"Mobility Work helps connect the office and the field, and improves communication within the team"
Frédéric Carrot is a maintenance manager at the Setforge’s plant in L'Horme (France), a Farinia Group subsidiary specialized in the production, machining, heat treatment and assembly of hot-forged components, particularly for the public works, trucks, oil and gas and railway industry.
As an early user of Mobility Work, the next-gen maintenance management platform, he agreed to look back over the product's evolution over the years, as well as the profound transformations observed within his maintenance service, and the benefits that arose from it.
Photo credit: Pascal Royer, Club Gier Entreprises
Mobility Work: How did you know Mobility Work, and what convinced you to test the product?
Frédéric Carrot: In 2015, Farinia Group shared its will to generalize a maintenance application to all Setforge plants, following an unsuccessful attempt a few years earlier to implement a CMMS solution within the group, to which our plant in L’Horme had not adhered. There were several reasons for this: difficult financial situation, lack of skills and human resources, etc. We could not afford to invest in this expensive solution and mobilize the necessary resources to deploy it.
Since we were not able to follow the rest of the group’s plants on this initiative, I initiated a basic Excel table system (equipment lists, etc.), which made it possible to get rid of entry differences on the machines. Maintenance technicians could report their work directly following this scheme: definition of the problem (task), activity, technician, status of the operation, and keyword (mainly preventive and curative). These Excel files were subsequently fully reused for data importation in Mobility Work.
In spring 2015, Marc-Antoine Talva, Mobility Work’s CEO, presented the solution to the former management. Marc-Antoine introduced us to a solution that involved a simple subscription, and above all, a very quick implementation; we quickly understood the relevance of this tool for our company. The deployment was operated during August 2015.
Can you tell us more about the deployment of Mobility Work in your factory?
The deployment was very easy: we were trained by Marc-Antoine Talva for an hour, then each technician with his own smartphone in hand started scanning the buildings one after the other and taking pictures of each piece of equipment in order to create its dedicated page on the mobile app. At the same time, we started to install NFC chips to facilitate access to Mobility Work. In less than 3 days, all the equipment were created in the app, which confirmed the easy equipment creation, especially over a period such as the month of August, during which summer shutdowns can pose availability problems. Then, it took us about 1 month to recover our old histories and reallocate them to our equipment.
As for the reception of the app by our teams, it was initially rather mixed, because the application (which was still in pilot phase at the time) still had many bugs. The teams were also still rather attached to their Excel files. We forced them to change technology while the product still could be improved, which caused some concern. Then the teams began to realize that all the problems encountered could be directly brought up and treated in the application, and saw a real interest there. Moreover, the app has evolved a lot since its beginning, the 2015 version has nothing to do with the current one!
The tool has therefore been well integrated in the maintenance department as well as in some other departments. Mobility Work is not as widely used here as in other plants of the group, which require that all requests have to be handled through Mobility Work. Some service managers still have to “re-enter” operations. Indeed, the adoption of such a tool brings about cultural changes that may upset some. Most of them used to share information orally, when meeting in a workshop. This practice unfortunately causes significant information losses, that is why we have expressed so strongly our desire to put everything in writing.
What are Mobility Work’s main benefits according to you?
I would say the possibility to access all our equipment on a single software program: machine histories, plans, spare parts, procedures, troubleshooting aids, contacts, etc. Before, we had a lot of Excel files, networks with access rights, paper plans, which represented a considerable waste of time for the technician during his intervention.
Mobility Work requires time to update equipment regularly, but also enables to save time once the technician is in front of the machine, and if everything is up to date, he will not have to come back to the workshop to look for his plan. This avoids a lot of tension during the intervention, as all the necessary information is at hand.
This database aspect and sharing of all the information provided by the technician in the field, as well as preparation documents in the office, allow anyone to track the progress of a task. The technician on the field reports the information that will be processed by the methods department, and will then be able to follow its evolution. Mobility Work helps connect the office and the field, and improves communication within the team.
Everything that was not very accessible to them before, costs for example, are now available, since estimates are also recorded in the application; this arouses the curiosity of technicians, who are now able to inquire about the price of the spare parts! This makes them aware of certain concepts and encourages them to rationalize the use of certain parts.
Which feature do you use the most, that you cannot do without?
I would say the feature called "my calendar", which allows you to schedule operations. It is especially very practical to be able to drag a task from one date to another, because there is obviously a difference between what was initially planned and the reality of the field: machine availability, curative interventions... We are thus not obliged to go to the task page to modify the date.
The "maintenance plan" part is also essential, we use it a lot not to forget certain interventions, and more particularly operations planned over long deadlines, annual replacements for example.
Which feature, which is not available yet, would you like to see developed first on Mobility Work ?
I wish there was a notification system (email, banner...) to remind us of the deadline of a scheduled task, because we currently need to enter the calendar to get the information. This feature seems to me all the more important as many controls depend on external services, it is thus necessary to be able to anticipate the possible estimates or requests... If the schedule is not followed regularly enough, this can be problematic, especially since all tasks, whatever their status (planned, late, ongoing) are involved. Having the possibility of setting the calendar according to our needs would be a great improvement.
We are also struggling with preventive tasks management; indeed, we sometimes need to control 20 to 30 points, which is just as many tasks with a scheduled deadline to create in Mobility Work, which can be a little heavy to manage. The possibility to create checklists would be very useful for us. For the moment, we have to work with Excel files on our preventive tasks, listing all the operations to be carried out, with a final report on paper in order to create a monthly summary.
What are your future plans about Mobility Work?
We would like to develop the connection between connected objects data and automatically triggered task, an expired hour meter for a filter change or for the revision of a machine for example. Currently, the operator in the field must trigger the change or overhaul himself during a preventive inspection. This connection would allow us to benefit directly from these equipment data.
In addition, I am particularly looking forward to the improvement of the indicators monitoring dashboards, and the updated analytical tool, which I currently very rarely use. These are essential for decision-making, and I look forward to putting them into practice and benefiting from their potential.
During the time you have been using Mobility Work, did you encounter proper service support?
Absolutely, we can report all issues through the chat, which will be taken into account, and depending on the importance of the problem, it will either be solved quickly or, if it is more complex, we will be informed that the issue has been taken into account and that it will be processed as soon as possible. We always get an answer to our questions.
Some of our questions are due to a certain lack of knowledge on our part, but we also have requests regarding the app’s features. Being more specific, the waiting time for these is longer, which is understandable since this request has to be a real need on the part of all users of the platform.
Thanks to Mr Carrot for delivering his honest testimony: user feedbacks are at the heart of our approach, and are helping us improve our product on a daily basis.