How organizations supercharge their maintenance and repair operations to combat global disruption

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The disruption begins: Impact of COVID-19

Months into the worldwide pandemic, Coronavirus (COVID-19) caused a supply chain disruption that would impact a major American automotive manufacturing plant for high-end sports cars. For the second time since the beginning of this worldwide disruptor, the 1 million square foot factory was at risk of closing its doors on its 1,500 hardworking employees. The facility’s Coronavirus protocols managed to keep workers healthy and employed, but due to unforeseen supplier disruptions the production plant scrambled to maintain adequate stock levels. As supply dwindled rapidly, it became clear that outdated component lifecycle management and inventory management technologies were no match for this large-scale manufacturing disruption. Within weeks of identifying the supply chain issue, general optimism around the plant had turned into despair as management unwillingly put padlocks on the plant doors once again. Against their best concerted efforts, Production Line Managers, Master Schedulers, Quality Assurers, Industrial Engineers and Supply Chain Planning Leads could not avoid halting the production of the strong, sleek, and supercharged vehicles for the first time since the beginning of the worldwide pandemic. As the group of workers described below sat at home thinking about the shutdown and what went wrong, it became abundantly clear; to combat future global disruptions, this manufacturer’s supply chain operations needed to be as resilient and supercharged as the vehicles they produced.

maintenance and repair operations to


Impact of supply chain disruptions on Federal, State, and Local Agencies

In both the public and private sector, supply chain disruptions have affected organizations’ abilities to produce mission critical assets. This disruption has been especially hurtful to organizations who have not supercharged their supply chains to be agile and responsive. While automotive manufacturers may react to supply chain disruptions with factory closures, Agencies, whose products are often a matter of national security and defense, must develop different solutions in order to maintain mission readiness. Without the proper tools and capabilities in place, global disruptions can have severe negative impacts on Federal supply chains, affecting their ability to perform fundamental activities like store inventory, issue and transport goods, and perform critical maintenance and repair operations. This point-of- view will address the supply chain disruptions recently experienced in Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) organizations and suggest industry leading solutions to mitigate future challenges. Due to the importance of their mission, Agencies should prioritize invest in these solutions to morph their Maintenance and Repair activities into resilient operations capable of sustaining disruption.

Lopez Production Line/ Plant Floor Manager

Benny Individual Maintainer/ Industrial Engineer Davis Master Scheduler Elisa

Supply Chain Planning Lead Devyn Quality Assure Lopez is a seasoned operations

specialist with experience working on a shop floor who knows the product inside and out and recently promoted

from the product quality area.

Benny reports to the Maintenance Lead and gets his hands dirty delivering on individual maintenance

tasks day in and day out.

Davis manages everything related to supply chain (i.e., all departments

and processes involved in the manufacturing of goods such as procurement, sourcing, and production)

and makes sure goods arrive on time and in the most efficient manner.

Elisa is the top dog who is responsible for the company's overall supply chain strategy as well as coordinating,

organizing, and overseeing all activities involved in the identification, acquisition, production, and distribution

of the company's inventory.

Devyn inspects all maintenance work that’s performed. No mistakes

or sloppy work passes her without undergoing the strictest scrutiny.

Commercial manufacturing & Federal Agencies share similar challenges:

MRO services must support increasing aggressive turnaround times, workforce restrictions, and complex supply chain networks. Provide more efficient and effective MRO services through cutting edge technologies, modernization equipment and maintenance processes, and digital transformation.


Challenges faced by the supply chains during black swan events

Maintenance and Repair Operations have taken an alarming and, in some cases, devastating hit as supply chain networks paused or halted during COVID-19. The disruptions experienced by MRO service centers have been complex, causing organizations to work within restricted environments, with resource shortages, and vendor shutdowns (e.g. a small business supplier cannibalized by unplanned expenses and competition). In addition, organizations have lacked critical spare parts and supplies necessary to perform MRO tasks and repairs at the operational level and depot-level, increasing manufacturers’ reliance on maintenance performed by overseas vendors (across Europe and Asia). Many of the MRO related challenges result from the four causes below.

Inability to increase maintenance operations efficiency

Production surge readiness

Times of unpredictable consumer demand and inconsistent supplier throughput require that organizations efficiently adapt the speed and the type of maintenance operations they perform. Organizations that lack documented surge response processes and plans, or suffer from supplier contracts without production surge clauses, will face increased difficulties adapting their maintenance operations to receive mission critical parts and holding their suppliers accountable.

