How much time are you wasting looking for equipment?

July 10, 2023

How much time are you wasting looking for equipment?

Hundreds of hours wasted per year!

Discover PlantQuest’s research into this ‘hidden’ issue

The PlantQuest team has spent the last 20 years working on Pharma and Oil & Gas megaprojects and have witnessed the inefficiencies and waste occurring at various stages of the project process. It is true that some of these inefficiencies are a function of the scale and complexity of the projects themselves, but quite often the waste can be borne out of outdated systems and work practices. PlantQuest has noticed that one of the biggest sources of lost time is the location of equipment to carry out maintenance, operations and commissioning activities on.

Complex Plants/Complex Tasks

All facilities are composed of assets, working in multiple systems and subsystems. These assets need constant attention by a multitude of workers. Activities are divided by the phases of the lifecycle of the plant i.e. construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance and EHS, and would quite often extend beyond locating a single asset. Complex tasks such as line walks, system walkdowns, mechanical isolations, punch list clearance, all require multiple assets to be located in short periods of time, often by workers with no prior knowledge of the systems in question. In our experience the time wasted in locating assets in these complex tasks grows exponentially with the addition of extra assets.

Bringing Digital In

Digital Transformation

In our everyday lives we use and rely on applications such as Google Maps, so, at PlantQuest we asked the question, why do we, in our industry, have to rely on complex and non intuitive drawings for navigation? We have received feedback that some sites are using upwards of 300 layout drawings to locate assets in their facility - THIS HAS TO STOP!

Our early hunch has been measured and proven through our extensive research on this issue with Managers, Engineers, Superintendents, Supervisors, and Technicians of various disciplines.  It showed that this 'hidden' issue is common across all levels of an organisation and has far reaching implications on issues ranging from maintenance backlogs, responding to alarms and commissioning schedules.

Customer/Product Validation 

Our market validation with potential customers and users was carried out in 2 phases: 

  • Face to Face Interviews 

The PlantQuest team reached out to our network and arranged interviews with senior staff in a number of large organisations.  The concept was very well received by all parties with one focus group expressing excitement at the prospect of PlantQuest making their life easier. 

  • Survey

We produced a survey that was distributed to our combined network and further afield to industry-focused LinkedIn groups, receiving 250 responses. The survey was aimed at gauging the size of the problem and current ways of solving the problem. It targeted 5 levels within an organisation:

  1. Technician - End users, working on site, dealing with the problem of looking for assets on a daily basis
  2. Supervisor - Managers of the end users who have a vested interest in getting the most out of technicians and are answerable for the  productivity of their technicians 
  3. Superintendent - Managers of execution of specific discipline scopes or production who are conscious of the implication of time lost looking for assets has on their teams' performance or production targets 
  4. Engineer - Managers of the delivery of specific scope of work from the office or onsite. They design and implement the scopes of work with the superintendents looking after the onsite execution of the scopes 
  5. Manager - Managers are the ones responsible for creating and scheduling the scope of work with a view to achieving project completion, with the outcome of either bringing a producing asset online or delivery process or safety improvements that will increase production or safety improvements

Key takeaways from the survey 

  • Technicians are wasting between 3 & 8 hours per week looking for assets in the field - depending on factors such as industry, facility size and experience level (View results here)
  • Supervisors were asked: "What level of impact does lost time due to difficulty finding equipment have on your teams daily productivity?"
Supervisor results
  • Superintendents were asked: "What level of impact does lost time due to difficulty finding equipment have on your teams daily productivity?"
Superintendent results
  • Engineers were asked: "Cumulatively, What impact does time lost due to looking for equipment have on your project delivery timeline?" 
Engineer results
  • Managers were asked: "Cumulatively, What impact does time lost due to looking for equipment have on your project delivery timeline?"
Manager results

In Conclusion

Analysing the results of this survey highlights the value of PlantQuest on the global market.  

PlantQuest can be deployed as a training and productivity tool to allow for fast training of workers and execution of tasks. It also provides an antidote to the expected lack of experienced staff expected by the end of the decade by locking in existing tacit knowledge, thus allowing incumbent employees to quickly and accurately execute routines and operations activities by bringing workers to the place of work in the time it takes to walk to it.

PlantQuest delivers on many fronts:

  • Time is saved on-site familiarisation meaning staff can get to work immediately
  • The fear of losing tacit location knowledge is removed as it will now have no value
  • Unproductive time lost in the process of locating equipment is now used productively

Like this blog?  Please reach out to us here to learn more about how PlantQuest can digitally transform your asset/equipment location issues.  

PlantQuest creates a safe, cost and time efficient solution to all your asset navigation requirements 

If you enjoyed this blog - you may also like this piece authored by leading Digital Transformation firm Avenga, it provides insights into the needs of Pharma to accelerate transforming digitally.  Here's an excerpt:

"Pharma manufacturing units are running at a greater capacity than ever before, facing a 24/7 operation throughput. At this critical moment, manufacturers don't have the time for emergency equipment maintenance, and we're not talking about scheduled services. With a downtime costing a unit up to $20,000 a minute, a manufacturer can not afford a disruption in the production processes."

Let's break that down - $20K per minute downtime...👉$1.2M per hour. Staggering!

Read the full article > here 

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