The Uptime Blog
In July of this year, Enigma shared some exciting news that we had made a strategic decision to join PTC (NASDAQ: PMTC), a leading provider of technology solutions that transforms how products are created and serviced.
As you might expect, we’re starting to make some changes as we become part of the PTC family. But, during the integration, we want to be sure we keep our customers, partners, and other connections informed on the topics and issues that are important.
Contacting Enigma Corporate Headquarters
You may have noticed some changes to the Enigma website. Most notably, Our Burlington, MA USA headquarters has been relocated to the PTC Corporate Campus in Needham, MA. All calls are now being routed through that office. If you have administrative questions or would like to speak to someone in sales or marketing, please contact 781-370-5000 to be directed to the appropriate person.
140 Kendrick Street
Needham, MA 02494
Contacting Enigma Support
Customer support remains the same. Just as it has operated in the past, the Enigma customer support portal is still available for customers to submit, view, edit and resolve technical service requests online. Please click on the link to access the portal and sign in to access.
We will continue to keep you informed of our integration efforts and hope you’ll be as pleased as we are with the results. We believe Enigma customers will benefit from the combined resources of Enigma and PTC – two global organizations with the common goal of delivering more value across the full service lifecycle of complex equipment.
Tags: parts and service, service information, InService EPC, Enigma, diane vautier, construction, equipment, construction equipment, fleet maintenance, PTC, service lifecycle management, SLM
Everything is up when it comes to Construction Equipment today. Take a look.
Construction is up. After taking a sharp fall in late 2007, tumbling for three years and finally bottoming out in the beginning of 2011, construction spending is showing a solid upward trend. In July of 2013 the U.S. Census Bureau reported construction spending topped $900,824 million dollars – not equal to pre-recession spending levels, but solid and steady recovery that is helping rebuild the industry.
Construction employment is up. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “[E]employment in construction is expected to rise 33 percent by 2020, adding about 1.8 million jobs”. Much like construction spending mentioned above, the growth won’t bring employment in the industry back to prerecession levels by 2020, but the rapid growth is helping the industry regain its footing after the sharp and damaging decline.
Construction equipment is up. Research and Markets, in their “Heavy Construction Equipment Market - Global Trends & Forecast To 2018” report that “[T]the heavy construction equipment market is estimated to witness 8.5% CAGR within the forecast period for infrastructure development purposes. The BRIC countries and emerging economies of Asia-pacific including South Korea, and Australia are leading the growth for this market.” Confidence in the upward construction spend is picking up and companies are investing in equipment to meet their upcoming contracts.
Construction Equipment Leasing is up. According to the online construction publication ForConstructionPros.com, the equipment leasing industry continues in an upward trend. They report that “[T] the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25), which reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $725 billion equipment finance sector, showed the overall new business volume for June was $8.6 billion, up 8 percent compared to volume in June 2012. Month-over-month, new business volume was up 15 percent from May. Year to date, cumulative new business volume increased 10 percent compared to 2012”. Funding for equipment is loosening up, making more options available for contractors to expand fleets.
Construction equipment rentals are up. Construction News Tracker reports that “[T]the latest forecast from the American Rental Association Market Monitor shows the equipment rental business continues to outpace the U.S. GDP by four times. Construction rental and consumer spending are driving the market with construction equipment rental forecast to grow over 8 percent this year and more in 2014.” Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, in their 2013 Construction Industry Forecast says that more than half (50.5%) of equipment distributors expect to increase the size of their rental fleet in 2013.
Increasingly contractors are including rental options to supplement their in-house fleets. They are tapping into a new service paradigm, paying for the equipment only when they need it, and allowing the rental house to take on the responsibility to maintain, service and repair the machines. In essence, they are paying for performance (hours used) and not the equipment itself.
Construction Equipment Rental Rates are up. The increase in rental demand is allowing construction equipment companies to increase rental rates. Rental Equipment Register reported that equipment rental rates increased 7 percent in December 2012 compared to December 2011. Rental Equipment Register also reports that in March of 2013, rental rates rose 6.2 percent compared to the same month last year for the rental companies participating in Rouse’s Rental Metrics Benchmark Service.
Construction Equipment Fleet Age is up. Engineering News Record reports that “[M]meanwhile, as rental rates have increased, the age of rental machines has, too. Rental fleets weathered the worst parts of the 2009-10 downturn by letting their machines get older, and fleets reached their high point at about 54 months”. The Rental Report, a monthly state-of-the-rental-industry newsletter by Rouse Services, tracks the age of the construction equipment fleet. In their most recent August 2013 Rental Report the average rental fleet age has come down to about 45 months – considerably less than at the peak of the economic downturn, yet still far above the average of around 36 months that was common a decade earlier.
Even contractors who own their own equipment are extending the life of their company fleets to accommodate tight equipment budgets. Associated General Contractors’ Constructor Magazine cites EquipmentWatch data that shows the average age of resold equipment is between four and eight years, with most equipment sold after five to seven years of use, outlasting the rental fleets considerably.
Construction Equipment Service and Parts Opportunity are up. What does it all mean in terms of equipment parts and service? Opportunity. With construction and construction equipment trends pointing toward growth, equipment OEMs, distributors and rental companies should be gearing up to support a growing global equipment fleet with warranty work, parts sales and performance contracts. Older equipment still in service will need ongoing maintenance, repair and service support, and will be looking for extended warranty contracts or cost plus service agreements. Good fleet managers know that there is money to be made in the operational details of equipment ‘uptime’.
