Alsys: an expert in the major challenges of the future
An expert in fundamental processes for the conservation of water and air, the ALSYS Group (2018 turnover: €40 million, 150 pers.) was built around CTI, a company founded thirty years ago, then bought in 2010 by François Garcia, current president of ALSYS. External growth has made it possible to combine complementary activities within three main activities – Filtration, Catalysis and Speciality Materials – positioned in industrial markets such as water, oil, food and feed, gas or even chemistry.
The group is internationally recognised through its business presence in Canada, the United States, China, Germany and South America. The major challenge of setting up a CMMS solution lies in optimising the maintenance department’s performance.
CMMS: optimising the production tool and making it more reliable
The deployment of the DIMO Maint MX CMMS solution involves notable companies CTI and Orelis, the former representing the group’s largest production unit. The two companies, which generate turnover of €13 million with a 90-person workforce, are located on the same site.
The maintenance department, managed by José Garcia, is made up of five multi-skilled technicians in pneumatics, hydraulics, mechanics or automatism, all with 10 to 20 years of experience. Mr Garcia states that: “maintenance directly influences the performance of the production equipment by limiting downtime and reducing accidents. Some furnaces can reach 8m3 but the slightest incident can ruin a firing, knowing that it can cost €50,000 to €60,000 per day.”
The site had a rather inefficient CMMS, the results of which were not used appropriately (lack of action plans, use of a complicated after-sales tool, focused on preventive maintenance).
Franck Beaupère, QHSE manager, highlights the advantage of shifting from a simple reporting tool or preventive work planning tool to a tool that optimises the performance and reliability of the production tool. He adds: “We wanted to track all the incidents that occurred in our workshops and obtain a single tool for maintenance instead of a suite of applications. All employees need access to it, regardless of the department (R&D, production, administration, etc.)”.
A multifunctional tool that covers a broad scope
The maintenance department manages a broad scope that includes buildings and production tools. A tool was needed to optimise the internal maintenance processes (spare parts management, nomenclature, stocks, etc.) as well as preventive maintenance; improved reliability was also important to ensure that the tool was not only used for incident tracking, but also for monitoring the improvement action plan.
DIMO Maint MX was presented at Alsys in September 2017. “Our Microsoft Dynamics ERP integrator suggested DIMO Maint MX to us. The solution also met a significant need for control equipment management”, says Garcia.
Mr Beaupère enjoyed the easy learning and ergonomics, as well as the obvious user-friendliness. CTI is an ISO 9001 certified company, with a renewal every three years. Given the broad technical scope, the company is subject to client and system audits at least twice a year, with maintenance being one of the areas assessed. The cloud was not a prerequisite. At the start of the project, a native solution to Dynamics 365 BC was considered because the department did not want to add additional software to the ERP.
Rapid deployment and user-friendliness
Three people from the CTI maintenance team were initially trained, and two other technicians received a transfer of knowledge. In total, more than 60 external applicants were trained, nearly all of CTI. Mobility is not used because the workshop is 200 meters long and all staff members have a PC. The requests always include an entry in the CMMS, with the maintenance manager assigning the technicians based on priority.
For preventive maintenance, the department processes the task list and enters the reports. On a daily basis, the main indicators are: requests, follow up of tasks performed, and study of the effects/causes/remedies related to the previous day’s events. “It became a ritual. We are systematically seeking to implement workarounds to eliminate or control incidents that have significantly impacted production. We often generate work orders internally.” explains Garcia.
CMMS connector for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
Spare parts and stocks are managed directly in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
A connector has also been put in place to link the parts consumption in the CMMS to the spare parts stock managed in Dynamics 365 Business Central. The connector has two purposes:
- Retrieve from the CMMS the quantities of parts available in the physical stock as well as the related costs, data present in Dynamics 365 BC.
- Obtain the relevant indicators of maintenance cost by equipment and more importantly by business units.
“In the end, we benefit from an overall refined financial vision of maintenance with a cost breakdown by business unit or equipment. The system has led to better item coding and better spare part handling.”
Quantified benefits after one year of use
Some numbers speak for themselves: “When I look at the cumulative annual hours reported on the CMMS, I find 70% of the attendance hours of my maintenance staff.” More than 900 requests come from external employees and 3,000 work orders have been processed – including preventive maintenance and improvement requests.
The production staff are satisfied with the equipment control: “Incidents still occur, but we have seen a decrease in automatic calls to our equipment outside production periods, which means that on-call staff have been resting easy. This perception is an important indicator. We are seeing a drop in the amount of equipment that had previously experienced recurring breakdowns. Monthly monitoring of work indicates higher rates of preventive maintenance and improvements, rather than curative maintenance, so this is a desirable trend,” says Mr Garcia.
Adding that CTI had received positive feedback from an auditor who found the CMMS to be understandable, offering quick access to answers.
Mr Garcia measures the success of the CMMS’s implementation by how many users have adopted the solution, including both maintenance staff, who benefit from better work organisation and task sharing, and requesters, who appreciate the user-friendliness. Organisational reflexes have developed. Logging is crucial if an employee is absent during an audit or leaves the company.
The implementation of a CMMS is being considered for the Boston site if activity remains sustained; it will be beneficial to have all the maintenance costs together in a single area for a better financial vision.
Finally, they would also like to create an interface between the maintenance work and the manufacturing schedule. The objective is to schedule preventive maintenance by counting the production sheet and not based on a timeframe.