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Use EAM software to manage critical corporate assets

An expert explains how to choose the EAM software that will benefit your organization most.

Enterprise asset management (EAM) deals with a corporation's critical and expensive assets, areas where maintaining...

a high percentage of uptime is required for the corporation to be successful. The goal of EAM software, which helps identify key assets and their location, schedule equipment repair and determine maintenance strategies, is to enable managers to control and proactively optimize operations for quality and efficiency.

EAM software is used by businesses, manufacturers, utilities, government agencies and non-profit organizations to automate the management of enterprise assets such as fleets, manufacturing equipment and facilities. The benefits of EAM software are many. It can reduce maintenance, production and labor costs; increase maintenance productivity; help improve enterprise asset maintenance practices; help you comply with regulations; and minimize equipment breakdowns and downtime.

Planning for EAM software

As you plan to implement EAM software, begin by listing the key elements you need to know to maintain critical assets. List the equipment that will be maintained and the location of each piece of equipment. For each piece of equipment, identify the spare parts needed to repair the equipment, and the inventory locations for those spare parts. Identify where spare parts are purchased, and those employees responsible for working with suppliers. Track the repair history for each piece of equipment. Capture the skills for equipment maintenance, which employees have those skills and what work was performed recently.

Next, prepare an analysis of your maintenance department's successes. Consider costs such as spare parts and salaries for repair personnel. Then management must translate equipment uptime into a revenue figure. This profit and loss model helps determine the overall strategy for future years. As an example, the model might evaluate the cost of achieving 99.3% uptime, rather than 99% uptime.

Important features of EAM software

Your understanding of critical assets and their componentry leads naturally to software requirements for an EAM system. Here are features to consider when evaluating EAM software:

  • Equipment definition: Database records for equipment would include name and serial number of the equipment, spare parts, required uptime, mean time to failure, mean time to repair and identification of staff capable of fixing the equipment.
  • Procurement and inventory:  Procurement software and supplier relationship management software are valuable in buying spare parts. Inventory management software is then used to manage the storage of spare parts.
  • Human resource management: HR software manages personnel and helps identify job categories for repairing equipment, hiring, training, career management and attrition.
  • Work management: Work orders need to be managed, which includes defining work and tracking progress over time. Project management may be required for larger work orders.
  • Maintenance styles: At a minimum, there must be support for predictive maintenance (estimating when maintenance is required) and preventive (routine) maintenance.
  • Analytics: Analytical software helps in the modeling of costs incurred (e.g., extra inventory of spare parts, high investment in maintenance personnel) as well as the value of equipment uptime (e.g., 97% vs. 99%).

EAM software vendor success stories

In the EAM space, it is often difficult to differentiate the players. I believe that a review of vendors' success stories can be quite instructive.

DPSI -- Borg Warner in its Seneca, SC plant uses the DPSI iMaint mobile software. In the past, a maintenance expert might arrive at a location, often with the wrong parts and an incomplete, hand-written history of what happened to date. Now the parts are correct, the history is correct and the new maintenance information is used to update the on-line database. The saving in staff time is at least five hours per week per worker.

AssetPoint -- Imersys, a maker of pigments for paper and packaging, has implemented AssetPoint's TabWare across its five North American plants. Imersys began by defining standard work processes, procedures and configuration data. Equipment and work order data was converted from the previous system. All five sites were up and running within nine months. According to Imersys, all this was made possible due to Tabware's easy setup, ability to integrate with other systems and overall ease of use.

With AssetPoint, Imersys can now get workers to where they are needed quickly because manual preparation and hours spent on outdated systems have been minimized.

Infor -- The city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee (population 27,000 residents) achieved tangible benefits with Infor's EAM Enterprise. The city now has the ability to monitor its 34 sewer pumps. The pumps are operating with a higher degree of uptime, with a normal schedule of preventive maintenance. Oak Ridge has also achieved real-time visibility into repairs, maintenance costs and equipment location, and improved the ability to receive and manage work orders.

For an EAM automation project to be successful, you should first create an inventory of current assets, spare parts and procurement strategy. Next, a roster of maintenance workers and their skills should be kept on file. Then the EAM software selection process can begin with a focus on how to maintain equipment efficiently with maximum uptime.

EAM software vendors

Dozens of vendors offer EAM software. Here is a list of "megavendors" as well as several capable smaller vendors.

Megavendors

IBM has entered this space with its acquisition of Maximo (and its MRO product line). For EAM analytics, IBM has integrated its Cognos BI software.

SAP, Oracle and Infor all offer a rich set of EAM functions. Of course, with these three ERP vendors, having an ERP backbone provides customers with additional modules for procurement, inventory, HR and analytics. Infor has enhanced its position in EAM with the acquisition of Datastream (and its MP2 product line).

Other vendors

IFS is a large ERP vendor, which includes EAM as one of its core pillars.

AssetPoint, through its TabWare product line, offers numerous EAM functions, with vertical expertise focused on oil and gas, and industrial verticals.

DPSI has a broad range of EAM functionality, and specializes in facilities and fleet management, as well as core manufacturing.

Next Steps

How companies use enterprise manufacturing intelligence

Explore how SAP Pool Asset Management assists with shared assets

 

This was last published in June 2015

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Very good article, Barry. I've used Infor's EAM software for the last 10 years and can attest to it having all the important features you mention. An additional feature I would suggest is uptime reliability. In the 10 years I have used this product there has been only 1 outage. I think that's a pretty good track record. Additionally, it is a mature company which makes use of best practices in change management and project management for rolling out new features. It really is a state-of-the-art company which makes use of many tools, such as mobility and social media within the software itself, to bring efficiencies and cost savings to getting the job done.
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