Date Created: April 9, 2020
Hi, I am Wade Leverett, President and CEO of Repete Corporation. Repete is a leading provider of advanced controls with a special emphasis on animal feed production. In my role, I have the pleasure of coming into contact with feed mill owners and operators each year. Therefore, I am able to gain insight as to what is happening or important in the animal food manufacturing business.
One thing that comes up often is the importance of service. I am told by most feed mill managers that service is the top thing considered when looking to buy an automation system. I have to agree with this because the effectiveness of a mill is directly impacted by the ability to keep a mill up and running year after year. For Repete controls, we build systems that we expect to last 20 years. While this is rare in the market today, it’s what sets us apart and re-enforces the need for service that can be provided on the long haul.
In our industry, feed mill owners are replacing automation controls about every 5-7 years on average. This is because obsolescence is happening at an ever-increasing rate and due to the rapid improvements in technology. Changing out automation systems is costly and has impacts on feed production, often for several months.
So again, service is the most important thing that Repete has to offer. With this high focus on service, Repete has taken steps to use technology to ensure that we can offer the best experience possible for our customers. I would like to share a few of these with you, as I think it will help you assess your current situation and determine if it is time to make a change.
Firstly, Repete has developed a process around remote service. Remote connection to customers has been around for a while, but Repete has used this technology to provide a fast and efficient way to serve our customers now for many years. This starts by having not just one tool, but many tools on the shelf that will enable us to connect securely to your automation system. Having many options here allows Repete to meet the requirements of any discerning IT department and ensure that our connection is secure and private. Our staff is trained and experienced in providing remote diagnostics and application repairs.
Our average connection-to-site problem determination is < 20 minutes and our fix rate over remote connections is 98%. At Repete we monitor key performance indicators, so these numbers are from these key monthly indicators.
But it is not enough to connect remotely. As I said before anyone can do this today. Repete has optimized the remote connection method by designing systems, for over 50 years now, that are easy to diagnose. We build diagnostics into our user interfaces that are superior to our competition. And while our UI may look similar to others, Repete has designed diagnostics components right into the use of our systems. For example, an operator or our service technician can completely diagnose a problem using only the user interface. This means we no longer need to plunder the PLC or databases to try and figure out what is going on. Our technicians are able to determine the state of any tag in the PLC, the health of the PLC and all computers and clients from a single connection to one of our servers.
The Repete automation systems are designed fully around a state-driven technology that allows us, from the client screen, to determine the state of every device and supervisory control in your location at a glance. This also enables us to temporarily bypass problems in your hardware field and allow you to finish a run or batch of work without loss of control by our system. This ensures feed integrity and avoids food safety problems.
This ability of our automation systems to help in the diagnosis of problems is enhanced by our ability to quickly identify a hardware field failure. Once that is fixed, we can click a single button and have our system return to full operation; all of this without operators being required to know how to do so. Our built-in workflows know how to take a mill into a safe mode during errors and bring it back to fully automatic operations after it is fixed. This is unparalleled in the industry.
Repete has put a large amount of focus on reliability. Not having something break is better than fixing it when it does. Our unique architecture has proven to have fewer failures than our competition. We achieve this by using a stateful design where our software does not fail intrinsically or due to the hardware field in your plant. Our automation systems always remain in control while maintaining records of actions take while the mill is being repaired.
When it comes to monitoring service, we’ve reduced software issues to a small fraction when compared with our competition. This is important because when one of our service people remotely connects to your mill, they have confidence that the automation is solid. This allows them to focus on the more likely issue, which 90% of the time is a problem with the hardware field. Given the added tools our technicians have at their disposal, more often than not we can have a mill back up and running in a few minutes.
Another factor about service is documentation. At Repete we keep detailed records about your plant for as long as you own a Repete system. Having this information available to our service personnel is key to solving issues quickly. Often, we are called on by our customers to provide documentation in the form of flows, IO lists, network drawings, and other materials after they have been misplaced or lost. Repete even keeps the documentation needed to bring your system online at our location after many years in a simulated mode to aid in diagnosing an issue.
Finally, all of the above is great but without the best-trained technicians, it would all be for nothing. Repete has seasoned professionals, on staff, offering 24×7 support around the world that have been trained to service our automation systems with the highest degree of accuracy. We have both Level-I and Level-II service personnel that can diagnose any problem in a short period of time.
But you might ask, what about that rare case where the software really is the problem? We all know that service technicians can’t fix code reliably, right? In these cases, Repete has design engineers assigned in a rotation that can handle any issue. When a software issue has been spotted by service, they can quickly transfer it to an engineer positioned around the world. This escalation process has provided Repete with the best service in the industry.
The best technology, the best process and practices, coupled with the best-trained staff in the industry produces a great experience for our customers needing service. When choosing an automation system for your feed mill, service is, indeed, your most important decision. If your current controls do not offer you this level of service, please consider Repete. Service Is our top priority.
Our business development representatives are available to answer any questions you may have about service or any other topic about Repete, so contact us today online or call (262) 246-4541.