Satellite Services: The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Delivers a Competitive Edge
With two facilities that recondition satellite receivers, this leading satellite television services company needed a way to streamline the process of testing and repairing satellite receivers that arrive daily from across the country. Company executives wanted to automate work order generation with data from their receiver testing process and their MPulse CMMS software.
While the testing process was already automated, this idea took automation to the next level, helping the maintenance crew respond faster. “When there’s a problem, we want to know immediately,” explained the company’s business operations manager.
In 2014, the company purchased MPulse Gold, which offers a full suite of CMMS features and functions—from managing PMs, work orders, and service requests, to tracking and controlling inventory and managing vendors. Maintenance managers worked with MPulse to create a process, which they call Auto-Gen, where test results are automatically sent to MPulse via the company’s internal network.
Based on conditions set by the maintenance team, MPulse analyzes the data. When a receiver fails a test three times out of five, MPulse automatically generates a work order for its repair.
Quantity and speed were important. “There are so many of these assets, there’s no way a person could efficiently create tickets for them all.” Not to mention, accuracy was vital. “If your data is wrong, it’s of no use to you. With MPulse, we have very accurate numbers.”
It worked so well, the company upgraded to MPulse 8 Gold after its release in 2016, and Auto-Gen is still going strong.
The benefits were immediate. After it launched, the new automated system generated 100 more work orders per shift. In 2015, the two facilities processed 115,000 work orders. In 2016, they processed 130,000.
“We take the human element out and just pass it off to a ticket,” he explained. And automated work orders are just one of the benefits MPulse provides. The company also uses their CMMS software to improve other maintenance workflows:
The company uses MPulse’s mobile features so their technicians can manage work orders faster while they are on the go.
“Our techs use tablets. Everything they need is right there. They can monitor the maintenance request queue without going back to a kiosk to see what’s next.”
Preventive Maintenance Schedules
MPulse Software generates a schedule of preventive maintenance tasks, which makes it easier to ensure scheduled maintenance happens when it should. They also expanded this capability to other assets, like operator checklists for forklifts.
Time Accountability and Responsiveness
The company uses IIoT data to track labor hours and document who is meeting the company’s performance benchmarks. Maintenance managers also use MPulse to determine response times—another important gauge of productivity.
“These are numbers we didn’t know before,” he said. “We expect a 10-minute response time, and the repairs should take about 30 minutes per work order. If someone’s not making those numbers, we can dig deeper to see if they need more training or support.”
The company found MPulse significantly improved communication between employees as well as between shifts. “We know how many times a work order has been opened on an asset. For example, we had one case where the same component was replaced seven times on the same asset because no one knew what had been done before. Now our techs can see what someone else has already done, so they know they need to take the next step.”
Another benefit that is harder to quantify is MPulse’s support team. “They are very helpful whenever we run into an issue. They’ve been very supportive. It makes a difference when you can get ahold of someone when you need them.”
Advancing the Next Phase of Automation
The true power of the IIoT isn’t actually in the sensors and devices themselves. It’s the software that stores and processes data that makes the difference.
MPulse CMMS software helps maintenance managers make sense of what to do with the data gathered by these devices, telling you to take action when the time is right, improving the reliability of your assets while also reducing risk and saving money.
In the competitive satellite services industry, the IIoT is keeping this industry leader on top. “We are data driven,” the business operations manager said. “We are looking for any place we can generate data.”
Yet even with all their recent success, the company knows it’s not time to slow down if they want to stay competitive.
“We’re looking for more automation wherever we can.”