Q&A with: Chris Metcalf, CMRP, Global Maintenance Systems Leader, DuPont Pioneer

Writing Q&A, Questions and Answers on a blackboard.

With a degree in industrial engineering and more than 12 years managing various SAP PM implementations, re-implementations, and system upgrades, Chris Metcalf talks about his work at DuPont Pioneer Hi-Bred. Chris spoke at SAP-Centric EAM in March 2017 on the importance of establishing sustained analytics in order to drive better decision making.

Q:  You have a lot of experience in SAP implementations – are you on the business side or are you a technologist?

Well, I am an engineer by training and started in engineering with Anheuser-Busch, IT at Sara Lee, then at DuPont Pioneer operations for a while, then Center of Excellence, and now back in engineering. I have spent time doing both but I’ve always had the same job mission and that consistency has allowed me to move forward quickly.  I understand both the IT side and the business side.  I am kind of a liaison between the end users and the people building the systems.

Q: How did this prepare you for designing an analytics program at DuPont Pioneer Hi-Bred?

A: The idea at DuPont was to move everything to one system to manage our assets.  Being in on the ground floor of that project was really exciting. It all starts with consistency. The majority of what we set out to do has stayed the same, from system design and build through to implementation.  This consistency has helped the users develop good habits as a result.  We spent the first year planning and giving the strategic planning piece the respect it deserved. That was the basis for everything that followed.

One major key to success was that we prioritized the key fields where we needed to have high integrity and standardization and then we put in a process to quantify these fields and incorporate into the site performance metrics. We are reporting on data integrity and standardization, transactional excellence, on a site level and regional level.

One of the things that I have learned is that the SAP Business Objects suite is very powerful. It can do just about anything anyone would want.  The mission was not to overly customize SAP but rather stay true to the core BOBJ suite.  This ultimately proved to be very smart and we typically don’t have to make repairs for upgrades and patches.   You cut off the future when you customize, so my advice is to respect the background architecture and original spirit of each aspect of SAP.

Q: What is the biggest trend in asset management analytics that you see coming?

A: I would say getting tailored analytics, customized for each job role, in the hands of each position in the entire company.  Typically, analytics are available and incorporated into certain jobs, but not all, such as operators, mechanics, and electricians.  Analytics aren’t just for engineers or continuous improvement folks, it’s for everyone.  This I think is the next big thing for all companies who are leading the way in this area.

Q: What do you love most about your role?

A: I love traveling around and meeting people, and having what I do make a big impact on the company.  I also love the fact that when a new big project or requirement comes along for reporting – I get to see the data first and design how it’s laid out to maximize business benefit, and be the first to see where our KPI’s numbers are falling out of the gate.

Q: What’s next on the horizon for you at DuPont – what’s the next big bite you are taking?

A: First, we are getting all the plants on the EAM system.  We have about 50% of our plants are live now with the basic EAM package and we will tackle the rest over the next 5 years. 90% of the remaining plants to be implemented are outside of North America.

Alongside implementations, our focus is on condition-based maintenance. Our vision is to move from a calendar/time-based maintenance strategy to a condition-based strategy.  Currently we have 15 plants at the early stage of this process incorporating the PLC information into the SAP strategy.

Q: What’s your biggest challenge in getting to that point or beyond that to the next level: predictive maintenance?

A: Our biggest challenge is the automation network and hardware – some of the plants and equipment just don’t have them and that will be a significant investment.

Q: Where/when does HANA fit into the picture for DuPont?

A: We implemented HANA over the last year or so. This has been an incredibly successful project in driving up productivity across the board through increasing, by orders of magnitude, SAP runtime.  The other aspects, we have yet to utilize, but just for the speed of transactional processing alone, we consider it well worth the investment.

Q: Why should attendees come to your session at SAP-Centric EAM?

A: They will better understand how to implement, sustain, standardize, support, and utilize SAP EAM at a large scale corporation successfully. This will be most useful for those at large corporations at the early stages of a deployment or redeployment of some, or most, aspects of EAM. However, those well underway will likely walk away with several new concepts that have yet to be considered at their companies.


Chris Metcalf
CMRP, Global Maintenance Systems Leader, DuPont Pioneer





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