Celebrate International Business Excellence with the Malta International Business Awards 2024

Third edition of the Malta International Business Awards launched

The Malta International Business Awards (MIBA) are back this year, once again recognising and celebrating Malta based businesses that have demonstrated exceptional prowess in the global marketplace. The event is a testament to the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit thriving within Malta’s business community, highlighting those who have successfully expanded their operations beyond local shores.

The 2024 edition of the MIBA, which will be held on November 29, 2024, promises to be a great event, with awards spanning four categories: Best SME Exporter, Best Large Exporter, Best High Potential Exporter, and Best Emerging Markets Exporter as well as an award for the overall winner. These categories reflect the diverse strengths of Malta’s international business community, showcasing excellence across various sectors.

During a press conference launching the event, Hon Minister Dr Ian Borg expressed his support for the event, noting, “The Malta International Business Awards represent the diverse landscape of Malta’s export industry and underscore our commitment to supporting businesses of all sizes and sectors in their international endeavours. This is key to Malta’s ongoing economic success, as it highlights our dedication to fostering a business-friendly environment that nurtures innovation, encourages entrepreneurship, and facilitates international trade. By recognising and celebrating the achievements of our businesses, we not only showcase Malta’s economic vibrancy but also attract further investment and opportunities for growth. Through strategic initiatives and policies aimed at enhancing our competitiveness on the global stage, the government continues to play a pivotal role in sustaining and expanding Malta’s economic prosperity”.

Mr. David Matrenza, Chairman TradeMalta, Mr. Geoffrey Fichte, CEO HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c., and Mr Joseph Pace, council member of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise, and Industry, all offered their insights and thoughts on the international business landscape and Malta’s position in it during the Press Conference.

Organised by TradeMalta, the MIBA are more than an awards ceremony – they are a celebration of the remarkable efforts of Malta-based businesses trading internationally. “Our mission has always been to actively support Malta based businesses of all sizes in their international ventures, and this third edition of the MIBA is testament to the commitment we stand for by celebrating and recognising the sterling work and achievements of such businesses,” said Mr. David Matrenza, Chairman of TradeMalta

Mr. Geoffrey Fichte, CEO of HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c., emphasized the partnership’s significance: “Our collaboration with TradeMalta for the MIBA underscores HSBC’s commitment to fostering the growth of Malta’s international business sector and highlights the potential of Maltese companies on the global stage.”

Mr Joseph Pace highlighted the unprecedented challenges faced by the global economy over the last three years while pointing to the remarkable resilience and adaptability showed by Maltese businesses. “Not only did they survive, but they thrived, seizing opportunities and navigating through uncertainties with unwavering determination,” Pace said. “The Trade Malta Awards represent more than just a recognition of excellence; they embody the tireless efforts and remarkable achievements of our entrepreneurs, exporters and industry leaders.”

The awards ceremony promises to be an evening of recognition and networking among the movers and shakers of Malta’s business world. Businesses keen on vying for one of the awards are encouraged to submit their applications by the end of May 2024, with further details available on the official MIBA website.

The Awards are being organised by TradeMalta and HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c., as TradeMalta’s strategic partner, with the support of Emirates and Grant Thornton as supporting partners. The Times of Malta are the media partner. Additionally, the awards are endorsed by the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade, as well as the Malta Chamber of Commerce, showcasing a united front in championing Malta’s international business prowess.

For more information on the Malta International Business Awards, including application details and an entrant guide, please visit www.miba.mt or contact TradeMalta at info@trademalta.org or call 22472400.

Join us in celebrating Malta’s international business excellence at the Malta International Business Awards 2024.

TradeMalta is a public private partnership between the Government of Malta and the Malta Chamber. The organisation was set up to offer support to Malta-based companies to reach international markets. TradeMalta is supported by its strategic partner HSBC Bank Malta p.l.c. For more information about TradeMalta visit www.trademalta.org. Alternatively call 22472400.

