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How can SAP's predictive maintenance help manufacturers?

From react to prevent to predict -- here's a look at how SAP has taken maintenance to the next level and how S/4HANA can lead to fewer machine breakdowns.

With the cloud version of S/4HANA Asset Management, a line-of-business product within the S/4HANA Enterprise Management umbrella, companies can truly make progress in their quest for less machine downtime through the product's predictive maintenance functionality.

Companies have long realized that one of their core assets is their equipment and machinery and, more to the point, keeping those working at an optimal level. This ensures uninterrupted production, not to mention smoother logistics and supply chain management. Indeed, taking a proactive approach to machine maintenance -- or better yet, a predictive one -- leads to reduced machine downtime, lower maintenance costs and higher return on assets.

S/4HANA Asset Management helps realize that potential by attending to maintenance management and business processes by leveraging the constant stream of data flow from sensors, machine tagging, wireless technology and predictive algorithms. The available predictive analytics in S/4HANA Asset Management enables maintenance planners to gain a holistic view of maintenance planning and, in turn, helps ensure effective planning of required spare parts and technical resources and manpower.

The growing availability and lowering costs of sensor devices and associated technology have enabled companies to install sensor devices on all key equipment and machinery that then stream live data of a machine's condition to an SAP ERP system. Maintenance planners ensure that this data streaming from the actual and physical equipment also matches the company's assets created in the SAP ERP system. With the help of the predictive analytics and algorithm, the Asset Management predictive maintenance system is able to intelligently prepare a maintenance and service schedule to keep the equipment in optimal condition. This in turn also leads to higher OEE (overall equipment effectiveness), which measures the asset availability together with its quality and performance. It also leads to effective benchmarking of equipment to see, for example, why there are fewer machine breakdowns at one customer's site as compared to another and be able to identify and trigger root cause analysis.

While this predictive maintenance may just be the beginning of S/4HANA Asset Management offerings, companies can consider also purchasing SAP Business Network, which brings together three different cloud-based SAP companies, Ariba, Concur and Fieldglass. While Ariba is a cloud-based procurement product that companies can use to procure spare parts, Fieldglass offers temporary and contract workforce management that companies can use to plan maintenance activities, while Concur caters to travel and expense management needs of a company and can be used to ensure timely availability of the key maintenance resources required. 

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