This article was originally published on infobref.com
Industrial equipment is at the heart of manufacturing companies’ business. They are expensive and they must take care of them. However, for SMEs, the maintenance of this equipment is a constant challenge. Binder, a young Montreal-based company, offers them an online service to plan and optimize their maintenance, and thus extend the life of their machines.
The problem that Binder addresses is the lack of resources that many SMEs face to properly take care of their equipment.
“More than 6 out of 10 companies often neglect maintenance operations,” explains Gabriel Lalonde-Francœur, co-founder and director of operations at Binder, who, along with his partner Fabrice Latour, knows the problem well, since they both worked in the field before founding the company.
Small and medium-sized manufacturing companies lack human resources. Often, no employee is entirely dedicated to maintenance. It is then entrusted to a technician or an operator, or to an employee who must do other tasks, such as quality control.
Companies are also, paradoxically, ill-equipped to take care of their equipment. “More than half keep maintenance information in Excel files, or even in paper notebooks, commonly called binders,” explains Fabrice Latour.
Binder’s solution is an online service.
It allows each company to record all the information about its equipment and the maintenance that needs to be given to it, and to plan the operations to be carried out. “This way, each company has a clear and structured maintenance plan that is easily accessible, even to a new employee who has to replace the one who was in charge of maintenance before,” says Gabriel Lalonde-Francœur.
The person who manages the maintenance accesses the platform through a computer. The person who has to perform the maintenance operation on the floor gets the instructions on his phone.
The innovation that Binder brings is first of all to have designed its platform so that it is entirely hosted in the cloud. “Certainly, there are already computer-aided maintenance management (CMMS) software programs available. “But those designed in Quebec were first made to be hosted on a computer, before being adapted for online use,” says Gabriel Lalonde-Francœur. Using them is not as simple and intuitive.”
Most importantly, Binder adds two components over existing CMMS products:
- first, a database of the most common equipment, which gives SMBs a baseline for planning their maintenance;
- second, an algorithm that suggests ways to optimize the maintenance of the plant’s machines.
Binder’s business model is that of a software-as-a-service sold by annual subscription. The amount of the subscription depends on the size of the company, the machines it operates and the number of employees using the platform. In addition, there is an optional fee for each maintenance optimization that the platform provides to the company.
Contractors argue that using Binder is very cost-effective for companies. “Usually, a company that wants to improve the maintenance of a machine and extend its life must deal with a reliability specialist, a specialized professional who can charge $250 to $500 per hour,” says Gabriel Lalonde-Francœur. Maintaining the equipment properly avoids breakdowns that could cause costly production stoppages.
Currently, Binder’s platform is already used by two paying customers. The company is primarily targeting manufacturing SMEs with equipment worth at least $100,000, and who do not have a digital tool other than Excel to manage their maintenance.
Binder is one of 20 young SMEs selected this year in the Bourse+ program of Startup Montreal.
The next step for the company is to make its solution known to Quebec SMEs. It then plans to offer its solution outside Quebec.