Enterprise Asset Management

What is Enterprise Asset Management?

If you have already been managing your company’s assets for years, you probably have a good idea of what enterprise asset management is.  

If you are new to asset management or you’ve never formally learned the concept of asset management, you may be trying to understand what it all means.  

With so many definitions, especially purely investment and financially focused definitions, we thought we would define enterprise asset management for the maintenance and asset management folks out there.  

In this article, we will cover the definition of what enterprise asset management (EAM) is, what is involved in it, the industries that need it and how to evaluate your current EAM processe

Enterprise Asset Management Explained

The field of enterprise asset management is focused on managing the assets of your business. This includes asset purchasing, maintaining, repairing, tracking, retiring, replacing, and all other functions of managing the asset life cycle.  

Asset management is crucial for sustaining a company’s profit-generating capital. Savings made on an organization’s largest ticket items make significant impacts on the bottom line. Tracking the health of your assets makes it possible to identify and address issues with your equipment before they fail.  

For critical assets and hard to find parts, planning your maintenance windows ahead of time results in huge savings from lost production and expedited component deliveries.  

All businesses, especially asset-intensive businesses, know that it is important to maintain their assets. However, not all businesses start with solid asset management. It is usually after large spurts of growth that they begin to recognize the need for it.  

For more established organizations, robust maintenance practices may have degraded with time and personnel change. These businesses may also recognize the need to revitalize their maintenance processes.

What is Involved in Enterprise Asset Management?

Under the enterprise asset management umbrella, the following activities make up the asset management process:  

Maintenance Planning and Scheduling

Maintenance planning answers what tasks are being done and scheduling answers when a task is being done. Efficient planning and scheduling of maintenance activities allows your organization to proactively manage its assets and reduce the time and energy needed to “fight fires.”

Inventory Management

Having a solid inventory management system allows you to ensure your maintenance teams have the right part, for the right job, at the right time. Good inventory tracking also entails accurate records of materials coming in and out of your warehouse or stock room so you can make better purchasing decisions when it comes time to restock.    

Environmental Health and Safety

Completion of work in a safe manner is paramount to every industry. Costs incurred due to lost time to injury, damaged reputation, and higher insurance premiums are entirely avoidable. A key component to enforcing a proper risk management strategy involves creating, tracking, and storing permits not only to ensure tasks are being completed in a safe fashion but also so that these records can be easily accessed for auditory compliance.

Many organizations have adopted Electronic Permit Administration Systems (ePAS) in order to digitalize this process.  

Master Data Management

At the heart of any maintenance program is master data. Ensuring that you have accurate and complete asset master data can have a direct impact on reducing environmental, health and safety risks; improving operations performance; and maintaining regulatory compliance.  

Master data management ensures your system is created to have “digital twins,” so that your digital assets reflect your physical assets. This allows you to trust that what is recorded in your maintenance system is really out in your plant.  

Shutdowns, Turnarounds, and Outages (STO)

Maintaining critical assets necessitates bringing individual equipment, process units, or even entire facilities offline for brief or extended periods of time to perform maintenance you cannot perform during runtime. This inherently conflicts with the operational/productive capacity of impacted assets, leading to losses of output and revenue.  

Accurate and efficient planning of shutdown, turnaround, or outage (STO) events is therefore crucial for any organization to minimize costs during the event and sidestep possible failures in the future as a result of deferred maintenance.  

Project and Portfolio Management

As an organization develops, expansion of facilities and green field projects require a considerable amount of financial risk. A strong project methodology centered around accurate record keeping is key to validating contractual obligations, technical integrity, and safety.  

This is in conjunction with a push for critical path and milestone adherence leads to successful project completion and safeguards those investments.

Contractor Management

External resources are often needed for a company to perform specialized tasks during STO or capital project events, or on an ongoing basis where internal resources are more effectively deployed in other areas. Managing these long-term embedded contractors to track time, attendance, fatigue, and cost in a consistent and accountable process ensures accurate payment is made on time.  

