What Does Smart Mining Mean for Spare Parts Management?

There has been a lot of talk about the abundance of smart, connected things, with Gartner predicting that 20.8 billion such devices will come online by 2020. But what is seldom talked about is how the IoT will impact the manner in which organizations manage spare parts, deliver technical documentation, and support field service.

Here are four immediate service industry benefits that are accessible and scalable now, thanks to the power of the IoT:

1. Visibility into real-time product data

When you monitor in-field assets’ locations, performance, utilization rates and conditions, your service organization can reduce mean time to repair (MTTR) and resolution times because technicians arrive on site with better and more complete information.

For example, suppose a noise sensor sends a signal to a contact center, which recognizes that a bulldozer’s hydraulic system is emitting a clanging sound. A customer representative can send that data to a field technician, who may deduce that there are air contaminates in the hydraulic fluid. This gives the technician the foresight needed to pick the right tools, parts, and materials for the job.

2. Optimized technician workforce

As product complexity and customer expectations continue to rise, technicians struggle to retain knowledge of existing products subjected to continuous engineering updates.

Imagine if each connected asset had its own bill of materials. Every time a technician replaces a part or adjusts its configuration, that file receives an update to reflect those changes. This function not only ensures technicians have up-to-date information but also allows them to track a product’s service history.

There’s also the opportunity to use augmented reality. Already, field service technicians are using AR to review part replacement procedures, service instructions, and other sequential processes.

3. Proactive and predictive maintenance

Remotely monitoring equipment allows service teams to detect operational anomalies and take action before those aberrations result in catastrophic failures. With the power of the IoT, real-time and historical data are combined with machine learning and analytics to accurately predict issues, moving service from reactive to proactive.

Downtime forces your customers to suspend operations. Depending on the industry in which they participate, the costs of such downtime may range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour. So by eliminating disruptions, you save them money. Such a capability isn’t lost on your customers, and they’re likely to renew service contracts if you can deliver it.

4. Remote service

Remote service enables you to resolve an issue before the customer even realizes there was one. Costly onsite visits can be replaced by remote technicians capable of identifying anomalies in operating conditions and using remote service software to address problems. Elekta, a medical device manufacturer, actually resolved 20% of its service issues without dispatching technicians within the first year of its remote service program.

Before investing in the IoT, you need to assess your current service capabilities. The Service Performance Assessment tool below allows you to do just that. Take the questionnaire to see where your IoT-driven journey will begin: 

PTC Service Performance Assessment