The costly goldilocks approach to Energy maintenance

For Energy companies, providing reliable and effective services depends on reliable and effective maintenance to ensure assets are — you guessed it — reliable and effective. The better organized and proactive the maintenance, the better the results, including delivering significant time and cost savings when done right.

Yet with maintenance crews spread out, skilled labor hard to come by and limited visibility into the true status of operations and how best to utilize resources, maintenance rarely falls in the “just right” category. Instead, companies find themselves taking a trial-and-error approach to maintenance:

  • Our maintenance cycles are too short.
  • Our maintenance cycles are too long.
  • Our maintenance cycles happen too often.

Any of the above scenarios can lead to unwarranted maintenance or inspections, unnecessary personnel exposure to safety hazards and additional labor expenses — far from cost-optimal. With maintenance costs typically ranging between 20-60 percent of opex spend (depending on the industry, asset type and capex spend), according to McKinsey, digitizing and automating processes around maintenance is just smart business. The same McKinsey report found companies that embrace automation show a significant increase in labor productivity and a 20 to 30 percent reduction in maintenance costs.

Start with technical service management

Work orders are the means to an end for Energy companies — powering maintenance activities from start to finish. Yet for most organizations, the processes are far from smooth, with technicians facing friction right out of the gate. Some energy operators have modern systems in place to manage work orders. Some even have Enterprise Asset Management systems, yet they don’t manage the (sometimes hundreds of) actions leading up to a work order or following the completed execution of one. Examples include hot work permits, lockout-tagout, and other critical safety and compliance steps. 

Work orders are typically initiated within siloed software systems, starting personnel down a maintenance path that often isn’t uniformly managed. Without a foundation of trusted work order information, organizations open themselves up to operating risk and increased costs by:

  • Operating in the dark with minimal insight into planned, ongoing and completed work order activities.
  • Relying on fragmented systems, requiring personnel to track down related work order documentation across engineering or enterprise content management systems.
  • Struggling with accountability due to limited contextual information about which tasks changed, outstanding deadlines, timelines missed and unexpected escalations.
  • Missing historical context and uncertainty of why work orders have been abandoned and when to put them to rest.
  • Not expecting the unexpected and inability to initiate work orders and tasks on-demand based on intelligence from smart sensors or uncover bottlenecks across locations, assets and projects.
  • Questioning who’s best for the job, making it tough to assign work orders based on skills, availability and the right resources.

Connect valuable content together

When work orders are digital, intelligent and connected, organizations eliminate the Goldilocks approach to maintenance, driving productivity, quality and safety for any type of work across any type of asset.

Technical Service Management for Energy from OpenText™ manages the entire lifecycle of a work order, delivering needed insight and accountability, allowing personnel — both in the field and in the office — to instantly tap into a single source of asset information. With maintenance and operational information provided in context, personnel work smarter, asset uptime increases and operating costs go down — eliminating maintenance cycles that are too short, too long or happen too often.

Learn more about how Technical Service Management for Energy creates a foundation for operational effectiveness.

Phil Schwarz

Phil Schwarz is the Industry Strategist for Energy at OpenText. With two decades of energy industry experience, Phil has become a trusted SME, having supported operators, EPCs, service providers, and OEMs across the entire value chain. Phil is an engineer by education and has a MBA, M.S. in Economics, and a Graduate Certificate in Smart Oilfield Technologies. He resides in the Anchorage, Alaska area and loves to hike and enjoy the outdoors.

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