BNF Bank achieves targeted growth milestones in 2023

BNF Bank announced a robust financial performance for the year 2023, recording a profit before tax of €13.0 million – a 6.75% increase over 2022.

Higher profitability in 2023 was primarily due to increased net interest income of €32.5 million (2022: €25.8 million). In addition to net interest income, net fees and commission income and other ancillary income contributed to a net operating income for 2023 of €36.2 million (2022: €30.1 million). The Bank’s cost-to-income ratio reflects the technology investment the Bank is undergoing, which will be in the Bank’s long-term financial interest. The cost-to-income ratio stood at 65.1% for 2023 (2022: 61.7%). In 2023 the Bank wrote back expected credit losses (‘ECL’) of €0.4 million (2022: ECL write-back of €0.7 million).

Net lending to customers increased by 5.2% to €950.3 million, whilst the percentage of credit impaired lending was contained at 2.65% (2022: 2.63%). The Bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio stood at 19.3% (2022: 19.6%) and the Common Equity Tier 1 Ratio stood at 14.6% (2022: 14.6%), both being well above overall capital requirements and supervisory pillar two guidance. The Liquidity Coverage Ratio (‘LCR’) as of 31 December 2023 was 335.3% (2022: 237.7%), and the Net Stable Funding Ratio (‘NSFR’) was 140.2% (2022: 139.8%).

Following the conclusion of the reporting period, the Board of Directors is proposing a net dividend of €0.045 per nominal share of €0.7552, totalling €4,489,300, to be distributed to shareholders subject to regulatory approval and will be presented for resolution at the AGM.

BNF’S Chief Financial Officer, Mark Micallef said that in 2023, BNF Bank successfully concluded its Vision 2023 Strategy, achieving targeted growth milestones, completing the licensing process for a UK third-country branch, and fulfilling its capital plan objectives. “The robust financial performance in 2023 is a reflection of the Bank’s customer focus and was sustained by steadfast adherence to focused and rigorous risk management practices.”

David Power, CEO of BNF Bank, commented, “In 2023, BNF Bank maintained its pivotal role as a cornerstone of the local economy and as a trusted financial ally for both individuals and businesses. This achievement is a testament to the unwavering dedication and perseverance of our team.”

He continued, “As we navigate the evolving financial landscape of 2024, I am confident that we will rise to the challenge with resilience, strategic planning, and ambition. Our Vision 2026 Strategy remains firmly on track, and we eagerly anticipate achieving our milestones in both business growth and digital transformation.”

BNF Bank’s Annual Financial Report for 2023 may be downloaded from www.bnf.bank/investor-relations

Bank of Valletta stands up for the Green Stakeholder during Earth Hour

For yet another year, Bank of Valletta has renewed its commitment towards Earth Hour by symbolically switching off the lights on the facades of some of its main premises, including its BOV Centre and Premium Banking Centre in Santa Venera, Zachary Street Offices in Valletta, as well as the Chairman’s Office situated at the House of Four Winds, also in Valletta.

For the eighteenth consecutive year, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the organiser of this worldwide movement, issued an invitation for participation in the ‘lights off’ movement to raise awareness on climate change and nature distress. During last year’s event, around 410,000 hours were given back to the planet across 190 countries, with year’s event predicted to be even bigger.

Speaking about the Bank’s role in this event, Ernest Agius, Chief Operations Officer at Bank of Valletta explained that “Earth Hour is an opportunity to create greater collective consciousness about the importance of safeguarding our environment. At Bank of Valletta, our commitment goes deeper than the symbolic gesture. In fact, we consider the green stakeholder to be key for both our CSR programme and our commitment to the Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles. We have continued to undertake a series of environmental initiatives aimed at protecting our environment, while spurring the local business community to act in a responsible manner”. In this respect, he mentioned the Bank’s 500+ PV panels across different sites, double glazing windows offices, and the replacement of air condition units with more efficient ones that produce less harmful refrigerants.

The refurbishment programme currently underway across the Bank’s branches and other offices is already harnessing the concept of environment-first. All-natural and fast-renewing materials are being used, together with LED lighting and recyclable flooring material.

