For large, global enterprises, managing physical assets across multiple geographies and business units is a daunting challenge with many facets:
- What assets – from heavy equipment to laptops to mobile phones – are in use and where are they located?
- Which of them need regular maintenance, automatic updates, or period replacement?
- What assets pose compliance issues and how can the company ensure it is meeting all regulatory and legal demands?
- Are there ways to manage assets more efficiently to reduce costs and improve performance?
Being able to answer these questions is why enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions are growing in importance and sophistication – and why the popularity of these solutions is on the rise. But before choosing and implementing a new EAM solution, enterprises should spend some time to understand their current asset management process (what it does well and where it falls short) and to articulate their asset management needs and goals going forward.
EAM solutions can definitely generate benefits, but how the system is architected and deployed can make a tremendous difference. Upfront planning is essential to help ensure the enterprise gets the most value today and in the future including these critical outcomes:
- Transparency: It’s one thing to have a view of the assets inside a particular location or function, but the challenge gets exponentially more difficult when assets are scattered across geographies and divisions. In many enterprises, asset management has grown piecemeal, and local databases or siloed EAM applications don’t make it easy to get a complete view. Transparency into the global asset pool is an essential tool for managing availability and ensuring optimal use.
- Compliance: Regulatory scrutiny coupled with mandates connected with global warming, the pandemic, and privacy (to name a few) have put asset management solutions front and center when it comes to compliance. Enterprises, for example, have to demonstrate adherence to regulations (for example, compliance with the California Air Resource Board [CARB] mandates) or face fines, customer backlash, or decline in brand reputation. A good EAM solution should make compliance much easier and, by reducing the need for audits, save the company money.
- Efficiency: Managing enterprise assets is, for many companies in many sectors, still a manual task. For example, in a manufacturing industry, when a machine breaks down, it’s a long manual process to get the approvals, assign a technician, and solve the issue. By automating a lot of this challenge, a good EAM system can deliver efficiency, reduce the potential for human error, and free up human resources for more valuable tasks.
The fact is that many existing asset management tools are ill-equipped to use today’s technologies. These legacy systems are challenging to integrate with modern day applications and technologies. For example, in the transportation industry, if the asset management solution is not completely integrated with a trip management solution, the enterprise will not capture all the data required, which can lead to a loss in revenues. Many EAM solutions lack uniform data models, which can impact the transformation to a new solution. Also, many legacy-based tools are data intensive, making asset management data difficult to retrieve quickly.
Asset management solutions vary in terms of functionality, but today’s systems can handle end-to-end asset management in a single integrated application platform covering the entire asset management lifecycle, including procurement, operations, maintenance, tracking, and disposal. This functionality can get considerably more granular to manage inventory, parts, work orders, and the supply chain. A good EAM solution can manage predictive and preventive maintenance and track health and safety mandates, which can have a powerful impact on the bottom line. For example, a modern EAM approach can use sensors to remotely and automatically monitor machines and equipment. Those sensors can automatically send the alert to the EAM systems if the machine shows signs that something is amiss. Preventive maintenance can be scheduled to minimize costly downtime and to reduce the need for more costly repairs.
Integrated, Scalable, Customizable
Contemporary EAM solutions focus on two overarching benefits: optimizing processes and lowering costs. These are achieved by virtue of an integrated, customizable architecture. Different industries have different asset management needs, and EAM applications should be easily configured to handle different requirements. Individual modules such as inventory management and asset management are integrated so that the asset data is available where and when required. EAM solutions should be integrated with all relevant existing applications to deliver maximum value. This represents an additional benefit: All the data remains under one roof, which reduces the threat of data loss. Asset managers can now have entire visibility of the assets and planning and scheduling of work can be optimized leading to improvement in margins.
Moreover, the newest EAM solutions make use of today’s state-of-the-art technologies:
- Internet of things: Many assets generate enormous amounts of data through sensors; this IoT data can be automatically and continuously monitored and used for predictive analytics for preventive maintenance.
- Big data & analytics: IoT data is unstructured and raw; it must be processed in order to generate useful insights and information. Big data and analytics are helpful to retrieve useful information from the data and aid decision making.
- Artificial intelligence: AI can give assets the ability to make decisions autonomously for, say, production and maintenance schedules, helping to optimize asset lifecycle management.
- Augmented reality: Allocating resources for asset maintenance is a pressing issue. By providing maintenance-related content in a virtual, easily accessible way, augmented reality helps optimize maintenance schedules and improves training. This can improve uptime and lower repair costs.
Expanded Suite of Benefits
Today’s enterprise asset management applications are built using Agile methodologies and architectures, so they provide opportunities for continuous improvement and generate even greater benefits for the challenge of asset management:
- Increased asset availability: Greater visibility enables asset managers to track assets more accurately and increase asset availability.
- Predictive and preventive maintenance: Sensor data and IoT technologies can help with the maintenance challenge by predicting potential trouble spots and enabling more preventive maintenance. Increasing asset uptime generates productivity benefits and reduces costs.
- Margin improvement: A modern EAM solution can usually replace legacy systems or piecemeal/manual asset management processes, saving money and time. And because it is scalable, it will serve the needs of growing enterprises without substantial new investments.
- Risk management: Better maintenance translates directly into greater compliance with health and safety standards – and reduced risks. EAM can also make it easier to manage environmental impact.
EAM solutions greatly improve an enterprise’s ability to understand and track assets. Better information leads to better insights and faster decisions, which also improves overall performance.
For enterprises looking to upgrade or evolve their EAM solution, take a good look at how existing systems are working and map the optimal process flow for asset management. Wipro’s approach can help uncover new opportunities, new applications, and the right architecture for today’s state-of-the-art asset management solution.
To know more, click here download our EAM brochure