Why smart factories need digital prescriptive maintenance

Why smart factories need digital prescriptive maintenance

Gerry McCool,

“Smart factories” or “factories of the future” are bringing fast-changing, disruptive technologies into manufacturing processes, changing how manufacturers think about operations and transformation. As manufacturing ushers in a period of enormous digital transition and change, companies will be increasingly challenged to ensure the maintenance and availability of manufacturing capacity.

Your smart factory needs smart maintenance

Maintenance is a key component in any production system and critical to success for manufacturing organizations. Maintenance management ensures the maximum efficiency and availability of production equipment, utilities, and facilities at optimal cost and at satisfactory quality, safety, and environmental conditions. The proliferation of new equipment and technology makes maintenance management both more complex and more important than ever.

New factory tooling and equipment bring new possibilities for increased speed and yields, with better control than ever before. At the same time, organizations plan new equipment deployment to ensure the workforce is prepared for the safe, effective, and efficient operation and maintenance of new equipment.

Start by building digital prescriptive maintenance (DPM) into your maintenance strategy

Smart factories require a thoughtful maintenance strategy to ensure successful launch and rapid return on investment. DPM provides an orchestrated, unified environment for all of your systems, including:

  • Autonomous Maintenance. Ensure operator responsibilities for routine maintenance, such as cleaning, lubricating, and inspection, are revised and reworked with the operators. This first line of defense provides greater operator ownership and increases operators’ knowledge of their new equipment.
  • Planned Maintenance. Update maintenance tasks and intervals based on manufacturer recommendations and predicted failure rates. Best practices include:
    • Brainstorm potential failure modes in the new equipment.
    • Request manufacturer provided data to accelerate your predictive maintenance efforts.
  • Quality Maintenance. Update error detection and prevention as needed for new equipment.
  • Early Equipment Management. Develop and drive focused activities to speed time from launch to productivity for a loss and defect-free process.
  • Focused Improvement. Focus small group continuous improvement around greatest problem/value areas, while harnessing your team’s collective talents.
  • Training & Education. Plan training and education for operators, maintainers, and managers on the safe, effective, and efficient operation and maintenance of new equipment. Beyond skills, new equipment often requires a different workload for reactive and preventive maintenance. This should be planned and budgeted for accordingly.
  • Safety, Health, Environment. Risk, safety, health, and environmental plans should be reviewed and updated to consider change implications of new equipment. Lock-out/Tag-out procedures should be updated to reflect requirements of new equipment.

Leverage DPM’s case management and decisioning to speed your ROI

DPM goes beyond reactive, preventive, or predictive maintenance, and enables organizations to proactively optimize the cost and duty-cycle of devices and systems. In an increasingly digital factory with new equipment, having a centralized, orchestrated approach connecting your people and machines can truly optimize complex manufacturing processes. This is the benefit of DPM. Plus, DPM’s end-to-end case management and smart decisioning capabilities help ensure a smooth loss and defect-free launch to speed return on investment.

Industry leaders are already realizing the value in digitizing maintenance processes.

Rolls Royce Marine has become a leader in digital maintenance, responding more rapidly and improving service to provide exceptional experiences and outcomes for customers.

Similarly, a Fortune 200 agriculture and construction equipment company transformed itself into an agriculture and construction solutions provider using machine telematics to identify potential problems and proactively drive solutions for customers worldwide.

Xerox is leveraging digital technology to optimize their field service operations, as well. By putting all the tools an engineer would need in a mobile platform, they’ve improved productivity by 30%.

In each case described above, DPM is orchestrating the people, processes, and technology to drive downstream action to maximize machine productivity. By using DPM to sense conditions, analyze and prescribe the next best action for prevention or repair – and even issue automatic updating of embedded software – manufacturers can maximize operational performance.

Learn More:


  • Industry: Manufacturing & High Technology
  • Topic: Pega Platform
  • Challenge: Digital Process Automation

About the Author

As Director and Industry Principal for Global Manufacturing and High-Tech Markets at Pega, Gerry McCool helps clients create exceptional customer engagement and business outcomes through digital transformation.