Steps to Make Your Plant Improvements Succeed

Strategies for Automated Equipment Upgrades

Steps to Make Your Plant Improvements Succeed

This post is all about strategies and steps to help you with upgrading your automated equipment. Ongoing plant improvements are critical to the success of any manufacturer. Does the following conversation sound familiar?

  • Maintenance Manager: “Our equipment is so old.”
  • Plant Manager: “How old is it?”
  • Sounds like a joke, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not a joke. Many companies I talk to have equipment that is older than their adult children and they have no idea how to deal with it. They have been asking for money for improvements but they keep being told to run it until it breaks. As they leave for the day they just keep hoping this won’t be the night they get that call.

We all know hope is not a strategy but how do you convince others you need to act now and have a plan. Where do you start? How do you make the business case to get the funding you need for improvements to your plant?

Improvements & Upgrades: Capital Improvements

  • Plant Manager: “We need money to upgrade – Like yesterday.” 
  • CFO Finance Officer: “Let’s chat again in a week.”

Plant upgrades will typically fall under capital improvements. That means it is a permanent structural change (modernization) or the restoration (retrofit) of some part of your plant that increases or enhances the overall long-term value of the asset. Capital improvements may involve financial justifications like tax deductions and amortization. To succeed in getting approval for upgrades to your automated equipment you usually need to provide a clear business plan. Having a business plan and having your facts together regarding your assets and understanding the risk and potential downtime is critical.

Asset Management

Horizon Solutions can help you with your business plan and your facts by analyzing your plant based on a number of critical pieces of information. Our team will report on the following:

  1. What is the lifecycle status of your automation equipment?
  2. Are the components discontinued or at end of life? Are there spare parts available?
  3. How critical is the line to your facility?
  4. Does anyone know how to work on these parts?
  5. What are the potential downtime costs associated?

How is this all accomplished?
We send an Asset Management Specialist to your site. He or she will gather all the information, accompanied by an escort from your company. Your team assists us with plant terminology such as what an area of the facility is called and how you refer to the manufacturing lines and panels. Using your nomenclature ensures the accuracy of the reports. Horizon Solutions will then analyze the data and provide you with meaningful reports regarding lifecycle information and easy to use executable files that can be tailored to your facility. Our team will present this information so that you can have a clear business case of not only why you need to move forward but where you should start.

Proactive versus Reactive

equipment upgrades modernizationEarlier in this post, we said: “Hope is not a strategy.” Equipment will fail over time. You want to convince others on your team of this fact. Being able to present the business case and a plan to accomplish it with some tangible research and reporting is the key to success. This deliverable allows you to go to your financial team with a clear and well-informed message. Reach out to Horizon Solutions and find out how. Let’s get you out of the hope strategy and working towards a solid business plan to address your required plant improvements. 

How old is your equipment? Are you hoping it won’t fail this week? Next week? What is your plan if it does?