Why Industrial Asset Management Is Best For Manufacturing Processes

The implementation of industrial asset management (IAM) in manufacturing operations is on the rise and can be seen as an essential part of succeeding in this asset-heavy industry.

With industrial-focused Asset Management Software, manufacturers can 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 sets IAM apart from other asset management tools is the specific focus on industrial equipment, with the three main goals being to:

  1. Improve equipment reliability
  2. Maximise equipment performance and uptime
  3. Extend the lifespan of mission-critical equipment and prolong operational life

Opting for the right industrial asset management system is essential for manufacturing organisations to grow and get the most out of the digital revolution, or Industry 4.0.

What Is Industrial Asset Management & How Is It Different?

Industrial asset management tools focus more on the monitoring, operating, and maintaining of physical assets in industrial settings such as manufacturing.

That includes machinery, tools, facilities, infrastructure, and any other asset that affects the production and manufacturing processes of an operation.

Like any asset management system, Industrial asset management tools are designed to track, manage, and build on the life cycle of mission-critical assets. This improves a business’s ability to:

  • Budget for purchases
  • Build effective maintenance schedules
  • Prolong operational life
  • Plan efficiently for disposals

Four key stages of the industrial asset management life cycle

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The Benefits of Industrial Asset Management For Manufacturers

A key benefactor of implementing Industrial Asset Management Software is to get the most out of a company’s tangible assets. An IAM 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 its asset management system, in particular, manufacturers benefit by having the ability 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 tools are about more than just improving asset turnover ratios. They can also bring 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 form of asset management. These companies expected a 28.3% increase in productivity of maintenance, with most reporting average investment recovery times of around 14 months.

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Why Manufacturers Rely on Industrial Asset Management Tools

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 IAM and ERP.

Many asset-intensive organisations try to “make do” with what their ERP solution can offer in the way of asset management. However, many of these organisations 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 automating maintenance schedules to minimise downtime.

An ERP system might help to automate company operations, but an effective IAM platform helps to automate the real day-to-day actions involved in running a manufacturing business. ERP may help to manage business processes, but asset management 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.

3 Key Areas Impacted By the Use of Industrial Asset Management

1. Tracking and Monitoring Asset Performance

This is probably one of the functions that comes to mind when hearing the term “asset management software”, and it’s something IAM does extremely well.

As an asset-heavy industry, manufacturers have a number of different types of assets to keep track of. From large pieces of production line machinery to a hand drill that lives in the maintenance department.

With today’s technology, it is much easier to track assets and monitor 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 be 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 optimisation.

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

2. Extending Operation Life 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 industrial asset management in manufacturing, maintenance is also planned to take place at times and in ways that will cause the least disruption. Modern IAM 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.

3. Producing Regulatory and Financial Reports

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 KPIs, 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.

IAM Features That Directly Improve Industrial Manufacturing Tasks

Advances in technology form an essential part of what makes asset management products tick. One of the big advantages to be had is the 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 industrial asset management in manufacturing rely on the tagging and tracking of everything, from components and consumables to large pieces of equipment, vehicles, and buildings. This can be achieved with great efficiency through asset 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

IAM systems act as a data hub for 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 computerised 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, 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.