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Schneider Electric’s “Services Audits” shed light on electrical installations

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Major trends are changing customer needs and positively driving services growth. Today’s customers want consolidated data and seek means to convert data into insightful information in order to create more business value. At the same time, an ageing population in mature economies and fast-moving technology trends drive demand for new skills and expertise, which customers are unable to fulfill with their existing workforce.

“We are also seeing a steep rise in customers looking to maximise existing asset performance, moving from asset maintenance to full process optimisation across the life cycle, in particular as today’s enterprises are expected to monitor, control and save energy,” says Danie Badenhorst, Field Services VP for southern Africa at Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management.

The result is that multi-national firms are seeking a specialised service partner with a global footprint and a single-point of accountability and standardised service. “Customers want offers to bring a full suite of services,” adds Badenhorst. “Importantly though, before planning the future of your installation, customers need a comprehensive assessment and a clear analysis of the results. As such, Schneider Electric created Services Audits, which assess the performance of customers’ electrical installation and propose improvements to meet their business energy needs.”

The Services Audits methodology is based on four steps, producing four detailed plans per customer:

The maintenance plan aids in the development of a tailored maintenance schedule to ensure the right type of maintenance is applied for each piece of equipment and to minimise equipment downtime. The plan also identifies which maintenance operations the customer can complete and which require a service specialist. “A tailored maintenance plan also helps to keep maintenance costs optimal,” says Badenhorst.

The modernisation plan indicates which equipment needs to be modernised, and when. It includes guidance for managing equipment end-of-service life and obsolescence (through replacement or retrofit) as well as suggestions for improving installation performance (by altering the electrical architecture).

The monitoring plan recommends a strategy to implement a monitoring system, taking into account the customer’s specific requirements. It includes an assessment of existing monitoring capabilities and clear recommendations on where, how and why to improve monitoring.

Lastly, is the management plan, which focuses on organisational aspects of operating and maintenance activities. It also reinforces the technical recommendations provided by the other three plans, providing economic control over the recommendations.

The management plan also addresses obsolete equipment and end-of-life steps, spare parts policy and procedures, operating conditions and maintenance contracts, organization and training of technicians, and a follow-up of the action plan.

Since 2005, when Services Audits were first introduced by Schneider Electric, more than 400 customers from industries as diverse as buildings, electric utilities, healthcare, industries, MMM, and oil and gas have undergone assessments.

“Schneider Electric’s Services Audits provide customers with a full assessment of their electrical installation, as well as a clear action plan. In addition, customers receive a list of critical safety issues to be addressed,” says Badenhorst and highlights that the benefits include improved employee safety, enhanced quality and performance and greater reliable and peace of mind.

“With Services Audits, our customers get a detailed vision of the status of their electrical distribution and automation installation, and four concise plans to help guide them in the future. This helps them to plan maintenance accordingly and avoid costly downtime,” adds Badenhorst.

“The value of this is clear, it gives our customers peace of mind and provides them with the freedom to focus on their core business,” he concludes.

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