“This concept has also driven our ongoing works at BOV Centre, redesigning the working environment of our Head Office into open-plan designs that allow more natural light and fresh air. The Bank also has two large water reservoirs with a combined estimated capacity of 600,000 litres. This second-class water is used for toilet flushing bowls and firefighting water tower,” explained Mr Agius. The amount of rain water that is typically harvested by the rainwater harvesting system as well as condensation from air-conditioning Units at BOV Centre is over 4,000 cubic metres a year.

Batteries are currently being collected for Hospice under the GreenPak campaign.

Given the permanent nature of the material, metal requires less intervention for it to be recycled as it keeps its material properties. An estimated 15,000kg of metal has been sent for recycling and reuse by the Bank.

Continuous efforts are also made throughout the year to raise awreness among employees to increase their commitment towards the environment, encouraging waste separation and providing regular educational tips about how one can take care of the environment in the long-term by making small adjustments to one’s lifestyle. “Cumulative small steps lead to bigger and more meaningful actions,” concluded Ernest Agius. “For us, this is the spirit of Earth Hour, which we try to live on both an operational and strategic level.”

Maximising Energy Efficiency through Building Renovation

“Change must be embraced. The bigger the transition the more we should accept it, for it to be a success”, said Prime Minister Dr Robert Abela. The Prime Minister was addressing attendees during the launch of the ‘Maximising Energy Efficiency Through Building Renovation’, an HSBC case study which was a collaboration between The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry and the HSBC Malta Foundation.

Prime Minister Robert Abela underlined the significance of this project as a crucial stride towards advancing energy efficiency and conservation standards within Malta’s building and construction sector. Dr Abela underscored the government’s unwavering commitment to continue to enact legislation and foster incentives to facilitate the green transition. He emphasised the pivotal role of the financial sector, noting that banks can make a substantial impact by giving incentives to environmentally friendly buildings through their loan services. “The government welcomes suggestions on how to bolster the financial system’s support for the green transition”, elaborated the Prime Minister, highlighting this transition as the best economic opportunity for our generation.

Achieving Malta’s climate targets requires a transformative shift in the building and construction sector to ensure sustainable living and working spaces. This study lays the groundwork for such a transition, paving the way for future ambitious studies, policies, and strategies. The Prime Minister was given a tour of the building to showcase what type of investment and sustainable measures have been undertaken.


“HSBC Bank Malta is very proud to have supported and collaborated with The Malta Chamber on this ambitious 3-year ground-breaking project. This collaboration is testament to HSBC Malta’s climate change commitments. HSBC Bank Malta through the HSBC Malta Foundation is paving the way for more advanced research and policymaking and is leading the transition towards more sustainable Maltese buildings. This project sets a precedent locally, where data on utility usage and building efficiency has been scarce compared to other European countries. By featuring our new offices in Qormi, HSBC Hub, as a pivotal case study, HSBC is taking a leadership role in the transition to high energy efficiency and low-carbon office buildings in Malta. We have significantly invested in the transformation of the Qormi complex to turn it into a state-of-the-art office. With a capital investment of €30 million this project will now facilitate flexible working and maximise user experience – for employees and customers alike,” said Geoffrey Fichte, HSBC Malta CEO.

“The study we are presenting here today lays the groundwork for the sustainability transition. It charts a course towards a future where our buildings not only meet our present needs but also safeguard the environment for generations to come. By committing to this research project, we have positioned ourselves as pioneers in Malta, charting unprecedented territory and inspiring others to follow suit. This initiative is not just about meeting targets; it is about redefining our relationship with the environment and prioritizing the well-being of our country,” noted Chris Vassallo Cesareo, The Malta Chamber President.

In a recorded message by Ing. Abigail Cutajar, who headed this case study, said that renovating buildings and making them more energy efficient will contribute to a better economy, GDP and lifestyle. Ing. Cutajar emphasised that this project is meant to incentivise investors and private capitalists to truly understand the value of green buildings which will lead to a reduction in overall emissions.