Persona example

Elisa, the Supply Chain Planning Lead at a manufacturing plant, is notified there will be an increase in demand for the repair of a certain chassis part, as it is known to break more often than planned. Unfortunately, this surge in repair was unexpected and not included in the master schedule, requiring Elisa to consult with her supplier. The supplier quickly informs Elisa that the contract signed fails to require any repair or production surge obligations in this scenario. Elisa’s supplier informs her that the lead time necessary to provide the materials requested will exceed her newly expected due date.

Increased workflow bottleneck Plant productivity

Increased equipment downtime and personnel shortages can lead to severe workflow bottle necks during a crisis. Organizations must understand the susceptible areas of their operations that would benefit most from equipment

modernization, cross training, and remote learning investments.

Persona example

Due to a supplier’s resistance to providing additional support for the chassis part, Elisa plans to increase repairs and production of the part in-house. Elisa consults with Davis, the Master Scheduler, to hash out the details of her plan. The

pipeline shortage will inevitably cause a major bottleneck in the processing line for the repair and retrofit. However, Davis does not have good news for Elisa. The impacts of the pandemic resulted in key resources, being out unexpectedly. Due to a personnel shortage, and a lack of cross training, there are no available skilled operators for the machine required to fabricate the necessary part.

Insufficient data to anticipate equipment failure Asset management

Unscheduled production line shutdowns due to maintenance and repair of major end-items, and plant floor equipment, can be especially hurtful to organizations during a crisis when time is scarce, consumer demand is inconsistent, and resources are expensive. Insufficient visibility into scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and equipment wear and tear through a lack of sensors, cloud analytics, and IT systems integration, paired with aging tools and equipment, can result in unavoidable production delays and reactive instead of proactive responses to maintenance backlogs.

Persona example

Finally, after weeks of staffing shortages, Benny quickly gets to work on producing the key chassis part. Unfortunately, the machine breaks down due to the increased workload, furthering the production delay. If only the organization had access to asset failure prediction data, they could have conducted repairs on the machine while there was downtime!

Need for data driven decision making Connected data

Data connectivity issues can vary from the inability to gather data, to the inability to consolidate collected data, to the inability to draw important insights from the collected data. Without a seamless strand of data (i.e., digital thread) flowing across end-to-end operations, organizations will find it challenging to engage in data driven decision making and to identify the root cause of their MRO challenges.

Persona example

Benny quickly calls Lopez, the Production Line Manager, to see if she has ever seen this machine break down. Lopez would love to help, but the organization lacks sufficient downtime information and data connectivity capabilities, making it near impossible for Lopez to draw data driven insights and identify the root cause of the machine’s breakdown. She will also have difficulties implementing preventative maintenance integral to the part master’s production schedule. As a result, there will be a 2-week delay in the production of this critical chassis part.




What does a supercharged MRO look like?

Agile people management processes and documented surge response playbooks help MRO adapt quickly to unforeseen disruptors or supplier throughput shortages Seamless connection of data from equipment or source to maintainer and final interface for quick and easy data driven maintenance and decision making

Streamlined process and scenario modeling enables assessment of MRO repair shops and suppliers (small or medium enterprises) for their responsiveness to the ever changing demands in the MRO environment due to scheduled and unscheduled maintenance complexity and scarce resources

Visibility into part and

equipment wear and tear from sensors and cloud analytics on aging equipment reduces downtime from MRO and maximizes efficiency Use your superpowers

Now, imagine a production environment that is quickly adaptable in times of unforeseen crisis. This shop floor has a highly trained and versatile workforce, allowing for the movement of employees to the most in-demand sections quickly. The management team not

only has a good supplier network but also has insight into its maintenance processes and needs, responding quickly when demand spikes. This type of production environment has supercharged its MRO.

Supercharged MRO in Action

Months into the worldwide pandemic, effects from COVID-19 had the potential to severely disrupt MRO at a major American Automotive manufacturing plant for high-end sports cars. This Automotive Manufacturer leveraged its MRO superpowers to anticipate supplier throughput shortages and quickly adapt their MRO to meet product demand.

Elisa, the Supply Planning Lead and Davis, the Master Scheduler, regularly meet with major suppliers. In the most recent meetings, Elisa and Davis discussed possible threats to the manufacturer’s sourcing and procurement with their suppliers. They have discussed with their suppliers anticipated challenges. Leveraging the manufacturer’s disaster scenario plans and pressure test results, the plant jumped into action using its MRO superpowers to combat the possible pipeline shortages and gathering throughput data.

