With the industrial internet and Internet of Things (IoT), we can, today, pre-empt breakdowns and even seek options to improve efficiency.

Most of us have experienced a car breakdown at some point of our lives. The hefty repair bill aside, we were either inconvenienced, late for an appointment or missed a meeting altogether – and that period of unplanned unproductivity resulted in either time cost, dollar cost, or both.

Scale up this scenario a thousand times and the losses from unplanned downtime would definitely be immense.

At the recent GE Digital Advantage Conference 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, GE Digital Chief Commercial Officer Mark Sheppard told the audience that an improvement of 1% can go a long way in increasing margins or minimising losses.

He stressed on the importance of a mindset shift, as many companies are afraid to “put their toes in the water”.

“Try optimising by 1%, and the next 1% will be easier. That is the power of 1%. In the Oil and Gas industry, an extra 1% uptime would bring about an annual impact of USD5 billion to USD7 billion. In transportation, by travelling 1mph faster, the annual impact is USD1 billion to USD2 billion.

“Similarly, if airlines improve fuel efficiency by 1%, they could save USD2 billion to USD3 billion per year. The same applies to utility companies, which could save USD4 billion to USD5 billion. For healthcare, an increase of 1% productivity would bring about an annual impact of USD4 billion to USD5 billion,” he said.

It is not easy to achieve this 1%, but it is more achievable with the digital industrial evolution.

With the industrial internet and Internet of Things (IoT), we can, today, pre-empt breakdowns and even seek options to improve efficiency by harnessing data and converting them to insights.

“We have millions of sensors and a lot of data, and in the past, we did not make enough use of them.

“Now, we have created a cloud system called Predix, and this allows us to develop applications based on this platform. With Predix, we will be able to maximise the performance of our customers’ assets,” said GE ASEAN President and CEO Wouter Van Wersch.

Van Wersch said that GE is constantly seeking ways to improve efficiency and productivity for its clients.

“Through our GE Store, we have a network of nine research centres in the world, and they are driven by 4,000 experts who are constantly seeking solutions to serve our customers better,” he said.

Shepard shared one example of how Predix could be used in the transportation industry to optimise maintenance budgets, as reactive maintenance due to breakdowns can cost three to four times more.

“If you run a fleet of 1,000 trucks, scheduled maintenance is the easiest to perform. At every 8,000km, a component has to be changed. But you do wonder, can the trucks do 9,000km without any trouble? Or will some trucks break down at 7,500km?

“With predictive technology, we would be able to tell you that for example, trucks 1, 2 and 3 are running well and can continue being on the road, but while Truck 4 needs to come in to the workshop immediately,” he said.

GE Reports Malaysia provides the latest news on science, technology and innovation. Stay ahead with the latest industry insights. Subscribe today at www.gereports.com.my.

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