What Is EAM, and Why Asset-Intensive Businesses Need It
Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) is a proven and effective process to help manage and optimize a business’s most critical assets, equipment, and infrastructure. Keeping equipment in optimal working order is key for any revenue-driven operation, particularly in those industries that rely heavily on the output of their fixed assets. Such as manufacturing and engineering. By combining maintenance and management tools with IoT connected devices, EAM is the go-to system for minimizing costly downtime and prolonging an asset’s usable life. In this guide, we’ll cover:
What Is Enterprise Asset Management
EAM focuses on managing the life cycle of physical assets in order to maximize usability and reduce costs. It’s a robust and complex process that aims to help businesses increase the operational uptime of their mission-critical assets.
Typically, the management and maintenance process of an asset begins at the planning stage. From there, an asset will be tracked through procurement, operation, and maintenance. Until it reaches its final stages; disposal and replacement.
The driving factor behind enterprise asset management is to optimize and prolong the middle stages of an asset’s life cycle; operation and maintenance. By monitoring these areas, businesses can generate cost-efficient maintenance strategies, such as a preventive maintenance program, to reduce maintenance expenditure and eliminate unplanned downtime.
As well as closely analysing an asset in operation to optimize its performance and understand it’s importance in the production line.
The Challenges of Manual EAM
Enterprise assets are typically fixed and physical. Comprising of buildings, machinery, and plants. As well as moving assets such as ships, vehicles, and aeroplanes.
Manually keeping an accurate account of all fixed assets within a business can bring with it plenty of challenges:
- Miscalculating the depreciation value of assets
- Implementing the wrong maintenance strategy
- Wasting time with manual tasks such as repairs
- Neglecting health and safety procedures
- Not having a real-time overview of each asset’s life cycle
These challenges can be minimized with the help of automated tools such as EAM software and IoT devices.
What Is the Difference Between EAM and a CMMS?
A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is often closely associated with enterprise asset management. But, although similar in their approach to optimizing asset performance, there is an underlying difference between EAM and a CMMS.
In fact, a CMMS can be viewed as just one aspect of enterprise asset management. That is to collect asset performance data and automate the maintenance management process.
Whilst EAM offers a much more complex approach towards maintenance and asset life cycle management.
When choosing between EAM and a CMMS, it’s important to remember that the data being collected and analysed can have a direct impact on a business’s asset management strategy.
The Benefits of EAM
The ultimate goal of enterprise asset management is to ensure that assets remain as profitable as they can. A good EAM system will help businesses to stay one step ahead and gain a competitive advantage.
One important factor for implementing EAM is to provide a detailed overview of a business’s entire repository of fixed assets. This allows for detailed future planning of asset procurement, as well as helping to outline priorities. Whether that be finance, skills, materials, or data.
The use of EAM can support businesses in a number of ways right from the outset. Automated tools aim to enhance:
- Planning and commission
- Accounting and financial management
- Operations, maintenance, and service management
- Stock ordering, inventory management, and supply chain
- Scheduling, time tracking, and space management
- Fleet management
EAM tools can also provide support for more detailed tasks such as maintenance scheduling and warranty management. It can help to standardise activity and make better connections between the organisational strategy and day-to-day running.
What Can EAM Software Do?
EAM Software is a computerized system that provides the necessary tools for businesses to automate the management and maintenance processes of their physical assets.
Interlinked with condition-based and performance monitoring devices, EAM Software enhances a businesses focus on tracking the asset life cycle and maximize performance. It does so by collecting data on usage, breakdowns, depreciation, and costs.
Each software program will be equipped with tools that are customized to a business’s needs in a bid to automate their processes. But, there are a few important features that remain a consistent inclusion.
Typical EAM Software Features
Asset Life Cycle Management
Provides a detailed look at the life cycle of each fixed asset, from planning to disposal, in a bid to improve future planning and optimize performance.
Work Order Management
A key factor in optimizing asset performance is being able to assign the right technician and operator to the right equipment. This allows asset managers to track maintenance, repairs, and planned work.
Effective maintenance planning and scheduling play an important role in reducing costs. By collecting the right data within an EAM system, businesses can build and deploy efficient preventive and predictive maintenance schedules to reduce repair costs and machine downtime.
Supply Chain and Inventory Management
Having the ability to understand the demand for materials and supplies throughout the workplace is essential to saving on purchases. With this, inventory and spare parts can be managed accordingly.
Who Has Access to an EAM System?
One of the many benefits to using a software solution for EAM, is the accessibility and inclusion of various departments and users. Making it key for large businesses with multiple operating areas and personnel.
EAM tools can be accessed by users such as:
- Finance, procurement, and account management teams
- Maintenance teams
- Directors with legal responsibility for asset management
- IT teams
- Security personnel
- Change managers and consultants
- Customer service and support teams
Although software tools tend to be utilised by larger organisations with multiple and sites, SaaS and subscription models are making the deployment of EAM more accessible to all business types and sizes.
A problem that affects the majority of asset-intensive organisations is the lack of data regarding the performance and condition of their fixed assets. Not only can this leave businesses trailing behind more digitally-advanced competitors, but it can also be damaging to revenue when incurring unnecessary and unplanned costs.
Take the manufacturing industry for example, who faced a loss of up to $260,000 per hour in 2016 through unplanned downtime of mission-critical equipment.
But all is not lost. EAM Software, condition-based monitoring tools, and asset performance indicators are now the driving force behind a more cost-effective and quality-efficient approach to asset management.