The plant has sensors installed on all equipment used for maintenance and repair, allowing Lopez, the Production Line Manager, to monitor equipment wear and tear regularly and Devyn, the Quality Assurer, to confirm that the inventory and products meet regulatory and company standards. The use of sensors in the maintenance process allows Davis to plan and perform preventive maintenance avoiding unnecessary downtime, as the sensors warn the plant of imminent failure in the equipment used for MRO activities.

This plant previously implemented digital twin technology. The manufacturing team regularly processes maintenance and repair data, letting the team anticipate problems and implement solutions quickly. The digital twin technology is a major superpower, helping this manufacturer gain insight into their consumer demand patterns and the consistency of their suppliers’ throughput. Leveraging the knowledge gained from their strong supplier relationships and plant floor data, the manufacturing team jumps into action anticipating supplier throughput shortages and implementing the plant’s Disaster Response Playbook. Next, Elisa and Davis discuss planned work and inventory needs, comparing current stock to inventory required to complete scheduled maintenance and repairs. Lopez and Devyn join the meeting to discuss how the plant can work around specific supplier shortages, leveraging their knowledge of the production line and product requirements.

The team shares this information from the manufacturer’s MRO superpowers with Benny, the Maintainer. Benny can help the plant execute against the supplier shortage plan. The plant trained all maintainers in multiple areas of maintenance and repair at the plant. This versatile workforce is a key component of the plant’s MRO superpowers; an adaptability, versatile and highly trained workforce. Benny and the other maintainers execute the quickly revised maintenance and repair schedule easily.

When supplier throughput faced severe shortages due to the worldwide pandemic, this manufacturer continued with production, even as their competitors halted production because of throughput concerns. This manufacturer’s ability to keep their doors open during a major black swan event, is a direct result of the organization’s efforts to amass the superpowers needed to build resilient and adaptable MRO.


Combat future supply chain disruptions Organizations are implementing a variety of supply chain innovations in order to help increase the resiliency, speed, and flexibility of their Maintenance and Repair

Operations. Investing time and resources in the solutions described below can give any MRO organization the edge it needs to outperform under duress.

Disaster response playbook Production surge readiness

Organizations can increase their disaster response readiness by investing in a surge response plan and flexible surge response tools that enable stress testing the Maintenance and Repair Operations under various scenarios. In addition, organizations can conduct research to identify their MRO’s characteristics that most impact ability to respond to black swan events, greatly increasing their mission readiness.

Parts and services acquisition strategy Production surge readiness

Organizations can leverage strategic contract building to increase visibility into their contractor’s and their supply chain’s production surge response capabilities. Including strategic language in contracts, such as mandating that contractors provide procurement analysis and alternate sources of repair in the eventuality of a disaster, is key to increasing preparedness. By classifying contractor visibility across the three phases of supply chain resiliency (Readiness,Response, and Recovery), organizations will be better able to understand their contractor’s surge response capabilities.

Cross training and virtual reality enabled remote learning

Workforce Readiness

Organizations that proactively engage in cross training can effectively diminish their MRO facility’s dependence on

one specialized resource, reducing the chances that this resource causes a bottleneck in the supply chain if ever it becomes incapacitated for a period of time. Organizations can leverage

online resources and training videos to simultaneously reduces need for human contact during a health-related crisis, while also making it feasible for employees across the MRO facility to have access to key training resources. Organizations can also leverage their Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) for business processes, performance metrics, practices, and people skills.

Implementing VR capabilities throughout training practices enables maintainers to receive real-time feedback and guidance as they conduct repairs. VR enabled training also provides maintainers with increased access to repair logs, offsite resources, and staff to complete maintenance and repairs. During a black swan event, where Intermediate, Operational, and Depot level maintenance work remains unchanged, but staff decreases, VR enabled training and guidance can help individual maintainers increase their speed of operations.

Plant visibility and productivity Plant productivity

Organizations can expand their plant visibility and productivity by implementing an end-to-end solution that solves specific business issues and delivers measurable benefits.

Solutions that focus on connected data, and dashboarding offer right-time data visibility, proactive alerts and perspective insights into multiple tiers of the MRO facility. This enables leaders to respond to supply chain disruptions and strategically select areas that would benefit most from capital investment.

