Plant Maintenance Challenges

Challenges of Plant Maintenance

Often, the organization is not effectively using the tools within the ERP system that assist the plant maintenance team with crucial functions: resource scheduling, capacity planning, ensuring key materials availability, and enterprise asset management. In other cases, a lack of system and master data integrity causes the organization to look for solutions outside of core SAP, which results in higher costs combined with poor or insufficient service levels. As a result of these challenges, preventive strategies are not properly put in place and equipment can experience failure. Further adding further to costs is a lack of integration between maintenance spares-planning, purchasing, and services functions; especially when the people, from all contributing functional areas in the organization, are not properly trained.

In a successful environment, effective use of long-term planning, preventive maintenance schedules, and actionable KPI’s should be driving the process. Many organizations, however, have incorrect master data, and their people do not have the knowledge to correct it. When people don’t understand how Plant Maintenance (PM) was designed and configured to meet the organization’s business processes, the team faces breakdowns, materials shortages, excess inventory, lack of effective analysis tools, and errors.


By automating the mundane day-to-day scheduling tasks, the maintenance team can focus their attention on more targeted, long-term planning initiatives. SAP has standard reporting tools that will drive the organization to adopt preventive maintenance strategies that keep people active in the plant instead of tied down in the office fighting fires.

Driving education about basic scheduling tools and functionality is the best solution for a plant maintenance team to improve the way an organization does business. During this process, change management practices are put in place to align people throughout the organization and inform them about the performance and results that need to be achieved. Defining the accountabilities within business silos and driving communication across these departments will create a more productive culture. Through daily disciplines and accountability, the maintenance team will no longer need to react repetitively to breakdowns. Instead, they should be able to focus their time on planning and analyzing. With an accurate forecast of maintenance activities and plant conditions, the team will reduce costs and increase equipment reliability.


Educating the users on the need for accurate data management, confirmations, and materials management in the Plant Maintenance solution improves planners’ confidence in the reports generated and in the tools in use. Visibility into the maintenance activities and the organization’s progress toward goals will be much improved and more efficiently executed by increasing the mean time between failures. Furthermore, overall maintenance costs will be lowered, repetitive equipment failure modes identified, and up-time increased, resulting in overall production cost reductions.

Plant Maintenance Benefits

  • Reduced MRO inventory and increased availability
  • Reduced mean time to repair (MTTR)
  • Increasing mean time between failures (MTBF)
  • Scheduled work to available resources
  • Maintenance execution to business strategy
  • Asset management to budget processes and outcomes
  • Supply chain to Maintenance operations
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