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Say STOP to paper-based OEM manuals

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

This article aims to alert the community of industrial maintenance and equipment manufacturers on a major problem. Why, in 2020, industrial machines are still delivered with operational and maintenance manuals in the form of paper or .pdf file?

Pain generated

Long and not understandable

When you receive a new machine the reaction is always the same: the excitement. You are undeniably excited to try and put your new "toy" into production. But when you take a look at the 300-page operating manual, you put it in the corner of your desk and tell yourself that someone will read it.

This is terrible. Why the equipment manufacturers do not offer quick and efficient digital solutions for getting started, accessible to the safety of the first users?

Not visual and detailed

Then, after some time, the file lands in the hands of maintenance, and someone has the responsibility to ingest and assume full understanding of the manual.

You are going to leaf through it without really reading it, until you find the famous table briefly indicating the planning of machine maintenance. You know, this table that advises you to grease the bearings of the machine every month. And the questions come up: how many bearings? Where are they? How much grease? Is it monthly if my factory runs in 3x8 hours? In addition, it is very difficult to find information quickly.

Transcribed by hand to CMMS

Then comes the third step. The one which consists in transcribing the instructions of the OEM in your CMMS. Depending on the level of details needed, this will take a considerable amount of your time. In addition, the more you detail your tasks of preventive maintenance, the more your system will be difficult to maintain up to date. It is an endless circle, which pushes certain companies to hire one or more people full time, in order to ensure a preventive maintenance of quality.

Possible reasons

The OEMs don't have the tool?

In view of the developments in the manufacturing industry in recent years, all may suggest that equipment manufacturers who produce operating and maintenance manuals for their machines suffer from a lack of software tools to digitise their data. Indeed, the enormous CMMS market creates a gap between the equipment manufacturers and the users of machines / maintainers. It is so common to transcribe the maintenance data by hand into your CMMS that "nobody" asks the question of the inefficiency and wonders about the shortfall of this process.

Industry 4.0 is killing it?

This is the new subject that everyone is tearing up. Industry 4.0, with its connected sensors, its promises of predictive maintenance where the machines would be autonomous in a near future... But does maintenance not start - and will not always start - with a "grease gun"? The current status quo suggests that not everybody can afford such a leap without mastering the basics of industrial maintenance.The education and training of technicians must remain the first priority because people are the first asset of any company. The precision and consistency of your maintenance tasks should be the second focal point of your maintenance.

The industry standard is late?

The interesting track of industrial standards can also be explored. Standardisation is extremely difficult to implement and must first benefit the safety of users. For example, aviation is a highly regulated industry whose regulation extends to industrial maintenance. Equipment manufacturers are therefore obliged to integrate operation, maintenance and reliability of their equipment from the design stage. Without a figure, it is possible to think that industrial machines kill or injure more employees than planes crash for its users. It is therefore legitimate to ask the following question: does the manufacturing industry lack effective maintenance standards?

Pieces of solutions

So why, as an OEM, should I digitise my machine manuals?

First, do it for your customers. According to our studies, the biggest problems of industrial maintenance remain the reliability of the machines and the safety of the employees.

I believe that this is due to three essential pain points:

- Paper-basedOEM documentation / PDF

- Lack of connection with OEM software

- Difficult management of OEM spare parts

Secondly, the collection of human data is necessary for continuous improvement. By providing detailed documentation relating to your machines, you will have the opportunity to get considerably closer to all your users, again those who use your machines - not those who buy them. This will allow you to improve your machines by making them more reliable and safe.

Finally, you could trigger an industry standardisation phenomenon. Why refusing to perform industrial maintenance as it should be done in 2020? If the industry evolves with more autonomous machines, where reliability will be the first selling point and where maintenance will be sold as a service for leased machines, how OEM will provide you with machines' information? Probably in developing their own solution. We consider that standardisation is the basis of the maintenance revolution, and that manufacturers should use third-party platforms to allow a single "management" of maintenance. If standardisation is done from the source, this will guarantee quality, promotes productivity and safety, and boosts users' moral.


I hope this first article sheds some light on the subject. Do not hesitate to leave your comments and answer the questions. The next articles will deal with the use of aging software and the difficulties of managing spare parts. At the same time, do not hesitate to contact us for more information on msapp.

Thank you for your time.

This article is based on suggestions and personal studies aimed at generalising information. Please be respectful in your comments.

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