How Asset Management in Manufacturing is Creating the Smart Factories of Tomorrow
Implementing asset management in manufacturing can be seen as an essential part of this asset-heavy industry.
Making the right choice of asset management software is essential if your company is going to get the most out of the digital revolution. But just what can asset management software do for your company, and how do you know you’ve picked the right vendor for your needs?
The Benefits of Asset Management in Manufacturing
A key benefactor of implementing asset management software (AMS) is to get the most out of a company’s tangible assets. An AMS solution can also help to predict future infrastructure costs, cut maintenance overheads, and much more.
Everyone gains when a company is getting the most out of their asset management system. And, with the right choice of AMS, a manufacturing company will be able to:
- Track and manage equipment and inventory, including IoT enabled devices
- Effectively schedule maintenance to minimise maintenance and repair costs
- Predict and budget for future equipment and maintenance costs
- Simplify and minimise the cost of asset lifecycle management
- Produce reports on current and future asset values instantly
- Reduce asset downtime due to equipment maintenance or failures
- Assign equipment and inventory to specific employees or teams
However, asset management software is about more than just improving the asset turnover ratio. It can also bring you, and your employee’s, tangible daily benefits with every asset-based process running much more smoothly.
In a survey from Industry Week, they selected 558 companies that used a computerised maintenance management system (CMMS). They found, by implementing an AMS solution, these companies can expect a 28.3% increase in productivity of maintenance.
They could also expect a 20.1% decrease in equipment downtime, a 19.4% saving on the cost of materials, and a 17.8% decrease in inventory maintenance and repair. What’s more, businesses reported average investment recovery times of around 14.5months.
With figures like these, it’s hard to argue against implementing asset management in manufacturing companies. But, these numbers do not even begin to look at any of the myriad other benefits AMS can bring to a company.
Why use Asset Management in Manufacturing?
Although the benefits are vast, businesses may still question the need for managing assets, especially if they already have a system such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). However, this can be a common misconception, so it’s important to know the differences between AMS and ERP.
Many asset-intensive organizations try to “make do” with what their ERP solution can offer in the way of asset management. However, many of these organizations find out the hard way that ERP just doesn’t have the features to manage assets as effectively.
By choosing a single platform to manage and maintain tangible assets, companies can benefit from a system that’s able to provide an in-depth overview.
What’s more, the right management solution can tie into logistics to let anyone monitor inventory in real-time. It can also help with assigning equipment to individuals and teams, and to automate maintenance schedules to minimise downtime.
An ERP system might help to automate company operations, but an effective AMS platform helps to automate the real day-to-day actions involved in running a manufacturing business. ERP may help to manage business processes, but AMS can help manage the actual maintenance, ordering, and deployment processes.
So, if you’re an asset-centric business, like manufacturing, with a large number of linear assets such as machines and vehicles, your best choice is asset management software.
How Does Asset Management Benefit Manufacturing?
There are a number of different ways AMS can help a manufacturing company, including a reduction in costs and downtime. Other benefits include tracking and managing static and dynamic assets and improving administrative processes.
Tracking and Monitoring Manufacturing Assets
This is probably one of the functions that comes to mind when hearing the term “asset management software”, and it’s something AMS does extremely well.
As an asset-heavy industry, manufacturers have a number of different types of asset to keep track of. From large pieces of production line machinery, through to a hand drill that lives in the maintenance department.
With today’s technology, it is much easier to track assets and monitoring their condition and performance.
Digital sensors let you create “digital twins” of major pieces of machinery, keeping track of things like running temperatures and downtime. Barcode and RFID tracking can tell you the location, employee, and use frequency for that hand drill.
Buildings are also assets, and by using building information modelling (BIM) and creating a digital twin, building maintenance can much more efficient and effective.
By combining this data with information such as maintenance regulations through to staff training schedules, you can make huge leaps in factory optimization.
For example, why keep four hand drills if only two ever get used?
Automatically bring forward planned servicing on a machine that’s rollers are running hot.
Plan maintenance to happen when staff are on a training day.