Mobile Maintenance Management

With increasing intensity, organizations are recognizing the benefits of empowering maintenance teams with mobile solutions. Mobile maintenance management from the field leads to a dramatic reduction of time wasted in travel, double data entry, and cumbersome paper-based processes. Mobility enhancements therefore play a key role in the larger digitalization efforts seen across most industries.  

Software Systems Used to Manage Enterprise Assets

Depending on business size, business type, and business enterprise asset management needs, companies will use different kinds of systems to manage the asset management functions listed above. For instance, you could use a:  

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) System

An ERP system is set up to help you run all of your business functions from accounting, supply chain management, asset management, inventory management, production, procurement, and much more.  

EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) System

An EAM’s sole purpose is to help you manage your assets throughout their entire lifecycle. It is designed to help you maximize your asset’s use from the moment you purchase it to when you retire the machine.  

CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management System)  

A CMMS is designed to help you manage all aspects of your maintenance. It holds maintenance information, helps you track worker availability, schedule maintenance, review work orders, manage inventory, run reports, and more.

Depending on the factors listed above, you will need different types of systems to manage maintenance and business processes. For the purpose of this article, we will be focusing on EAMs.  

The Industries That Benefit From Enterprise Asset Management

Enterprise asset management was designed for businesses with expensive and complex assets that require regular monitoring and maintenance. Industries that benefit from asset management include:  

  • Oil and Gas  
  • Mining and Metals  
  • Utilities and Power Generation  
  • Chemicals and Petrochemicals  
  • Public Sector, Municipalities, and Transportation    
  • Pharmaceuticals and Life Science  
  • Food and Beverage  
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Forestry  
  • Manufacturing  
  • Healthcare
  • Education  
  • Entertainment
  • Automotive  
  • Military and Defense  
  • Retail and Fashion  

As companies in these industries build out their EAM processes and begin utilizing software to streamline them, they notice higher levels of efficiency in their operations and production.  

Is Your Current EAM System Meeting the Needs of Your Organization?

As a maintenance professional, your current EAM system may be the only one you’ve worked with or you may have become familiar with several over the course of your career. Often times unique processes inherited by your facility require workarounds or a series of workarounds to accomplish day-to-day operations or record keeping.  

Other times critical tasks are performed in separate unconnected systems creating silos of data. Understanding how your maintenance teams are interacting with an EAM system is paramount in determining if your business needs are being met.

Ask yourself the following questions about your EAM system and your maintenance processes:  

  1. Is your team planning outside of your EAM, in spreadsheets, or a separate system?
  2. Is information reported and recorded verbally or on paper before being entered into a system by another individual?
  3. Is there a significant amount of time wasted making unnecessary trips back and forth between the field and the office?
  4. Does your team often find themselves “fighting” with the system trying to find information they know is there?  
  5. Are metrics and KPIs generated and updated manually? How much time is spent a week creating analytical reports?
  6. Do you have difficulty finding records efficiently for auditing or compliance reasons?  
  7. Are internal or external compliance metrics being met consistently?  
  8. Does your EAM system accurately reflect your true backlog? Is there a lag of more than a week between work completion and records being updated in the system?  
  9. Are contractor timesheets validated quickly and accurately? How much time is spent verifying contractor time and attendance?
  10. Are major maintenance events such as shutdowns, turnarounds, and outages (STOs) running over schedule or over budget?  
  11. Does your organization have a master data governance strategy?  

Depending on your answer to any of these questions your organization may not be utilizing your EAM system as effectively as it could be.  

Due to the wide range of different needs across industry, EAM software solutions do not always provide all of the functionality needed for maintenance users. This leads to workarounds, manual processes, and a general lack of usability.  

This is where maintenance-focused solutions that integrate directly with your EAM system provide benefits. Improved functionality, user interface, and user experience (while still maintaining data integrity within the core system) allows organization’s to drastically improve user adoption and efficiency with existing EAM software.  

Start Managing Your Enterprise Asset Management Efficiently With Software

Reaching world class maintenance standards is the goal for organizations large and small across every industry. Ensuring your teams are using the right software to manage their maintenance process is paramount to the smooth operation of the organization as a whole.  

Proper asset management will save your organization money through time saved, increased production, reduced errors, and more efficient maintenance processes.