How Predictive Data Analytics Catapults Operations
Predictive analytics is the ability to use current and historical data to forecast future outcomes; saving time, increasing operational efficiencies and improving service capabilities, writes Sumit Oberoi
This can have a phenomenal impact for businesses across industries, including plumbing and air conditioning. Autodesk’s client, D&E Air Conditioning (D&E), is one of Australia’s largest construction mechanical services companies with offices in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Geelong. With more than 500 employees, D&E’s capabilities span design, production, and service maintenance on mechanical and air conditioning equipment across the pharmaceutical, commercial, healthcare and industrial industries.
D&E was looking to digitise its service maintenance program and move towards predictive maintenance to improve its service capabilities. Long-term users of Autodesk, D&E has continually looked for ways to integrate technology to improve the end-to-end experience for its customers and differentiate themselves from their competitors. To achieve its objective, D&E leveraged 3D and mapping capabilities to deploy computerised maintenance systems.
Scott Huisman, a service account manager at D&E, said that their design, engineering and installation business has long used technology to develop sustainable mechanical and air conditioning systems.
“We wanted to adopt similar capabilities into our systems maintenance division to optimise data to improve business processes and provide predictive services for our clients,” said Mr Huisman.
The goal was to use data to predict when assets needed maintenance support, eliminating unnecessary equipment checks, saving time and resources. With predictive maintenance, D&E was able to improve internal resource management by knowing when technicians needed to be onsite and to move from being reactive to proactive.
Predictive insight helped the team at D&E to optimise their decision-making regarding asset inspections, equipment repairs, and field service engineering activities. It enabled D&E to alleviate unexpected downtime and provided value-added service to their customers by allocating resources for equipment that needed to be maintained, rather than focusing on unnecessary service areas.
How D&E Met Their Predictive Maintenance Goal
The first step D&E took to meet their predictive maintenance goal was to adopt a mobile, computerised maintenance solution. They were looking for an easy-to-use and customisable solution that balanced the simplicity for the end-user with powerful and sophisticated reporting. They engaged BIM 360 Ops within Autodesk Construction Cloud™, which supported them to achieve this. D&E eliminated the inefficiencies experienced through their previous processes for equipment and facilities maintenance. Prior to using BIM 360, technicians would use paper-based processes to record maintenance across various-sized jobs, which led to inaccurate or lost documentation.
Mr Huisman said that the process was labour-intensive, as technicians would have to replicate documents manually. Each site had different equipment levels that might require 45-50 documents to be updated, printed, and filed onsite.
The BIM 360 Ops solution enabled D&E to standardise processes for consistent gathering of data across job sites to move towards predictive capabilities. They can now easily organise documentation and communicate with clients on maintenance status. The automatic reporting capabilities allow maintenance logs to sync in real-time, so that information can be accessed and distributed to clients instantly.
Before BIM 360 Ops, if an auditor asked for the compliance records for a building D&E was servicing, the team would have to dig up old paper-based documentation. Now D&E can search for and find documentation quickly and effectively. The team can then share a digital link with the auditor, saving time and headaches. What used to take hours now takes 10 minutes.
The Value of Connected Data
Connected data is more important than ever. For data to be valuable, it must be accessible from a central location, updated in real time, and connected across projects, teams and organisations. By connecting data in a private, secure location, companies can gain insights and create superior solutions for their customers and greater operational efficiencies.
D&E uses BIM 360 Ops for servicing, but the goal was to also create a seamless process for connecting data from design to operations for the long-term management of an asset. D&E’s vision was to have their maintenance regimes set up on day one of construction handover.
With access to the 3D model data, D&E’s technicians will be able to pinpoint with complete accuracy where the equipment is within the facility that they need to maintain. For the majority of their contracts, they maintain the building for 12 months after handover. Having the historical project data will make it easier for D&E to start on maintenance work immediately by understanding the new facility, which can be time consuming on larger sites if they don’t have that data.
In addition to saving time, connected data will also support D&E in establishing better client relationships as a result of more accurate, shared documentation.
Prior to joining Autodesk as Industry Strategy Manager, Sumit Oberoi was National Director and Victorian Executive Director with the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA). He was instrumental in the development of the BIM-MEPAUS Initiative from its inception in 2010. Sumit is a passionate industry advocate who believes in helping industry deliver quality projects through construction innovation.