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MRO Agents

Vaishnavi Reddy

February 28, 2021

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The global MRO (Maintenance Repair & Operations) market is valued at $605 billion presently and is expected to reach $660 billion by the end of 2020. MRO agencies play a critical role in almost every largescale industry such as Mining, Pharmaceutical, Chemical, CPG, Oil and Gas, Automotive, Food and Beverages, and Technology by reducing cost and maintaining product quality. As MRO is propelled by increased industry production and demand for higher efficiency, many new players in this area are transforming their business models to cut the labor costs which constitutes around 50% – 60%  of their total expenses and build strategic partnerships with OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and other B2B suppliers for discounted products (spare parts, extra components and repair, and service products).

The leading indicators for improving productivity include the cost of raw materials, inventory turnover ratio, lead-time for product delivery, enhanced transparency due to heightened information access, improvement of service levels, and innovation potential. To achieve the above, most MROs are majorly focusing on strengthening the supply chain infrastructure, broad in-stock product offerings, and deep customer relationships to hold a strong position in the market. They are also expected to use the new predictive maintenance (PdM) technologies with the use of intelligent sensors and IoT, thereby manufacturing components to be replaced well before visible defects appear. PdM utilizes data from various sources, such as critical equipment sensors, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), and production data. MROs utilize predictive data that apply algorithms to the stored data to understand better how a machine should work and what it might be doing before a failure. This data is then fed to the operator in the form of alerts and insights, and the root cause analysis later is used by engineers and specialists to investigate and determine which action is the most appropriate one swiftly.

The engineers and the MRO experts study each of the equipment models and create virtual-twins/ holographic models and build simulations to create practice jobs for maintenance specialists. With the increase in the number and variety of autonomous and semi-autonomous tools and their newly updated manuals, training repair staff on the digitalization and integration of IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) with the existing procedures has become a daunting and time-consuming task. Use of handhelds, smart vehicles, and wearables has also gone up to quickly deploy resources, personnel, loads, automated inspection drones and robots that can perform time-taking and complicated repairs which also gave rise to massive data reserves retrieved from these devices to be studied and controlled. Higher automation leads to more control and real-time tracking, thereby handling labor shortages, eliminating human error and oversight.

As the downtime involved in the production process is extremely expensive, MRO clients employ the agents to ensure rapid action, consistent maintenance, tracking and supervision of day-to-day operations. E-commerce has revolutionized the MRO industry by increasing and diversifying the supplier base, making the procurement of SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) much more manageable, quicker, cheaper by 10% – 20%  and also by introducing automated identification systems that are used for easy identification of the materials and also for storing, retrieving and tracking of the data. The data collected via technologies such as barcodes, RFID, and voice identification is used for inventory demand forecasting and inventory management, which helps in ad-hoc supply, reducing excess inventory, and subsequently maximizing Return on Net Assets (RONA). MROs are also looking to embed their staff within their customer companies’ operations to observe the shortcomings during equipment handling and staff training and maximize the automation in material handling equipment.

The consolidation of all the activities between the clients and MROs can easily help build an integrated platform that includes all the information concerned with repairs, maintenance, and other customer-related services. As MRO has become such a data-dependent industry, there is an accelerated need for the experts to curate solutions that cater to providing higher efficiency and profit margins. More and more MRO players enter the competition every day by delivering all-around packages and expanded services to fight the traditional aftermarket specialists, creating such a highly dynamic and customer-oriented atmosphere. Subtl can help MRO agencies with every document intelligence need and provide a platform powered by Subtl bots for immediate query resolution for their clients and the concerned department experts.

Subtl can benefit MRO agencies in two ways. MROs need subject matter experts in every area to be used for fast disposal of information from the maintenance and operations manual database. It is often quite difficult for the staff to keep up with updates in equipment and their user manuals while tracking the field’s day-to-day operations. Subtl can be incorporated in the e-manual and equipment management software, which substantially reduces the downtime, response times, and personnel effort. Also, more automation led to more parameters for the repairmen to track while performing modifications or regular servicing. Furthermore, all the information from the wearables, autonomous vehicles, robots, drones, and other technologies can be uploaded to Subtl at regular intervals and be tested and studied for potential threats and alerts within a short period.

Another major delay is caused in procurement processes where Subtl can access all the supply chain records to quickly track, verify, and place orders of multiple SKUs within minutes. All the information retrieved from automatic identification devices can be accessed via Subtl conveniently to formulate accountable prediction models and dynamically manage immediate orders concerning changing scenarios. Overall, these practices enhance transparency amongst services, boost customer loyalty and satisfaction, the MROs’ internal profits and ease of conducting businesses vastly via Subtl.

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Vaishnavi Reddy

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