Dr. Ing. Damien Gatt, during his presentation, said that other important elements, such as education, awareness, training and enhanced compliance, need to be considered to facilitate the transition to more sustainable buildings. “Despite the best assessment methods, updated documentation, and ambitious plans, financing remains pivotal. Public funds have a role, but the bulk must come from private investment, making favorable financing mechanisms from banks crucial. Meeting the EPBD targets requires substantial renovation efforts, however, current incentives are insufficient. We require additional financing mechanisms and a comprehensive green building package, accessible to all, to drive a successful energy transition,” he specified.

The key experts in this project were:
• Ing. Abigail Cutajar
• Dr. Ing. Damien Gatt
• Prof. Ruben P Borg
• Gabby Grech Larsson, Policy Executive (Sustainability), The Malta Chamber

BOV experts discuss economy and investment basics with retail clients

Bank of Valletta hosted a financial education seminar highlighting important aspects of the local economy and investment basics with a view of helping the public make informed decisions when dealing with their financial wellbeing. The Bank is investing heavily in the financial literacy of the communities it serves. As explained by BOV CEO Kenneth Farrugia, “We feel it is our responsibility to disseminate financial knowledge and help the public to become better informed, so that they can choose financial products that really suit their requirements”. As a Bank of systemic importance, with a legacy of fifty years operating across the islands, the Bank has taken on board the responsibility to support customers in navigating the financial services world, so that they can make the most of the financial options available at different stages of their lives.”

Malcolm Bray, who heads the Bank’s Economic function, gave an overview of the local economic landscape. He highlighted several variables like the sectoral diversification achieved over the past decades, the record low unemployment rate, coupled with the expected easing of inflationary pressures, the record year for tourism, and the ongoing growth in residential house prices. “The present favourable economic conditions are also supported by the low pass-through of ECB rates to domestic lending rates. Indeed, household rates and corporate rates are currently the lowest among euro area countries,” he explained. Mr Bray also referred to the life cycle theory of consumption to highlight the critical importance of saving during our working age so that we can maintain existing consumption patterns once we retire when income decreases. 

Bond and Equity Markets were particular areas of interest in the information session. Attendees were given an overview of bonds, how they work, and the main factors that affect the bond market, such as inflation, interest rates, credit rating, liquidity, and bond maturity. An overview of the local Equity Market, both by sector and industry, was also put forward, with particular emphasis on how shares entail more risk than bonds but entitle the holder to become part of the ownership of a company, with the possibility of earnings coming from dividends or increases in share price. Informative statistics about the local equity market showed a predominance in Malta by finance and real estate.

The public’s response to the financial education seminar shows that there is a growing demand in the market for further knowledge in finance, an area that Bank of Valletta is keen to invest in. The personal customer segment is showing particular interest to these sessions, with financial skills and investment basics at taking centre stage. The Bank encouraged anyone interested to participate in similar future evets to approach the Bank’s Business Development Unit by calling 22751122.  Satisfaction with participants’ response to the content was expressed by Kenneth B Micallef, who heads the Bank’s Business Development arm, as well as Clayton Scicluna, one of the Bank’s Lead Portfolio Managers and David Pace Ross, Senior Manager within the Bank’s Stockbroking and Capital Advisory arm who presented the content to participants.

The Malta Chamber holds its 2024 Annual General Meeting

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Wednesday 20th March 2024.

“From day one, my ambition was crystal clear – to spur our Board of Management, our Council, and every single member into a formidable voice for The Malta Chamber, championing empowerment and unity,” said Chris Vassallo Cesareo, The Malta Chamber President, in his opening speech. He added that during the past year, The Malta Chamber embarked on a mission not just to continue, but to further elevate our representation of the business community.

