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Identify improvement opportunities with an SKF Tool Audit

2014 October 01, 09:00 GMT

The SKF Tool Audit service was introduced as a new way to improve maintenance practices at a facility, but has now developed to offer much more than this.
The SKF Tool Audit service increases customer awareness of good practices and helps identify improvement opportunities for upgrading working methods and tools at facilities. The service enables SKF to get closer to customers in order to understand and meet their needs. For example, an SKF Tool Audit allows SKF auditors to catalogue a wide range of products used in the factory and gives customers an insight into what other products SKF could offer, a process that could lead to a comprehensive, packaged SKF solution that will make significant savings.
How it works
The audit is conducted using the SKF Tool Audit app on an iPad, enabling the auditor and customer to walk around the facility gathering photos and audio recordings of the facility. A structured questionnaire helps identify customer needs and opens up opportunities for new SKF products and solutions to be offered. The first few initial questions help identify customer drivers, so that offers can be in tune with customer priorities, such as energy saving, improving safety and so on.
Using the answers to twenty questions, current bearing maintenance practices are assessed in four maintenance areas: Machinery Alignment, Basic Condition Monitoring, Lubrication Tools and Dismounting/Mounting Bearings. A performance snapshot score is given as a percentage; scores between 50% and 100% indicate good maintenance practices, while scores below 50% indicate room for improvement.
The performance snapshot also enables the customer’s maintenance knowledge level to be quickly evaluated. If maintenance knowledge levels are low, then SKF may decide to “pick the low hanging fruit”. Offering products and solutions that add real value to the customer’s operations, and deliver swift pay-back, help to both increase plant efficiency and strengthen the relationship between SKF and customer. 
At the end of the audit process, data is uploaded to a web app that only SKF experts can access. The tool audit result, which is automatically generated, can then be enhanced with photos and other observational remarks, allowing a fuller programme for improvement to be made. The final report is returned to the customer as a PDF showing the current situation and improvement opportunities that can be taken by adopting better working practices and also by using SKF products and services.
Typical example
The automatically generated report draws together factors that identify opportunities for increased efficiency. For example, if during the audit it was noticed that, a) the belts were in poor condition, b) the customer always buys belts based on price, and c) belt failures often cause losses of production, the automatically generated report may be revised to offer SKF belts together with a SKF Belt Alignment Tool. After a few months, the customer will notice fewer breakdowns and spend less on belts. This simple observation of worn belts, and consequent offer, strengthens the relationship between SKF and its customers, enabling further improvements to performance and efficiency.

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