Extend Asset Lifecycles with Predictive Maintenance
With the data gleaned from tracking and monitoring assets, your manufacturing asset management application can produce an effective predictive maintenance system.
Predictive maintenance can be defined as “maintenance tasks [are] based on condition measurements and performed on the basis of defects before outright failure impacts safety and production”.
In the case of AMS in manufacturing, maintenance is also planned to take place at times and in ways which will cause the least disruption. Modern AMS systems can help achieve this by splitting tasks into smaller jobs, planning staff training to take place during repairs and ordering necessary parts and consumables.
Predictive maintenance is all about fitting in necessary repairs and inspections around your work schedule before assets break down. It can help you save a sizeable amount of money that would otherwise be lost due to predictable or unpredictable downtime.
What’s more, assets that don’t suffer from catastrophic breakdowns need replacing less often. This means companies can enjoy longer asset lifecycles with increased reliability.
Produce Regulatory and Financial Reports Quickly and Easily
A business’s financial department may also benefit from the introduction of asset management in manufacturing, with software being able to produce accurate reports on current asset values.
A management system will also be able to instantly produce reports on predicted depreciation, future maintenance and replacement costs. As well as asset turnover ratio and other KPI’s, such as health and safety incidents, emissions, and more.
Not only will this make accounting and regulatory compliance much more efficient, but it will also make it easier. Managers and administrators will thank you, while everyone benefits from reporting with increased accuracy and reliability.
Better reporting means better decision making and better business predictions. A real chance to get ahead of the competition, and stay there.
Types of Software and Technology to Enhance Manufacturing
Advances in technology form an essential part of what makes asset management software tick. One of the big advantages to be had from AMS is its ability to integrate with existing technology, and its ability to continuously integrate with new technology as it evolves.
Tagging and Tracking Features
Many features of asset management in manufacturing rely on the tagging and tracking of everything, from components and consumables through to large pieces of equipment, vehicles, and buildings. This can be achieved with great efficiency through tracking solutions such as barcodes and QR codes.
RFID tags are an increasingly popular tagging method, and by combining tags with advanced scanners with Bluetooth and location capabilities, it’s possible to make tracking assets fast and accurate. Wi-fi hubs and Bluetooth beacons can work in tandem with other technology to help automate the process, making total data collection more likely.
At its most basic, many tracking and monitoring features can be automated by combining barcodes and RFID tags with a smartphone.
Modern Mobile Technology
Making use of the features available from today’s smartphones and tablets makes a lot of sense in an asset tracking context. They can also act as a mobile portal that grants maintenance staff access to systems and data.
Mobile technology also enables field service agents to upload photos and videos of manufacturing equipment when in use. It can even pinpoint the location of faults, and other points of interest, and help them find their way to their next task using navigation features.
Computer Modelling and Digital Twins
AMS can act as a data hub for any information to do with company assets. This data can include an asset’s age, physical condition, functionality, and maintenance protocols. It can then use this data to create models to support predictive maintenance protocols.
A digital twin is a digital replica of a living or non-living entity. In this context, a digital twin is a computerized model of a complex asset. It will have all of the same sensors, digital controls, repair and inspection history, and more.
An effective management system can use these digital twins to predict problems, pinpoint faults and access controls remotely.
Secure Cloud Infrastructure and Blockchain
If you’re concerned about security, several software providers allow you to add blockchain security and traceability to your asset transactions.
With additional modules, you can extend this to cover field service personnel, parts and even consumables.
By making data gathering a secure part of your asset framework, and you can use it to support regulatory and legal requirements. Secure data and asset handling can help prove where and how assets have been inspected, repaired, and used.
In conclusion, an asset management system is an essential tool for businesses that want to reduce overall asset maintenance costs. All while wishing to improve their asset turnover ratio, and extend the lifecycle of machinery and other important assets.
For asset-heavy industries, such as manufacturing, it’s both an essential step on the way to fully smart factories and a vital part of keeping up with the competition.
No matter how big or small your manufacturing business, there’s an asset management software package out there that’s right for your company.
Where do you go from here?
The next step is to search, compare and shortlist the right asset management software for your business needs with our free software search tool!