Addressing those present, The Malta Chamber President said “as we look ahead, buoyed by the European Commission’s economic forecast, we see both opportunity and challenge. In the latest economic forecast for Malta, issued by the European Commission on the 15th of February 2024, the expectations are that Malta will continue to have GDP growth (4.6% yoy) and inflation increases (2.9% yoy) in 2024. Our GDP growth outpaces the Eurozone average, yet it brings with it the pressures of workforce demands and competitive sustainability. Rest assured, The Malta Chamber will confront these challenges head-on, with strategic foresight and unwavering dedication.”

Dr Marthese Portelli, CEO of The Malta Chamber, provided an overview of the accomplishments over the previous year. Dr Portelli detailed the policy, projects, communication endeavours, and events from the past year, as well as those planned for the future. “Our objectives for the upcoming year will emphasise enhancing quality and member value. This will be complemented by ongoing efforts in policy advocacy with government entities, as well as engagement with European and international partners,” stated The Malta Chamber CEO.

As the AGM drew to a close, Karen Spiteri Bailey, accountant with The Malta Chamber, delivered the financial reports for the fiscal year 2023.

The Malta Chamber Forges Bronze Collaboration Agreement with Sullivan Shipping

The Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry is thrilled to announce the signing of a Bronze Collaboration Agreement with Sullivan Shipping. This agreement marks a significant milestone in fostering strategic partnerships aimed at enhancing Malta’s commercial landscape.

As two prominent entities dedicated to facilitating business growth and fostering economic prosperity, this collaboration solidifies a commitment to mutual support and shared objectives. The Malta Chamber, with its rich history of advocating for businesses and driving innovation, joins forces with Sullivan Shipping, renowned for its excellence in logistics services and global reach.

Speaking on this occasion, Chris Vassallo Cesareo, President of The Malta Chamber, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, “We are delighted to embark on this journey with Sullivan Shipping. This partnership signifies our commitment to fostering a vibrant business ecosystem and creating opportunities for our members. Together, we aim to empower businesses, drive innovation, and contribute to Malta’s economic prosperity.”

“Since its inception, Sullivan Shipping Agencies Ltd has been a strong and active supporter of The Malta Chamber, recognising its vital role in advocating for an ethical and sustainable business environment. As a responsible entity within the Maltese maritime industry, we acknowledge the fundamental role that shipping plays in our island’s ecosystem. While prioritising the preservation of our island’s environment, we also recognize our duty to add value to local businesses, which heavily depend on shipping and logistics services. Our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives underscore Sullivan Shipping’s dedication to aligning economic returns with environmental and social sustainability. We perceive this partnership as a significant stride towards fulfilling this commitment.,” noted Matthew Sullivan, Director at Sullivan Shipping.

The Bronze Collaboration Agreement between The Malta Chamber and Sullivan Shipping underscores a shared commitment to excellence, innovation, and sustainable growth. Through strategic partnerships like this, both organizations are poised to make a significant impact on Malta’s business landscape and beyond.

The agreement was signed by Chris Vassallo Cesareo, Nick Xuereb and Dr Marthese Portelli, President, Deputy President and CEO of The Malta Chamber respectively, and John Sullivan, Matthew Sullivan and Christian Sullivan, Directors at Sullivan Shipping.

Maintenance Training Course by KAIZEN

KAIZEN™ in Maintenance focuses on equipment efficiency and maintenance improvement through an integrated optimisation model with production – Total Productive Maintenance.

Switching From Reactive to Predictive Maintenance

Maintenance is one of the most significant business areas in an industrial company, with a direct impact on all stages of the production process. Industries tend to invest in high-quality equipment and machinery with a long-life cycle which must be managed and preserved effectively. Efficient maintenance ensures the continuous flow of the production process, allowing excellent operational results to be obtained in the form of cost reduction and increased productivity.

Considering that maintenance costs represent on average, 15 to 40% of the operational costs and planned stoppages result in a 5-10% loss in equipment efficiency, it is necessary to apply a model with the clear objective of reducing these and other relevant indicators like Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF), Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). The implementation of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) has resulted in successful cases in several industries, proving to be the approach that addresses all variables that affect equipment performance.

