Posted by Thelma Marshall, VP of Solutions, April 16, 2020

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Artificial Intelligence monitors all the moving parts of a manufacturing or distribution center, but its capabilities and insight can also be used to reduce downtime. Here’s how.

Productivity surges when mechanical issues and breakdowns are prevented—and many are preventable. The best way to manage this is to make certain proper care of equipment is happening as it should be. This means:

  • Safety checklists are completed before any forklift is put into operation.
  • Vehicles that fail their checklist are flagged and tagged out for repairs—no exceptions.
  • Necessary parts for repairs are quickly located or ordered right away and the repair is scheduled.
  • Repairs are never put off or ignored.
  • The forklift does not return to operation until all repairs are complete, it passes a safety check and it is approved by an authorized employee to be put back into service.

Reporting intelligence

In the past, it was hard to stay on top of all maintenance issues and the speed and diligence of repairs. But, AI capabilities provides the monitoring and reporting intelligence needed to ensure preventative care happens and downtime is reduced. It effortlessly monitors and reports on the overall health and maintenance schedules of an entire fleet.

This insight comes to managers in easy to read Maintenance Report Cards, which provide data quantifying how well a forklift, or a group of forklifts, are performing against safety KPIs, if each forklift passed its safety checklist, if repairs are scheduled, and when repairs are completed.

If a forklift has mechanical issues or has been in an accident, they system automatically tags out and locks down the vehicle until the necessary repairs are completed. Notification is sent to the manager and maintenance needs can’t be ignored.

An ounce of prevention

In the supply chain and manufacturing industries, time is money. Downtime is the ultimate enemy to your business productivity and profit margins. While many manufacturing and DC facilities are deploying new technology to support a sophisticated approach to quality management, it is equally important that they leverage AI to work for them to reduce downtime.

What is the cost of your downtime?

As many as 80 percent of businesses are unable to accurately estimate their downtime rates. These costs are underestimated by 200–300 percent of enterprises because hidden costs and not included.

Let’s look at the cost of downtime in your facility.  When calculating, make sure you factor in everything, like:

  • Lost production and reduced productivity
  • Recovery costs
  • Wasted man hours waiting to be productive
  • Missed customer deadlines and loss of brand loyalty/customer trust
  • Depleted inventories
  • Mechanical equipment/system stress

With AI, the software platform identifies and merges patterns from what machines “experience” using advanced analytics, IoT sensors, and real-time monitoring. Reduced downtime is obtained because of its cohesive monitoring strategy, notifications and reports that anticipate causes of potential downtime before they arise.

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