Top 5 Questions from this Week's APM 4.0 Webcast


On May, 2, LNS Research hosted the webcast, “APM 4.0: Get Ready, Make the Move.” The presentation examined the global state of asset performance, the key capabilities of APM 4.0, how to prepare for and execute a successful APM 4.0 strategy, and recommendations to advance APM 4.0 throughout the organization.

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Throughout the event, we explained why manufacturers pursuing Industry 4.0 must rethink how they approach maintenance and operation of their Smart Manufacturing plants. We often say that “you can’t manufacture smart products in a dumb plant,” manufacturers won’t be able to maintain a smart factory using dumb maintenance tools. Understanding how your maintenance practices will and should change in the era of Industry 4.0 will be key to getting continued value from Smart Manufacturing investments. Here are the top five questions from the webcast.

Q1: “Given so few APM companies today have any form of CAD or CAM functionality, how will they deliver Digital Twins?”

A1: While a few vendors have inherent CAD/CAM capabilities, most will rely on an ecosystem of partners. Just as with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) delivery, LNS sees APM being built with a platform approach and a technological base upon which additional applications are mashed up together to provide APM 4.0 functionality. Digital Twin delivery is one area this will occur frequently. Expect engineering software providers and augmented and virtual reality tools to be mashed up with IIoT provided data.

Q2: “Do you see more companies buying several solutions and mashing them together, or will industrial companies build large portions of it internally?”

A2: APM 4.0, just like Industry 4.0, is a way of operating. It is aspirational; it is a style or philosophy of maintenance, it is not a product you buy. Except for large industrial companies that have both traditional manufacturing lines, automation, and software where they can do it all, most companies will settle on a core platform and then mash up other solutions from the ecosystem to provide the capabilities they need. Just as most companies will use mash-up approaches to do the Digital Twin, they will use a combination of quick mash-ups and more tightly integrated ecosystem solutions depending on the complexity and severity of the issues they are addressing.

Q3: “Who is going to lead the APM 4.0 transition?”

A3: In many respects, maintenance leaders are in the best place to lead the transition, but they must avoid becoming their own worst enemy. The growth of Big Data and Predictive Analytics, often in the Cloud, lends itself to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). If maintenance professionals cling to their first-generation tools, most of which require either strong statistical background or in-depth domain expertise or both, they may find that agile IT departments using Big Data from IIoT connected devices and AI will be able to deliver value faster and more broadly for many assets; overshadowing maintenance’s role.

Q4: “What are the largest stumbling blocks do you see companies running into?”

A4: It will vary, but three of the key stumbling blocks are:

I. Trying to automate bad processes: If you automate bad practices you just do bad – faster and bigger!

II. Not building a valid business case: Some experimentation is necessary, but for significant investment, there must be strong, valid, and realistic business cases for change. The business case must support the strategic objectives of the Digital Transformation efforts and contribute to Operational Excellence. The business case must also support the Operational Architecture.

III. Not gaining consensus and management support: While everyone acknowledges that top management support is critical to success, far fewer people understand that getting buy-in across the organization is just as important since changes will be necessary, and nobody readily accepts change.

Q5: “Where do Lean Six Sigma efforts fit into these initiatives? Suppose a company is a Deming award or TPM Award company, is it relatively easy to implement APM 4.0?”

A5: Adherence to APM best practices is a critical element of APM 4.0, so companies with Lean or other Process Excellence models are ideally suited to succeed with APM 4.0. It may not be easier for them depending on what you are using as a comparison point, but at least their odds of success are good. Discipline is a key skill that will accelerate time-to-value from APM 4.0 initiatives.

The on-demand webcast will be available on Tuesday, May 9, 2017.

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All entries in this Industrial Transformation blog represent the opinions of the authors based on their industry experience and their view of the information collected using the methods described in our Research Integrity. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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