The Importance of Sustainable Maintenance
Written By: Emily Himes
4/21/2023 Read Time : 4 min

What is sustainable maintenance?

As organizations face a variety of environmental concerns on a daily basis, many are beginning to take the necessary steps to improve their carbon footprint. Organizations can embark on their sustainable maintenance journey by reducing the amount of unnecessary service being performed. By streamlining asset maintenance schedules, maximizing their longevity, and keeping them running to specification, companies can achieve energy optimization and reduction, waste reduction, and greater material efficiencies.

Why is sustainable maintenance important?

Sustainable maintenance is an excellent way to simultaneously reduce your organization’s carbon footprint and cut costs. By reducing truck rolls, extending the healthy, usable lifetime of assets, and optimizing asset performance, you can significantly minimize your carbon emissions all while streamlining service operations and reducing unnecessary spending. In addition, your sustainable maintenance efforts will support larger corporate goals around sustainability and environmental impact, including:

  • Reducing emissions and effects on air quality.
  • Limiting waste production, both through extended asset life span, and fewer parts and fuel expended to support asset.
  • Reducing energy consumption and interruptions, through maximized ongoing asset efficiency and fewer unnecessary service engagements.
  • Improved safety, particularly if waste generated by inefficient machinery or maintenance activities are hazardous in nature.

Maintenance is one of the most effective routes toward meeting corporate sustainability goals, which in turn are important for any number of reasons. These can contribute to brand reputation, commitments that that organization has voluntarily made to be a leader in their space, or meeting any number of regulatory compliance requirements—depending on the geography where the company is headquartered and where the point of service is being administered.

How to implement sustainable maintenance?

One of the best approaches to sustainable maintenance is built on using real-time data about the equipment and assets you’re supporting. A smart, connected product strategy can help you harness that data and ramp up your sustainable maintenance and service initiatives. This process of digital transformation roughly follows key steps to ensure that service organizations are truly data-driven:

  • Standardized connectivity across assets to facilitate access to data, and the potential ability to remotely interact with assets.
  • An IoT platform collects that information and manages the applications that will use data.
  • Analytics and machine learning capabilities that can take that data and use it to make real-time and predictive recommendations regarding usage and service.
  • Empowering technicians with devices that can access this data, for administering both remote and field service. This can optionally include augmented reality hardware that allows technicians (and even customers) to “see” into the assets that are servicing for faster, more efficient service.

Putting an IoT sustainable maintenance strategy into practice

Using the IoT to implement a smart, connected approach to sustainable maintenance and service can be implemented quickly, and in stages to ensure rapid value. As these capabilities come online, they are fundamental to unlocking several service use cases that support improved sustainability, while reducing service costs.

Reduce Technician Dispatches

Technician dispatches can have a hefty impact on the environment. By implementing a smart, connected product strategy, field service teams can reduce truck rolls, thereby significantly minimizing their carbon footprint related to travel.

  • Remote service

Technicians can eliminate the need for some truck rolls by repairing issues remotely.

  • Better support of customers performing their own service

The use of engaging augmented reality (AR) work instructions and remote assistance capabilities can enable customers to perform more complex maintenance tasks, eliminating the need for an on-site visit by a technician.

  • Improving first-time fix rate (FTFR)

With remote diagnostic capabilities better informing call planning, service teams can more reliably repair equipment in a single visit by arriving equipped with the right tools, parts, and support.

  • Predictive maintenance

With the ability to detect maintenance needs and potential problems well in advance, service providers can either assist the customer in changing usage to avoid those issues, or schedule maintenance to be deployed in a more efficient manner (e.g., scheduling maintenance to coincide with other service activities.)

Optimizing scale and deployment of parts

By using the right system to plan spare parts inventories, service teams can place materials in optimal amounts and locations that minimize distribution and logistics costs, including emergency courier shipments.

Maximize asset longevity

Service teams can utilize predictive service and condition-based monitoring capabilities to extend asset lifetimes, minimizing the production of new assets and disposal of old ones.

Maintaining asset performance

Condition-based monitoring and service enable field service teams to keep customer assets performing to specification. This helps minimize scrap, asset disposal, duplicate production, and all the associated consumption of energy and plant services.

Offering “product as a service” business models

A connected service program allows field service teams to support an ongoing subscription business by combining advanced service capabilities with extended asset lifetimes, as well as programmatic disposal services that further minimize the asset’s overall environmental impact.

Examples of sustainable maintenance in action

  • Bell and Howell 

Bell and Howell remotely resolves over 71% of its service calls and service technicians have achieved a FTFR of 92%. Further, it has seen a 30% reduction in maintenance frequency and duration.

  • Elekta 

Within the first year of implementation, Elekta carried out over 600 preventative actions and today over 20% of service issues are resolved remotely without dispatching a technician.

The future of sustainable maintenance

As companies realize an increasing responsibility when it comes to sustainability, they will take heightened measures to reduce their negative impact on the environment. As mindsets continue to shift, organizations of all types will realize that they too can turn over a new leaf – and that small improvements add up over time to make a big impact. Further, when they realize that taking the greener approach often comes with greater efficiency and cost savings as well, the practice of sustainable maintenance will be a no-brainer. These goals will only continue to take on importance, as environmental and sustainability requirements become more comprehensive, and carry heavier penalties for those who fail to meet them. Putting a strategy and technologies in place that can grow along with your strategy will ensure that your organization can view sustainable maintenance as a competitive advantage—while laggards will struggle to keep pace in a greener future.

While a first-time fix is usually the goal for field service, ineffective issue diagnostics often get in the way. The IoT can help you proactively resolve service issues before they require a truck roll or result in downtime.  

Reduce your Footprint with PTC´s Service Optimization Solutions Learn how Bell and Howell used ThingWorx to eliminate unnecessary service visits and cut down on mean time to repair by 60% Read Now
Tags: Thingworx Predictive Maintenance Remote Service Industrial Internet of Things
About the Author Emily Himes Emily is a Content Marketing Specialist on PTC’s Commercial Marketing team based in Boston, MA. Her writing supports a variety of PTC’s product and service offerings.