TPM is an approach based on a balance between planned and autonomous maintenance interventions with the objective of achieving an ideal production environment, seeking to maximize efficiency, based on a strong alignment between the operational teams – production and maintenance.

Dealing with unplanned downtime should be seen as a priority for organizations. In the automotive industry, each stop costs about $1.3 million per hour, which is represented by lost production time and, consequently, lost sales.

Despite the significant impact of downtime, 70% of companies still don’t have visibility into when their equipment should be stopped and intervened to avoid unplanned stops.

Only 26% have adopted a predictive maintenance strategy based on data and algorithms that make it possible to identify the optimal moments for equipment maintenance with greater precision.

Efficient maintenance teams are prepared to solve the challenges that arise. Still, they must also have the ability to anticipate future challenges by finding the right balance between working on resolving malfunctions – corrective maintenance – and preventing them – preventive maintenance. An efficient strategy to optimize the performance of maintenance teams is to evolve the TPM model in order to reduce the need to perform reactive maintenance while giving priority to predictive maintenance.

What are the three main maintenance strategies (reactive – preventive – predictive)

Reactive maintenance was the most common approach over a long period of time in different sectors of the economy. In a general way, it is about solving problems after failures occur. Following this approach, maintenance teams only act when called upon, and the stock of spare parts is small, only replenished with ad-hoc purchases.

When the organization opts for a reactive maintenance strategy, unexpected breakdowns force equipment downtime, reducing the availability of machines. Unplanned downtime can result in idle employees, production line stoppages, missed deadlines or late deliveries, the need to incur overtime, and energy overconsumption.

The occurrence of a failure in a single component can also compromise the condition of numerous other components inside the machine, increasing the time needed to repair them and leading to downtime costs for the organization and its repercussions.

While reactive maintenance is an approach to resolve failures and reset conditions to operate correctly, preventive maintenance seeks to prevent failures from happening, relying on a periodicity to check the need for maintenance or to effectively perform maintenance tasks on equipment.

Preventive maintenance is, in its definition, the set of activities carried out regularly (according to a planned schedule) to maintain equipment’s conditions and operational status.

Predictive maintenance has the main objective of formulating a forecast based on data and algorithms to find out, with high precision, when equipment maintenance is needed. The implementation of this approach consists of constantly monitoring the conditions of the equipment throughout its normal operating process to predict and detect potential problems and correct them promptly before they result in failures. It seeks to respond to two significant problems associated with organizational maintenance models:

  • The high costs associated with excessive periodic maintenance – are often unnecessary.
  • The high costs associated with an unplanned stoppage – which is often avoidable.

Predictive maintenance differs from preventive maintenance in that it is based on the actual condition of equipment and not on average or expected life statistics. This methodology tries to detect failure patterns and anomalies, learn from them, and then predict future failures of machine components so that they can be replaced before they fail.

The ‘predictive’ component of predictive maintenance stems from the goal of predicting the future trend of the equipment’s condition and it uses principles of statistical process control to determine at what point in the future maintenance activities will be appropriate.

In this strategy, repairs occur whenever the analysis of the equipment’s condition makes it foreseeable. Maintenance teams work on-call and have well-structured routines for lubrication, replacement of worn parts, inspection/measurement, and statistical analysis of performance. Spare parts stock management is based on anticipation based on the condition and/or forecast of a possible failure.

The image below shows the time distribution with comparisons between different maintenance approaches.

The goal and potential impact of predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance should be implemented in equipment that has a critical operational function, has failure modes that can be avoided with regular maintenance and has a failure probability that increases with time or use. Equipment that has random failures that are not maintenance-related, and that do not perform a critical function, should be disregarded in this scope.

