Asset Monitoring & Diagnostic Center Essentials
Managing an Asset Monitoring & Diagnostic (M&D) Center is a daunting task. Yes, there are 7 focus areas to continuously balance when managing your center, but that doesn’t account for the business aspect. From continuity plans, to internal and external marketing, to dealing with an audit, there is a lot more to think about than just alarm set points and software.
This page focuses on things not directly related to monitoring assets. In fact, these are the most often overlooked aspects of managing your center. The following topics are discussed:
In today’s climate, machines need to run properly every hour of every day. Simply seeking slow-acting degradation mechanisms and failure modes isn’t enough to operate above and beyond your competition. The M&D Center must be ready to receive, diagnose, and respond to alerts at a moment’s notice. Therefore, to be effective and provide the service promised, 24/7 coverage is needed. The M&D Center must have a schedule for rotating shifts of analysts, on-call engineers, and duty managers.
Business continuity is essential and often thought of as unnecessary overhead - until it is needed. There will be times when the primary M&D Center must be evacuated. For example, if a water main breaks, fire suppression will be inoperable and the M&D Center must be evacuated. Alternate work locations vary from separate, but equally capable office (preferably to the Northeast or Southwest if the primary M&D center location is prone to tornadoes), to employees working from home with an established Virtual Private Network (VPN). A working plan to establish complete system operability must be established and maintained to ensure continuity of service with minimal interruption.
The best method to ensure repeatability is through written processes and procedures. These codify what is performed, how, and when. Personnel in training look to written processes and procedures for guidance outside of tribal knowledge, and experienced personnel utilize written processes and procedures for reminders. A review and approval process will assist your personnel with keeping your procedures up to date and will help recognize when your procedures need updating.
Fully automated work management systems require fully automated software applications that transfer data between applications. Through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), software applications can automatically transfer relevant information without the need to manually copy and paste from one application to another, minimizing the opportunity for errors. Also, ensure one application is the “source of truth” between all applications within the M&D Center.
With the need for immediate responses to alerts and alarms, there is an immediate need to keep the Center operating properly and efficiently. Neither critical operating equipment nor associated monitoring systems should be placed in queue for tickets to work through the system. Advanced M&D Centers require a person or team responsible for hardware and software located in the Center and offsite (cloud). Items include desktops/laptops, tier 1 and tier 3 monitors, inter connectivity between local and could environments, tag management, new application and dashboard development, and connectivity issues, etc.
Detailed logs must be kept of every action taken by M&D Center analysts and managers, such as alarm changes, contacts made between the customer and the M&D Center, and results of efforts to calculate the value brought by the M&D Center through catastrophic failure and downtime avoidance. Capturing avoidance is extremely important for success stories and other marketing initiatives.
The act of setting up a fully automated M&D Center is no small feat; however, the organization change management associated with setting up a fully automated M&D Center, coordinating M&D Center responsibilities and results, and changing the way you do business on a daily business is extremely challenging. The logistics of the emotional response by affected employees must be taken into account when implementing top-down change of this magnitude. A slow, deliberate process with small, incremental changes is the best way to implement this type of change.
Displaying value to internal and external stakeholders is as important as the M&D Center itself. M&D Centers usually entail intrinsic or perceived value, yet some at higher levels of companies may not see intrinsic value. Brochures, videos, dashboards, and records of dollars saved and downtime avoided will assist the M&D Center Manager to display real value internally and externally.
There are three major sources of return on investment: catastrophic failure avoidance, conversion from time-based to condition-based maintenance, and unit efficiency gains. Each must be considered equally as the M&D Center must, at least, account for its own O&M and Capital investments. The M&D Manager must understand the importance of the business surrounding the M&D center.
Contact us today to upgrade your M&D program, capture real value, and ensure longevity in your program.