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Turn Coronavirus Restrictions into Facility Maintenance Planning Opportunities

You know the drill by now: #StayHome. In March, nations around the world went into lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19. Even though economies are slowly starting to open up again, the continued presence of the virus and social distancing rules mean we still can't go back to normal operations. Not until scientists develop a vaccine.

For some businesses, especially those in the tech industry, working remotely from home is common. But for many others, it’s a huge adjustment—if not impossible. What about facility maintenance planning teams? As VP of Facilities, you may have started a predictive maintenance initiative before the coronavirus struck, but now must limit the human footprint on your facility.

Good news: Your initiative doesn’t have to grind to a halt. There’s still plenty you can do remotely. Use this crisis as an opportunity to get things in order—here’s what you can do to keep the wheels turning from home.

Study the ISO standards

You may have gone through ISO 14224, 55000, 13250, and 16354 before, but with so many other things on your plate, perhaps you didn’t get the opportunity to study them in depth. Now’s your chance to build a stronger foundation for your Industry 4.0 maintenance plan.

Here’s a summary about each of the key ISO standards, as well as some helpful resources for gaining a better understanding of what’s required.

ISO 14224

The goal of ISO 14224 is to help you standardize how you organize your equipment and collect operational performance data. Adhering to this standard facilitates information exchange among facility managers, manufacturers, contractors, and owners. It’s a lot of work initially, but getting it done now means you’ve got a solid foundation for all of your other Industry 4.0 goals.


ISO 55000

The ISO 55000 family (55000, 55001, 55002, 55010) defines Asset Management concepts, terminology, and requirements for an appropriate management system. They also provide guides for implementing such a system and aligning financial and non-financial asset management teams.


ISO 13250 & 16354

These standards pertain to taxonomies and knowledge libraries. Together, these build the foundation for organizing your facility’s documentation. The guidelines in these standards provide the basis for establishing a uniform structure to classify and link content across your documents. Check out topicmaps.org to learn more about the history of these standards and current best practices.

Get familiar with machine learning and its capabilities

Machine learning technology is the basis for Industry 4.0. You don’t need to understand it in depth, but you should gain enough familiarity so that you have a good picture of its possibilities beyond just IIoT. This base knowledge will also better equip you to spot vendors who say all the right buzzwords, but at the end of the day, can’t walk the talk.

Here are some helpful resources to get you started:

Set a task force to build your Asset Hierarchy

So now you’ve got your personal reading lined up for the next few weeks, but what can the rest of your team do? Remember the transformation s-curve and the main requirements of ISO 14224? This is the perfect opportunity to focus on tackling that mountain of unstructured text and image data (such as instrument datasheets and engineering drawings) to gather context for your facilities. Focus on creating your asset hierarchy.

We’ve laid out some guidelines for creating a hierarchical asset register with AI that your task force can follow. However, if you’d rather avoid the high upfront cost and challenges that come with building AI solutions, you can also achieve your goals remotely by using a system of intelligence. A system of intelligence is an end-to-end solution designed to execute a series of workflows typically spanning several disciplines for large volumes of data, and is powered by human-in-the-loop machine learning. This means that your subject matter experts (SMEs) can use machine learning without needing any background knowledge, while still allowing them to review and make corrections to the machine’s work so they’re not forced to rely on a blackbox. You get the speed of AI while still achieving 100% accuracy.

Additional tools for remote work

On top of systems of intelligence, there are a few other tools you can use to further support your task force’s efforts. You’re probably already making routine Zoom or Google Meet check-in calls with your team to keep everyone aligned to your goals. But we’ve found that’s usually not enough. If you aren’t already using them, here are a few other productivity tools the Cenozai team is using to maintain momentum:

  • Clubhouse for task management
  • Slack for asynchronous communication
  • Google Docs for collaborative work

Turn crisis into opportunity

Social distancing restrictions don't need to mean lost time for your facility maintenance team. Come out of this challenging period on top of your competition by using it to your advantage. Catch up on the things you didn’t have time for before, like strengthening your understanding of new tech, and focus your team on laying the foundation for your facilities to migrate to Industry 4.0.