recent article in Industry Week highlights a prominent problem: Fire-Fighting:

“Front line supervisors play a critical role in the performance of an organization. They are the interface between workers and management; the vast majority of people in any organization directly report to them. As such they are the single biggest influence on employee motivation and performance.

However, most front line supervisors spend all their time fire-fighting unexpected problems with temporary solutions. They spend day after day dealing with the same problems…the list goes on. If they were to spend the same amount of effort addressing the underlying issues that cause these “fires” to keep reoccurring, the problems would be solved permanently. Why don’t they do this?”

We believe the answer is simple…they didn’t have the information they need to predict and prevent the fires. The problem was particularly acute with regard to equipment maintenance and uptime.  Unexpected equipment failure caused a cascade of problems with manufacturing schedules and customer satisfaction.

But now everything has changed.  The IoT has transformed the industrial workplace.  Inexpensive wireless sensors continuously monitor the health of critical equipment.  Condition Based Maintenance and Predictive Maintenance now allow front line supervisors to predict and prevent catastrophic failure of critical equipment.

Now critical equipment receives maintenance as need, on a managed schedule.  Workloads (and even vacation time) are easier to schedule.  Managing.  Not fire-fighting.