How "Rational Consolidation" Can Help Manufacturers Remain Competitive
The shifting of traditional maintenance department functions to a service center model that manages maintenance activities is causing many manufacturers to review how maintenance functions are performed at their facilities. The outsourcing of maintenance has become a solution for many companies, allowing them to focus on their core business while others handle maintenance tasks.
Many of these outsourced agreements combine the maintenance services of one company with the software systems of another. MRO Software, Inc. provides just such a service with their Maximo Enterprise Suite, an asset and service management solution. Their systems allow the manufacturer to manage the complete life cycle of strategic assets including: planning, procurement, deployment, tracking, maintenance, and retirement.
But these asset management systems can do more than just manage maintenance functions; they can also be used to track workflow, labor efficiency, lease management, and warranty and service management across the asset base. They manage not just the plant facility maintenance, but also product flow through production and, once the product is sold, to customer service.
One software system suite can serve several functions in a plant, eliminating individual niche software systems that focus on a single capability and cannot communicate with each other. This more efficient method, know as "Rational Consolidation," allows a manufacturer to consolidate numerous smaller software systems into several larger systems that that have the functionality to meet individual department requirements while reducing the number of applications that an enterprise must support.
Rational Consolidation, though, does not combine everything under one monolithic, inflexible system, which can be just as inefficient as having individual systems for each function. Rather, with Rational Consolidation, a manufacturer will choose three or four applications that cover all their needs, such as Financial, Human Resources, Supply Chain and Asset Management. This approach allows the systems to communicate and exchange data with each other, while still providing then in-depth functionality that each area of the business requires to run efficiently. This strategy also provides management with a consolidated view of activities across the enterprise.
Today's manufacturers are looking for new methods to help them control costs and remain competitive, outsourcing the maintenance function while consolidating their software systems is one method that can help manufacturers remain competitive.