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Lifting the Limits: Improving Your Workforce's Wrench Time

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Wrench time...Can it be improved?

Workforce efficiency in maintenance has a profound effect on the maintenance group's costs and overall performance in any industry. It is safe to say, wrench time affects efficiency costs and thus overall costs for all organizations. Can it be improved?

Research shows that maintenance workforce efficiencies can range from 18% - 74%, with inefficient operations being on the higher end of the spectrum of labor spend. Surveys estimate that the average wrench time within an efficient, or reactive, maintenance environment hovers around 30-35%. Breaking this down further; in an 8-hour day, there are only 2½ hours of actual hands-on wrench time or productive, or value-added work.

A number of situations can impact wrench time of technician, such as:

  • Failure to have the right asset(s)/equipment available for the assigned technician(s) when needed.
  • Limited visibility. Maintenance technicians are not able to plan for their routes and carry parts/tools they need for maintenance/repairs.
  • Repeated travel back and forth from the work site to the office/storeroom to collect parts, manuals, and assistance. This is time-consuming.  
  • An issue reported to maintenance is wrong, due to various reasons such as ineffective paper-based processes, resulting in the wrong technician being dispatched to a job.  
  • Unavailability of an asset’s maintenance history, equipment drawings, and details or service manuals for reference to conduct repairs.
  • and more...

The cost of non-wrench time (5½ hours) leaves a great financial impact on an organization. That said, non-wrench activities are still necessary to get work done but are not considered factors in true wrench time.

For improving wrench time, it is essential for your organization to identify and eliminate barriers preventing your maintenance technicians from doing their jobs efficiently. One of the most effective ways to improve your technicians’ wrench time is to streamline your organization’s planning and scheduling work order processes and improve strategies for preventive/proactive maintenance. Effective planning/scheduling processes help ensure that plant maintenance work is well planned, aiding in work orders being completed according to priorities.

To be more productive at work, your workforce needs to have the right information, such as asset details, along with maintenance history, real-time availability of maintenance parts/tools, and guiding instructions available in their hands. This improves your maintenance workforce’s productivity and reduces delays during jobs, and increases your bottom line.

Because the maintenance workforce is typically mobile, it is vital to equip your workforce with the right mobile workforce management solution. The "right" solution offers all the field-ready functionality necessary and connects the mobile workforce with your back office and other departments. Doing the right work, at the right time, with the right information and materials, in the right way will improve your technicians' wrench time.  

Improving Wrench time with Mobile Plant Maintenance

The solution mWorkOrder - Mobile Plant Maintenance, offered by Innovapptive within the next generation Connected Workforce Platform, provides your maintenance technicians/workers anytime, anywhere access to the right information they need to do their jobs. mWorkOrder enables your workers to work safer, smarter and more productively. mWorkOrder's on-demand and role-based barcode scanning features allow field technicians, supervisors, planners to automate searching for parts, equipment, and history of equipment to maximize your wrench time.

Using mWorkOrder, planners/schedulers can create, update and view maintenance plans in real-time, and see where assets are located, accordingly. They can then assign work orders to technicians nearby. Also, supervisors are able to track performance and the start/stop times of technicians with the online/offline capabilities offered within mWorkOrder.

With the right information, your maintenance technicians’ productivity will increase - more completed work orders in a day result in improved wrench time. Having access to the right information along with material, equipment and exactly what tools they need for the job, will enable maintenance technicians to focus on their actual work, and complete work orders in their first visit.

Learn how Australia’s largest utility company utilizes Innovapptive’s mWorkOrder with RACE™ to optimize their maintenance planning, improve asset reliability, and save field workers time as they work on the go with real-time updates. Read their story here.

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