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Move All Important Information to ALMA

2 June 2022

In industrial maintenance, management of electrical and automation data is just as important as adding the key characteristics of mechanical equipment to an information system. Everyone in the organisation benefits from having all the crucial data in a single place.

Often, when we start co-operation with a customer, some of the company’s data are already in some kind of an information system, or at least in an Excel spreadsheet used by a key person of the company. Surprisingly, this baseline has not changed a lot over the years. Even here, in Finland, let alone in the wide world, there are truly many major companies still struggling with the Excel stage of data management.

However, a flexible and safe data system could really improve the operation efficiency of a great number of businesses, organisations, and industrial facilities.

For example, in industrial maintenance, better management of electrical and automation data is beneficial for everyone – the owners, management, employees, and the environment alike.

Poor data flow always causes problems

Luckily, many companies have left mere Excel spreadsheets behind. Nevertheless, there may be numerous different information systems in a company unable to communicate with each other. Separate systems easily induce professional and organisation level isolation, which is especially evident in problem-solving situations. For example, if separate systems are used in industrial maintenance for mechanical equipment and for electrical and automation data, information on a problem and its nature often remains within one of the systems. The equipment maintenance technician can be unaware of whether the problem is caused by a malfunction of the equipment or by something else. An electrician might have an idea on the actual reason, but the information need not ever reach him. The left and the right hand are working (or not) without co-ordination.

In the worst case, the production process can be interrupted because of poor information flow for quite a long time.

The multi-expertise of personnel is developing

When data are available from a single system, in the best case, information on a problem and its features is at the disposal of all system users in real time.

The right machine, device, or switch can be quickly pointed out to the right installer or technician.

At the same time, multi-expertise is developed. Within the framework of various laws and regulations, an installer can make the repairs on his or her own as far as possible. If special skills are required, an expert in the field can quickly be found from the same system.

For a long time, there has been talk of large age groups retiring. In Finland, retirement continues at a high rate. If data vital for an organisation remain with individual persons, retirement of these persons will lead to loss of a lot of tacit knowledge, but in the worst case, explicit knowledge can be lost as well. Because of this, all relevant information must be recorded and made available to the company while the persons still participate in work life. Retrieval of such information from a retired person is much more complicated.

Personal risks also have to do with data security. In a well-protected system, data are safe in the cloud even if an expert’s laptop computer is stolen or forgotten on a café table.

Switching from Lada to Lamborghini is not usually a good idea

What should be the starting point of data system acquisition? First, contact the undersigned, for example. Let’s find out the current data management level of your company free of charge. At the same time, let’s consider the target level of data management that would allow your company to get the most out of the system. There is no point in attempting to switch from Lada for Lamborghini at once; proceeding in smaller steps is a better idea.

Vitec ALMA’s expertise should be put to good use, as experience has taught us a lot over the years. For example, should you plan to use some 20 hours for mapping and reflecting on the data management of your company, I promise that we can do the same job in only a couple of hours. You can spend the rest of the time on your core activity and other development of your production.

Jan Finnilä
Business Manager
Vitec ALMA Oy