Mobilize Your Technicians with Mobile Asset Management

  • by Adolfo Menéndez Fernández, Application Architecture Manager, Repsol
  • April 1, 2005
SAP Mobile Asset Management can enhance maintenance processes through distribution of data to technicians and engineers in the field. If you are planning to implement it, your project strategy should take some key points into account.
Key Concept
Preventive and corrective maintenance are basic best practices for a supply chain. SAP Mobile Asset Management (MAM) links mobile devices such as PDAs with the appropriate SAP back-end components. It provides the infrastructure to enhance maintenance processes so that centralized staff can better support technicians and engineers in the field. By mobilizing technicians via MAM, companies can avoid redundant and error-prone administrative tasks and can increase the performance of supply chain processes by ensuring that equipment is in optimal condition.

Large companies with far-flung assets, such as factories, refineries, power stations, utilities networks, or transportation networks, go to great lengths to avoid unexpected downtime that could diminish supply chain performance. Maintenance supervisors prioritize orders and prepare preventive maintenance activities. Daily order documents are published and sent to field technicians or service engineers who do the work. The documents are filled out on site by people in the field and returned to the administrative support staff, who enter the data into a central system or application such as mySAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

This manual procedure can result in lower productivity and is error prone. If technicians require spare parts and they don't have easy access to an ERP system, they need to contact the people who can check stock availability at the warehouse. If they need additional equipment information, they must identify the right place or person to find details about the equipment. If maintenance priorities change, reams of additional paperwork and unneeded travel time may result.

Now let's look at the process using mobile technology and Mobile Asset Management (MAM), part of the SAP Solutions for Mobile Business application suite powered by the SAP NetWeaver component SAP Mobile Infrastructure (SAP MI). Information contained in the daily reports is available in the back-end system, where supervisors monitor and adjust for changing conditions by setting priorities and introducing new tasks. Technicians use mobile devices to access the information via Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), Local Area Network (LAN), etc. After synchronization, they receive an accurate picture in real time of what needs to be done. Technicians then transfer work-status notifications back to the system, along with other important data such as counter readings. Supervisors stay on top of the current job status and they can reprioritize tasks as required.

Let me give you a simple overview from an SCM business perspective of the functionality in MAM 2.0 and a preview of Release 2.5, which is in Ramp-Up and is expected to be released in the second half of 2005. I'll also provide recommendations about implementing MAM.

Adolfo Menéndez Fernández

Adolfo Menéndez Fernández is the application architecture manager at Repsol in Madrid. Previously, he worked at SAP Consulting Spain as the logistics consulting manager. He studied at the University of Oviedo, where he earned an electronic engineering degree. He is a certified SAP consultant in supply and demand planning (SNP and DP), order fulfillment (Global Available-to-Promise), production planning and detailed scheduling (PP/DS), as well as procurement and materials management (MM). Adolfo has more than 10 years of SAP implementation experience in the consumer product goods, pharmaceutical, automotive, furniture, textile, chemical, oil & gas, and steel industries using SAP ERP logistic modules (including PP, MM, and sales and distribution [SD]) as well as SAP SCM (DP, SNP, and PP/DS). He is APICS certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM).

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