Savvy equipment OEMs and service providers are aligning their service organizations for growth, formulating a consolidated service approach to streamline and optimize aftermarket service and parts operations. This service lifecycle management approach outperforms service teams managed functionally that address individual service processes separately. It brings all functions together – considering all aspects of aftermarket service, service parts, warranty and maintenance to realize true cross-functional benefits. A single system for service optimizes product and service performance, organizing service strategy and delivery around maximizing product performance to yield the greatest customer value and service performance.
Norwegian Defence, the Nordic country’s armed forces has embarked on an ambitious, all-encompassing installation of an SAP-based logistics management system. The project spans various facets of the air, land and sea operations, from the acquisition of equipment to its deployment, operation and maintenance and finally its sale/retirement. While the focus is on core functional areas, such as finance or maintenance, the documentation related to all Norwegian Defence equipment is a critical piece of the puzzle, as it is needed at all stages of the equipment lifecycle.
Sap and Enigma have been chosen to collaborate on the integration of our InService MRO with SAP software to ensure the logistics readiness for the Norwegian Armed Forces.
Enigma has had many successful InService MRO implementations in the defense sector including U.S. Department of Defense with the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. In the commercial aviation industry we've worked with top airlines such as Korean Air Lines, Air France Industries KLM Engineering and Maintenance, and AtiTech to name a few. But our involvement with the Norwegian Defence project poses some new and interesting angles. The technical documentation issues may be familiar, but the mission critical nature of the documents and the various user groups in the organization add a complexity layer not present in commercial airlines.
All organizations rely on equipment uptime and availability of accurate information, all the more so when that equipment is mission critical. There are several core challenges that Norwegian Defence must tackle on the road to equipment uptime. Many of these challenges are related to documentation:
- Different processes and governing body regulations exist within the various groups, so achieving a “one-size-fits-all” solution is not easy
- Different types of technical documentation formats exist within the armed forces, ranging in structure from PDFs to the latest S1000D XML standard, as well as various MIL-SPEC SGML/XML standards; interestingly, unstructured PDFs constitute a vast majority of the data
- While some groups really care about official S1000D documentation, others have absolutely no concern for it and would prefer to be working with PDFs that give access to the information they need in the simplest way; therefore, intelligently handling PDF content and overcoming PDF limitations has become a crucial success factor
- The management and delivery of technical documentation are sometimes perceived as one and the same thing; in fact, delivery relies on easy access to information needed to perform operational or maintenance tasks in an optimised manner, while management relies on maintaining and retrieving previous versions of the documentation. Just having access to the managed information is not enough, particularly for the maintenance community
- Almost every process in maintenance is related to a technical document: maintenance manuals, parts catalogs, job cards, engineering orders, to name but a few. While important job information (such as when the job will be done, where it will be done, what skill is required for it etc.) can come from the SAP MRO System, one cannot perform maintenance without good and ready access to the documentation
Aside to these challenges relating to documentation, there are “generic” challenges that come with a project as complex as this. The sheer scale of the project has mandated continuous changes to scope as well as the timeline. SAP project methodology is being deployed across all solution providers, even if SAP is not the underlying architecture or methodology for that provider. This makes for continuous (and sometimes arduous) adaptations to well established processes.
Perhaps most importantly, communication is key in such a project. The nature of the business is that not all team members are available all of the time, and some are assigned to other projects. Continuity in design processes and customer requirements becomes difficult, so establishing clear and open lines of communication and periodical reviews is crucial in ensuring everyone is on the same page. Having previously worked with defense organizations, and our experience and long-standing partnership with SAP uniquely positions Enigma as the ideal provider for this complex logistics challenge.
When it really gets going, I believe this project is going to be one of our most interesting and challenging ones to date. Bring it on!
The main task of a construction equipment fleet manager is to extend the useful life of equipment, regardless if it’s for a construction equipment rental house or a construction company with its own fleet.
Fleet managers have a big responsibility. They control a highly valuable collection of assets, managing the overall cost of operating, maintaining and repairing tens, hundreds or possibly thousands of vehicles and equipment within that asset group.
So why is this important? Construction Equipment magazine suggests that “fleet accounts for as much as 80 percent of an organization’s assets, so managing it well best serves the future of the organization.” That’s a pretty big piece of asset pie and how it’s managed can have a huge impact on a company’s bottom line.
If that’s not enough, here’s another reason. Like the auto industry and the medical devices industry, Rousse Asset Services, in their monthly Equipment Reports, observes that the age of construction equipment has risen, meaning that equipment is being forced into service for longer periods of time. Fleet managers are now even more challenged to properly manage the equipment, especially if they’re with one of the many construction equipment rental houses, which are expected to grow by 7 percent this year according to forconstructionpros.com.
So how do companies and their fleet managers take advantage of this possibly lucrative management of their business operations and assets (or avoid potentially unprofitable decisions)? How do they capitalize on various factors mentioned above to ensure they capture its full opportunity? Answer: by managing the process itself.
Good fleet managers know that there is money to be made in the operational details of equipment ‘uptime’. Proper repair and maintenance information can help reduce the time needed to find the right part, reduce the time to determine part availability and then waiting for parts to arrive, and reduce the time needed to review maintenance manuals for troubleshooting.
For years fleet managers have relied on either hard-copy, printed catalogs or electronic documents stored in disparate places and formats. Electronic parts catalogs like Enigma’s InService EPC are changing that antiquated system. Electronic parts catalogs are becoming valuable repositories of information centered completely around repair and maintenance, giving users the tools they need to streamline the parts and service structure. And as any good fleet manager will tell you, a well run maintenance and repair department can manage your construction equipment assets to not only best serve the future of the organization, but generate service driven profits.