Plan and Schedule a Sustainment Program for Complex Assets to Increase Uptime

  • by Bill Schregardus, Specialist Leader, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • March 28, 2012
Managing a fleet of complex assets requires a well-organized and detailed approach to document maintenance requirements and to schedule their execution. The aim is to balance uptime for the asset and leverage the use of the repair facility. These capabilities are available using SAP’s Maintenance Program Definition (MPD) Workbench and Maintenance Event Builder (MEB). Using standard functions and features in their SAP systems, organizations can plan, schedule, and monitor a lifetime asset sustainment program.
Key Concept
Heavy maintenance processes provide the means to plan and execute a large number of periodic, preventive, and predictive (i.e., inspections) maintenance tasks, repairs, and safety inspections on a large asset. The planning takes into account multiple dependencies between the actions to be performed and the work required to reduce the downtime of the item being maintained.

The Maintenance Program Definition (MPD) Workbench and Maintenance Event Builder (MEB) are part of the SAP for Aerospace & Defense (SAP for A&D) industry solution. A&D organizations typically use these SAP programs to plan, schedule, and track sustainment programs for aircraft and other complex assets.

Detailed maintenance or sustainment requirements, numerous one-time requirements, and specific compliance reporting to various agencies are not, however, unique to this business sector. Any group of large, complex assets that require a detailed approach to defining and executing a comprehensive sustainment program can benefit from these tools, even if the SAP for A&D industry solution is not installed. As long as the business functions I describe are activated and the configuration and master data are set up, an organization can use these processes.

Here are some examples of large, complex assets:

  • Heavy machinery. Large construction or mining equipment has extensive, ongoing preventive maintenance requirements, along with required safety inspections. The process of developing and tracking a sustainment program in the MPD Workbench and MEB ensures the operational availability of the equipment and facilitates compliance with worker safety regulations.
  • Oil and gas refineries. Periodic plant shutdowns for inspection and maintenance of these plants must be carefully planned and executed. Additional maintenance needs identified during the already scheduled work must be incorporated into the shutdown period as quickly and seamlessly as possible to reduce downtime. Adjusting the schedule and evaluating labor capacity impact of the additional work are critical to bringing the plant back online.
  • Ships: Maintenance and safety requirements are similar to those of aircraft in terms of the volume of actions to be performed on a single ship, with larger, heavier subcomponents to be repaired and maintained. Combining many of the maintenance actions into a single schedule can help facilitate the return of ships back into service and generates revenue.

The process of developing and managing complex sustainment programs for large, complex assets requires a broad toolset that is tightly integrated with the enterprise shop floor execution and financial reporting systems. SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) 6.04 provides this toolset with the MPD Workbench and MEB. These advanced capabilities, along with functionalities provided through plant maintenance (PM) and Project System (PS), combine to create an efficient and effective business process for planning, scheduling, and executing heavy maintenance operations. They bring together documentation, planning, scheduling, and compliance reporting as the bridge between the sustainment program definition and the compliance verification needed for heavy maintenance.

Bill Schregardus

Bill Schregardus has more than 10 years of experience in the implementation of overall solutions for aftermarket operations focused primarily in the SAP Aerospace and Defense industry sector. He has demonstrated his knowledge, skills, and abilities in the design and implementation of aftermarket business processes and has delivered SAP solutions that have leveraged the complex resource mix required for maintenance, repair, and overhaul. Bill has experience across repair and maintenance operations in SAP Aerospace and Defense, including heavy maintenance, component repair, and shop floor execution.

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