Daikin Comfort

How one team started small with inventory management improvements and ignited a data-driven revolution, crushing downtime and fueling maintenance efficiency

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Joe Colvis headshot

Joel Colvis

Senior Director of Maintenance & Facilities

Daikin Comfort

The challenge

  • Lack of access to quality data
  • Trouble tracking cost of machines, equipment and parts
  • Lack of visibility into seeing what maintenance work needed to get done

The solution

  • Fiix CMMS
    • Parts Forecaster
    • Analytics
    • Calendar beta
    • Mobile app

The result

  • Able to get their parts purchasing under control
  • Started to implement condition-based maintenance
  • Making strong decisions based on and backed by high-quality data

About Daikin Comfort

Daikin (opens in new tab) is a leading innovator and worldwide provider of advanced, high-quality air conditioning and heating solutions for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. With more than 90 years of operation, Daikin has sold millions of systems throughout 140 countries.

“We have one large facility, which is about 4.2 million square feet,” says Joel Colvis, Senior Director at Daikin. "And within it we have 200 maintenance members. And then with additional groups that have joined, we have about 300 people total that are utilizing Fiix (opens in new tab) in our factory.”

Lack of visibility and incomplete data

Prior to Fiix, the Daikin team was using another system to track maintenance. While using the software, a couple of significant challenges surfaced. Firstly, the existing data infrastructure wasn't great. Data was lacking completeness and leaving information gaps.

“I knew that we spent millions of dollars per year on spare parts, but I couldn't tell where all that money went,” says Joel.

I couldn't tell you which machine was our most expensive one, or which machine was consuming most of our time.

Despite substantial annual spending on spare parts, tracking all those expenses remained a guessing game. The data wasn’t complete enough to use for future capital planning and decision-making for something like replacing a major machine.

Additionally, managing spare parts inventory posed its own set of challenges. Manual control over inventory led to uncertainties about the availability of the right spare parts at crucial times, causing delays and inefficiencies.

These issues prompted a proactive search for solutions. Recognizing the importance of team buy-in, the search for a solution included prioritizing not only functionality but also the team's involvement in the decision-making process.

Unless you have the team on board and they're involved, you're going to be trying to pedal uphill the entire time.

The search for a real solution begins

The new system needed to meet three basic requirements: spare parts tracking, workflows and the ability to manage assets from anywhere in the plant. After narrowing it down to a few solutions that fit all three, they let a few technicians play around with the different software and collected feedback.

“We said, ‘Go try out these three systems, see what you like.’ After they ran through all of them, they said, ‘Fiix is the one that is the easiest for us to use and the most user-friendly. We like this one the best.’ So, we said ‘Great, let’s go with that solution!’” says Joel.

Handling change management

“It’s a normal part of every change to have some resistance or people that aren't comfortable. You're taking them out of their comfort zone, asking them to learn something new. And you have to acclimate them to a new place of comfort,” says Joel.

He recalls that there were a few technicians who weren’t too keen on documenting everything they were doing for fear of being replaced or micromanaged. Joel put those fears to rest by having very open and honest conversations with his technicians.

It's not that I want to track everything that you do—that's not my intent. But I do want to try to understand everything that the machine does.

He stressed that knowing everything about the machine, like how much time is spent on repairs, how many parts are being consumed, and what the most common repair is, makes for better planning in the future.

“That way, you don't have to keep fighting the same problems every day because we can take action on the data.”

Catch the full interview in our series called “The Field Inspection”:

Stepping away from pen and paper once and for all

To ensure that technicians had an easier time transitioning off pen and paper, the team had to find something that was just as mobile and convenient as carrying a clipboard across the shopfloor but was more reliable.

“We provided a tablet for every person. But if they want to use a smaller handheld, that's fine. You know, whatever gets them on board with using it [Fiix CMMS],” says Joel.

Once Joel was confident that the team was capable and willing to use the CMMS, they started small, first tackling their spare parts and adding them to the system. The next priority was all about planning and utilizing features like calendar beta to ensure everyone’s time is being used effectively.

Analytics, data-driven decisions and predictive maintenance

Joel and his team rely on analytics, data-driven decisions, and predictive maintenance to keep their operation smooth. "We manage 23 assembly lines and about 5000 pieces of equipment with Fiix," Joel explains. For features like analytics and parts forecaster to work well, they need good input.

With analytics Joel and the team are confident in the data they’re getting from the CMMS and even more confident in using it to plan ahead. “I like running that report on Sundays. It predicts what parts I’ll need for the next week and lets me know when I’ve run out of certain parts too,” says Joel.

Right now, they’re focused on building the foundation for condition-based maintenance (CbM). They broke the process into phases and focused on four main types of condition monitoring: oil analysis for stamping departments, ultrasonic analysis for high-speed presses, infrared for assembly lines, and vibration analysis across the board. Once they get comfortable with CbM, they plan to start fully utilizing predictive maintenance tools like Asset Risk Predictor.

Silent maintenance superheroes

In maintenance, every avoided breakdown is a silent success that rarely gets noticed outside of the department. “No one notices the breakdown that never happened,” says Joel.

He jokes that now that they’re managing maintenance through Fiix, they’ve been able to avoid the bigger machine breakdowns that get the whole companies attention. "We prevented a potential conveyor breakdown through root cause analysis, and addressed the issue before it even became a threat," says Joel.

He mentions that even those small victories keep his team charged up and motivated to take on the day and that’s because he believes there is no such thing as a silent success in maintenance.

It's essential to shine a spotlight on these successes. By showcasing our achievements, we underline the value we bring to the company.

Slow and steady wins the race

When asked how he would motivate other maintenance teams, Joel says, “you have to take it piece by piece. Start small, for example, start with work orders, and then look at how you can improve that.”

In his own role, he found lots of success with this approach and is still utilizing it today as they progress along their maintenance maturity journey.

Lastly, he stresses that as a leader, you absolutely need to consider your team in every decision you make. “They're the ones turning the wrenches, the ones fixing everything that needs to be fixed... So, you know, find the system that’s going to work for them, and you'll get good results.”

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