Who Moved My Data? Part 2: Insourcing Condition Monitoring

In my previous blog on this topic, “Who Moved My Data? Outsourcing Condition Monitoring,” I established the case for condition-based monitoring of critical assets to ensure a reduction in unplanned downtime. I also explored the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing condition monitoring from critical assets. Here I discuss the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to condition monitoring and explore its advantages and disadvantages.

Understanding the DIY approach

Now, let me be clear to avoid any confusion, when I refer to “do it yourself,” I don’t mean literally doing it yourself. Instead, this is something you own and customize to fit your applications. It may require a fair amount of input from your maintenance teams and plants. It’s not a one-day job, of course, but an ongoing initiative to help improve productivity and have continuous improvements throughout the plant.

Advantages and disadvantages of DIY condition monitoring (insourcing)

Implementing the solutions for continuous condition monitoring of critical assets by yourself has many advantages, along with some disadvantages. Let’s review them.

Advantages of insourcing (DIY) condition monitoring:

    1. Data ownership: One of the greatest benefits or advantages of implementing the DIY approach to condition monitoring is the control it gives you over data. You decide where the data lives, how it is used, and who has access to it. As I emphasized in my previous blog and numerous presentations on this topic, “Data is king” – a highly valuable commodity.
    2. Flexibility and customization: Of course, the DIY solution is not a one-size-fits-all approach! Instead, it allows you to customize the solution to fit your exact needs – the parameters to monitor, the specific areas of the plant to focus on the critical systems and the method of monitoring. You choose how to implement the solutions to fit your plant’s budget.
    3. Low long-term costs: As you own the installations, you own the data and you own the equipment; you don’t need to pay rent for the systems implemented through outsourcing.
    4. The specification advantage: As a plant or company, you can add condition monitoring features as specifications for your next generation of machines and equipment, including specific protocols or components. This allows you to collect the required data from the machine or equipment from the get-go.

Disadvantages of insourcing (DIY) condition monitoring:

    1. High upfront cost: Implementing condition monitoring with a data collection system may involve higher upfront costs. This is because there is a need to invest in data storage solutions, engage experts for condition monitoring implementation (typically from an integration house or through self-integration), and employ developers to create or customize dashboards to fit user needs.
    2. Limited scalability: collecting more data requires additional storage and enhanced analytics capabilities, especially when transitioning from condition-based maintenance to predictive analytics. Designing your own solution with limited budgets may hamper the scalability of the overall system.
    3. Infrastructure maintenance: This is another area that requires close attention. Whether the infrastructure is located on-premises, centralized, or in the cloud, the chosen location may require investments in manpower for ongoing maintenance.

Another point to emphasize here is that opting for a DIY solution does not preclude the use of cloud platforms for data management and data storage. The difference between insourcing and outsourcing lies in the implementation of condition monitoring and related analytics – whether it’s carried out and owned by you or by someone else.

Strategic decision-making: beyond cost considerations

The final point is not to make outsourcing decisions solely based on cost. Condition-based monitoring and the future of analytics offer numerous advantages, and nurturing an in-house culture could be a great source of competitive advantage for the organization. You can always start small and progressively expand.

As always, your feedback is welcome.