3D Printing collaborative partnership A leading national public-private collaborative partnership in Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing is building a Disaster Response Playbook with various disaster response scenarios to stress test their Maintenance and Repair Operations in case of a black swan event. To enhance their production’s resiliency, the partnership is also working to identify 5 supply chain characteristics that affect the complexity of responding to production surges.

Future of work

Using guides that outline industry best practices, an organization is leveraging the tools and practices they already have in place to quickly pivot into a virtual work environment. By launching a digital assessment, the organization can develop a long-term digital vision that uses data and VR capabilities to expand practices and increase performance.

Shipyard plant visibility solution While finalizing the conditional maintenance inspection of an asset, the production manager of a shipyard receives two automated alerts from the newly implemented plant visibility solution. The first alert indicates throughput of an assembly cell has dropped, and the second forecasts supply shortages of critical parts needed to fix the asset based on the digital supply data feed.




Digital manufacturing Production surge readiness

Depending on the organization’s strategic goals, leadership may want to invest in best-in-class production surge readiness response tools. Organizations can employ Digital Manufacturing to increase their Maintenance and Repair Operation flexibility and decrease bottlenecks by enabling the production of items of new items, the production of items in an impractical location, or adjusting the production rate. Digital Manufacturing can increase an organization’s self-reliance and flexibility through digital thread and additive manufacturing.

3d printing collaborative partnership An American organization is implementing Digital Manufacturing strategies to enable the local manufacturing of products previously made abroad, reducing their reliance on the extended supply chain. The organization is also creating a model repository of clinically approved PPE 3D designs and creating a map of American manufacturers’ capabilities.

The maturity table below describes how the capabilities previously described can help an organization improve their MRO resiliency maturity. Using the table below, leadership may conduct a maturity analysis to identify their MRO Facility’s current state and determine their desired future state goals.

Scenario planning Connected data

Data is the cornerstone of any modern business and a critical component of many successful MRO solutions. Utilizing connected data, organizations can engage in scenario planning through digital twin technology to run simulations and identify the specific ways their downstream and upstream Maintenance and Repair Operations react to various inputs.

Shipyard modeling

A digital model of Maintenance and Repair Operations on the shop floor helps a shipyard run simulations to build business cases and guide modernization investments.

I N F A N C Y M A T U R I N G S U P E R P O W E R E D Technology



Little cross training occurs throughout the organization, and remote learning capabilities are limited.

Cross training occurs sporadically across the organization. Remote learning capabilities exist but their access is limited.

Disaster response processes are

inconsistently documented. Disaster response processes are documented but siloed and lack standardization. Supplier contracts included limited disaster response contingencies.

Existing technologies are outdated while new technologies are not being considered.

Cross training is standardized. VR is used to enhance remote learning, which is easily accessible to all employees.

The organization maintains an extensive disaster response playbook with standardized processes. Strategic disaster response language is included in supplier contracts.

Existing technologies allow for the electronic collection of data. Maintenance equipment is reliable but not adaptable.

Existing technologies include a solution that provides real-time visibility into supply chain processes using electronically collected data. Digital manufacturing is used to increase the resiliency, and flexibility of the production line.



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Copyright © 2021 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved. Call to action

Steps towards addressing the challenges of conducting MRO during and post COVID-19:

Action 1: Assess the current MRO strategy and operations to define the risk within key areas of the process, to include: planning, supplier management, sourcing, inventory tracking and visibility, storeroom maintenance, supply and demand forecasting, and ad-hoc operations.

Action 2: Action 2: Define the future state vision, core capabilities, tools and technologies that will enable your organization to prepare for disruptions. Identify the gaps between the organization’s current state and the desired future state. *Because MRO involves multiple different stakeholders and the organization, it can be challenging to align around common priorities Action 3: Identify the workforce training and capabilities needed to establish the organization future state and identify the solutions needed to narrow that gap. Action 4: Create a robust implementation roadmap including phased strategies, level of effort calculations, guides, and progress reports to reinforce your MRO supply chain and harness super powers. References  • • • • • • •

• The Smart Factory—Deloitte University Press • The Smart Depot—Deloitte University Press

• COVID-19: The Recovery of Organizations and Supply Chains—Deloitte University Press • Transforming manufacturing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic—Deloitte Insights

To learn more Kelly Marchese

Principal | US Government & Public Services Supply Chain & Network Operations

Deloitte Consulting LLP Contributors




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