The KAIZEN™ approach to implementing predictive maintenance contains four steps:

  1. Selection of components and control parameters: it is crucial to start with critical assets to improve the functioning of this specific equipment. At this stage, there’s also the criteria definition, designed to prioritize equipment based on safety & environment, quality, availability, and process speed. The control parameters are also studied and defined in this particular step.
  2. Definition of diagnostic methods and baseline values: equipment condition assessment can be done through periodic (offline) or continuous (online) monitoring of the equipment’s condition. This step aims to specify how to perform instrumentalized and non-destructive tests and inspections and define the baseline values. Most predictive inspections are performed while equipment is in service, thereby minimizing disruption of normal system operations.
  3. Definition of suitable technologies: the predictive analysis utilizes various statistical and machine learning algorithms to provide recommendations and answers to questions related to what might happen in the future. Since it is a probabilistic method, the accuracy of the outcome depends on the data quality. There are different technologies to use, like computerized maintenance management systems, vibration analysis, remote visual inspection, acoustical analysis, infrared monitoring and analysis, oil analysis and model-based condition monitoring.
  4. Predictive intervention: this step encompasses the design of the plan with all the information, such as which components are indicated for this approach, what are the control parameters for each piece of equipment, what are the reference values, what technologies are to be applied, and also what are the inspection points?

The main advantage of using this strategy is improving the operation of critical equipment, which will result in less need for corrective maintenance and generate savings in terms of time and money due to unplanned work avoidance. The continuous state of organization and control, which is the basis for preventive (periodic or predictive) maintenance, maximizes the availability and reliability of equipment and ensures processes at the lowest cost, allowing good decision-making for the management of assets in the long term.

Switching from reactive to predictive maintenance

Today, maintenance must adopt a system more focused on prevention and less on the reaction and resolution of malfunctions; this strategy must be implemented in a global way and must necessarily be integrated with production.

The implementation of a model based on Total Productive Maintenance principles, through the application of predictive and planned approaches, which will optimize spare parts stock management and reduce equipment downtime, while maximizing efficiency, is the most effective solution to optimize maintenance processes. This new paradigm can take the organization from a repair and fault management strategy to an integrated maintenance and production management one, focused on preventing equipment anomalies.

The ultimate goal of Predictive Maintenance is to perform maintenance at a scheduled point in time when the maintenance activity is most cost-effective, and before the equipment loses performance within a threshold, reducing maintenance costs, increasing equipment availability, equipment lifetime and safety.

Impact of predictive maintenance on the overall equipment effectiveness

By implementing predictive maintenance, teams will be able to gain insights into the need for maintenance before a significant downtime occurs – keeping equipment running. This makes the companies maintain not only high production time but also superior performance levels. This adoption intends to bring about an increase in the availability of resources, considered a key variable for the success of the organization, and for the OEE calculation.

The application of the predictive maintenance strategy will increase the organization’s overall OEE as it will allow preventive maintenance tasks to be carried out just before failures occur, drastically reducing both the planned stoppages of periodic inspections and the unplanned stoppages resulting from potential breakdowns.

Top challenges faced while implementing predictive maintenance

Typical maintenance challenges involve for instance the lack of resources, funding, or training. However, recently, (and following the same logic as other business areas), maintenance has faced a paradigm shift as digitalization and innovation bring new variables to the equation.

Due to the need to remain competitive, organizations cannot neglect this aspect, and the paradigm must evolve. More companies are focusing on predicting possible future defects and channelling less effort into solving challenges at the moment they arise.

To develop predictive maintenance strategies, Industry 4.0 and the application of digital tools can also be differentiating factors.

There are solutions like:

  • Data analytics and all that can lead to predictive maintenance and conditioned-based maintenance
  • Digital twins and simulation improve machine reliability right from the design phase
  • Augmented reality increasing global remote expertise collaboration in maintenance interventions
  • Maintenance 4.0: cyber-physical systems
  • Real-time machine data availability (process and machine parameters

Digital transformation and innovation can play a key role in maintenance activities and show special relevance in the implementation of the predictive maintenance strategy. Only organizations capable of embracing these methodologies and leveraging them will achieve the much-desired transition from the current paradigm of ‘solving’ to the vision of ‘preventing’.

The Malta Chamber Annual Report 2023/2024