FMs working in advanced manufacturing environments are well placed to deal with the demands for flexibility imposed by the pandemic, says Lee Price.
What distinguishes an advanced manufacturing facility from traditional production environments is the use of data to underpin core manufacturing processes, with being IoT capabilities as critical as power, water or the factory building itself.
FM has been critical to many organisations’ crisis management capability during the pandemic. They have rolled out work-from-home capabilities and remote support to employees, while maintaining and reconfiguring workplaces so workers can return safely.
FM in the advanced manufacturing sector often benefits from the same IoT capabilities and infrastructure that drives the core manufacturing operations. FM can utilise tools such as sensor devices and real-time data analysis tools to more closely align FM operations with the weekly, daily and minute-by-minute fluctuations in the manufacturing cycle. As a result, the FM supporting advanced manufacturing has been able to react quickly to the sudden slowdown or cessation of manufacturing activity by reforecasting models of asset utilisation, wear and therefore maintenance interventions. The ability to flex maintenance schedules proactively based on wear means we avoid exposing engineers and customers to infection risk through unnecessary PPM visits, waste collection or cleaning.
As our customers reinstate manufacturing operations and feasibly ramp up production levels, there will be challenges for FM businesses. Although all businesses will require a significant element of planning and additional safety precautions, maybe permanently, the FM in advanced manufacturing will have a unique advantage over those in more conventional settings. As IoT-enabled FMs, we can track, in real time, the impacts of returning workers and the demands of increasing manufacturing operations, and align FM service delivery to support the functional and best value requirements of the main manufacturing business.
Lee Price is commercial director at Leadec