Christian Biebl, CEO of Stuttgart-based software vendor Planat, believes that elaborate sensor technology is not easy for many SMEs to implement, and that predictive servicing and maintenance can also be achieved on a practical level with an ERP system that is tailored to manufacturing businesses , allowing the necessary work to be scheduled and budgeted. “Setup times and replacement work – i.e. predictable events – are counted and planned as resources in ERP, increasing the efficiency of an ERP solution”, notes Biebl. One such solution, FEPA , is offered by his company.

In a recent trend report, also comes to the conclusion that SMEs still have misgivings about predictive maintenance. Growing competition from Asian products, which puts pressure on plant and mechanical engineers, is identified as a problem – the price war leaves manufacturers little financial flexibility to invest in predictive maintenance. It would therefore make sense to begin with small steps instead of immediately implementing a “powerful PM system”. The benefits of predictive maintenance are undisputed, however. These include increased equipment longevity and availability, improved productivity and utilization, and more efficient logistics for spare parts.