If You Can't Kick It, It's Not There

Do you have the asset visibility and data availability needed in your supply chain? In this article, we take the Maintenance Planner's perspective and discuss the importance of data in Resources and Energy supply chains.

  • Where is my stuff?

  • Has my stuff arrived or not?

  • Get off my stuff!

  • I better get my stuff here now!

Asset management and asset availability – “Where’s my stuff?”

It is not just the physical asset itself but all the data associated with that asset that is an ongoing concern for miners and oil & gas operators. Coordinating the simultaneous availability of parts, labour and assets is increasingly tight and the margin for error is high. The lowest cost element -parts - is often the item that Maintenance Planner spend most of their time managing. Parts availability impacts the scheduling of labour as well as the actual ability to utilize the asset itself. The constant management of parts brings disruption and time-consuming chases through the supply chain and successful planning and execution really comes down to having access to the right data, at the right time.

The lack of detailed supply chain visibility means that maintenance planners are manually chasing up parts - calling vendors, emailing logistics companies, chasing up internal services to find out “where’s my stuff?” in the supply chain. Once this information is received, labour and assets often need to be rescheduled. Maintenance Planners ends up spending most of their time coordinating the arrival of the part (the lowest cost item) rather than fulfilling their primary function of effectively planning labour and the asset for maintenance.

Warehouse Management - "Has my stuff arrived or not?”

Supply chains move quickly - the number of parts moving in a warehouses is huge and accurate tracing and timely processing are needed for effective and automated compliance and warehouse management.

Manual data entry processes are error-prone and batch processing is not real-time enough. Parts may arrive on-site or are returned to the warehouse for various reasons but are not entered in the system for 3-6-12-24 hours, resulting in maintenance being unnecessarily rescheduled, or parts re-ordered. Furthermore, part numbers, volumes or warehouse location may be incorrectly manually entered - directly impacting the volume and value of inventory holdings, reducing customer visibility and leading to flow on inefficiencies like parts being re-ordered, lost etc.

This not only impacts the processes and labour associated with the specific part but also impacts the ability for the business to understand supply chain trends and identify possible efficiencies, due to the lack of accurate data.

Automation of ERP data - and the elimination of human data entry - allows for visibility into asset movements, driving transparency and trust across the business to bring decision making confidence and advancements in supply chain management. Quality data is an asset. It gives insights to all parts of the business and enables better decision making and ultimately cost savings.

“Get off my stuff!”

When parts are delivered to the site, they are often delivered to specific drop points. Without a system to trace the part, who delivered the part, or access the delivery history, Maintenance Planners are often left searching for the part. With drop points often covering several kilometres in remote and hot locations, there is not a lot of fun in this.

In the case of Shutdowns and TARs, tight timeframes to start and complete work exacerbate the importance of parts tracking. Any delay spent looking for parts results in vital maintenance not being completed, putting the Shut schedule out and costing huge amounts if there is an overrun. Leveraging technology solutions that trace the allocation of parts and maintenance - especially during shutdowns where "there is no such thing as a small shutdown error" - can literally save millions.

"I better get my stuff here now!"

Staff change overs from one swing to another, often result in vital information such as whether a part has been ordered or not does not get shared and the Maintenance Planner on the opposite swing may re-order the same part on a hotshot or express order.

At the end of the day, it boils down to this - if you can’t kick it, it's not there and it means the job can't get done. Improving supply chain responsiveness, reducing expedited orders and nailing communications can save Energy and Resource organisations millions.

Digitisation and real time connections will allow for deep insights to uncover areas for supply chain improvements to drive efficiencies. We see automation of the supply chain and the removal of manual data entry as critical to better outcomes. Getting the data right and sharing it in real-time, with the right people will prevent poor execution of planning, reduced parts availability and allow for better personnel planning - bringing greater visibility and availability of data to improve Resource and Energy supply chains.