Luxembourgian agro-industrial company Socfin increases the uptime on its fleet of machines while reducing maintenance costs.
Socfin established in 1909, with a turnover of € 546 M and 48 500 direct and indirect employees, is a Luxembourgian industrial Group specialising in plantation managing (194 300 ha) as well as the production of palm oil and rubber which represent 1% and 0.6% of global production respectively. The Group operates in around ten countries, particularly in South-East Asia and West Africa. 31 workshops maintain the 1 611 vehicles available to the maintenance teams of 34 industrial units, with the production sites located quite far away from the major cities.
Maintenance is managed independently, each site with its own team. Higher response rates are required during peak seasonal periods to ensure the transportation and delivery of crops to the factories. Socfin was looking for a shared operational reports solution at Group level to optimise the management of its garages, with all the data originally gathered and generated manually.
A significant challenge: integration with the Sage X3 ERP software
The choice of CMMS software came at a time when the Group was in the process of re-digitising the data generated by its agricultural business activities through the implementation of Sage X3. After conducting market research and following the advice of its ERP integrator, Socfin chose the DIMO Maint MX solution. Although the product was relatively new and only available in Cloud mode, it was selected based on high regard for the publisher and its long-standing experience in the maintenance management domain. The tool had to be integrated with a range of software packages within a global infrastructure hosted in Lausanne (Switzerland).
Synchronisation of data flows within the CMMS project
Each time an item was created in the ERP tool, it also had to be available in the CMMS solution, and every item issued by the warehouse also had to be added to the MX tool. The data would circulate in two directions: when a work request was opened in the CMMS, the data needed to appear in the ERP tool so that the warehouse clerk could issue the item. The formalisation and securing of data have been two key project objectives for Socfin.
Opting for a flexible solution and a responsive team
For Daniel Haas, CFO of Socfin Holdings: “The DIMO Maint team remained available to us for the development of a dedicated interface with Sage X3. MX should above all be integrated into the stock module, as we were looking to avoid duplicate entries. It was not only about finding out the stock status for our spare parts in MX: we were looking more generally at having a unique repository permanently available to users to allow them to track the issuing of parts from the warehouse and the purchase process”. Top-down data (such as signage or stock status) and bottom-up data (issuing of parts) were managed in real time using web services.
The next step: the use of external data
DIMO Maint has made a mirror copy of its database available to Socfin—which then feeds the Socfin datawarehouse—only for the purposes of reading and cross-reporting of the information specific to the CMMS and information fed through from other sources. “The MX solution has been deployed in Cameroon. The local garage supervisor has been a driving force in terms of the implementation and functional integration of the software for users. Cloud mode allows for infrastructure, installation and server constraints to be overcome: a simple web interface is all that’s needed”, reiterates Mr. Haas.
Four operational and functional benefits observed
The reports are based on tangible, traceable elements which are incorporated into the global Information System. With two years of hindsight to draw on, Mr. Haas has noted the following benefits:
- The overall maintenance cost has been reduced owing to the implementation of preventive maintenance—which didn’t exist in the past—rather than corrective maintenance. The software has allowed for resources to be organised and optimised, for example by implementing schedules and organising the ordering of spare parts.
- The fleet of machines has more uptime, which is a vital aspect in terms of the harvesting and transportation of crops.
- The maintenance budget is well controlled, with figures to support it.
- There is a strict level of transparency: users have access to more information which causes less frustration and tension between the user departments and the garage, for example in terms of dates for repairs and availability of lorries.
Prospects for the future: maintenance over the long term
Socfin is planning to roll out the solution for all of the other sites within the Group. Moreover, expansion is envisaged for the machines used at plantation factories, with the local integrator in Cameroon having been particularly pleased with the flexibility offered by DIMO Maint MX.