Enterprise asset management on an international scale

Integrated software packages manage global assets.

By William Atkinson, Contributing Editor

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Enterprise asset management (EAM) consists of asset management, work order management, and inventory and procurement management of asset management and work order management parts, in an integrated software package. That is, it provides whole life management of an organization's physical assets, from the design, construction, commissioning, operations, and maintenance of a plant, equipment and facilities to the decommissioning or replacement of the plant, equipment, and facilities. One important feature of the software is that it can cover multiple sites from a central database. It is particularly effective in helping organizations shift from a run-to-failure model to whole life planning, lifecycle costing, and planned maintenance.

One benefit of EAM software is that it allows organizations to improve utilization (higher asset productivity), improve performance, reduce capital costs, reduce asset-related operating costs (including maintenance costs), extend asset life, improve the overall visibility of asset performance, and improve overall return on assets. Another benefit is that it is able to retain knowledge that is often lost when current experienced technicians and maintenance staff retire and are replaced by less experienced people.

EAM in action

JBT AeroTech in Orlando, Florida, manufactures and services airport equipment and products, including jetway bridges, tow tractors, ground power units, de-icers, and other ground support equipment.

"We started out as FMC Technologies, which spun off part of the company to create JBT Corporation," says Stephen Tatton, manager, technology and IT for JBT AeroTech. "We then got involved in what we call the Great Experiment to start a maintenance organization. We already built ground support equipment for airlines and airports. We also did some airport engineering work and controls work. So, we decided to start up a maintenance subdivision, JBT Aerotech."

JBT Aerotech currently has 26 fixed-based operations that it takes care of. Most of the locations are in the continental United States, but it has others in Guam and Jamaica. "We also work with a handful of other sites that we go out and remotely do," says Tatton.

As a way to ensure service to customers by offering improved efficiency, the company wanted to find a way to track all of the maintenance work that was being performed and identify the time that was necessary to complete each task. It also wanted to automate the workflow of work orders and procurement documents.

"When we started the maintenance organization, we realized that we needed to find a software to support our needs," says Tatton. "Five to 10 years ago, the one failure of all asset management systems was that none of them had great reporting capabilities. They were great for tracking work, and you could get data out of them, but it was really cumbersome. These days, we manage from data, and the data we enter into the system helps us make better decisions, helps us keep equipment running, and reduces our cost, so we needed software with business intelligence reporting."

Once JBT AeroTech selected its software, it rolled it out to a couple of sites, and then expanded it gradually to all 26 locations. "Some of the training was handled face-to-face or via computer lab," says Tatton. "We also do some WebEx training, as well as a lot of online video training."

The major key to success was establishing the key performance indicators (KPIs) upfront, says Tatton. "You need to define upfront what you need to monitor to run your operations," he says. "Do not underestimate the amount of time that it will take to do this right. Then, build a solid base, and everything else can be stacked on top of this."

It’s important to revisit your KPIs every six months to see if they are still the indicators that you want to keep, if some of them need to be modified, or if there is a new one that needs to be put into place says Tatton. "This helps you to keep current on the growing issues," he says.

EAM has been an unqualified success for JBT AeroTech. "At almost every one of our sites, the uptime of all of our equipment is 99.7%," says Tatton. "We also measure response time to get to a call, since every piece of equipment affects operations one way or another. If it is a baggage system call, our response time is less than one minute. If it is a passenger boarding bridge or some other call, it is less than three minutes."

In the future, as a way to improve service even more, the company is planning to focus more attention on repeat calls. "Once we identify these, we are going to send someone out to conduct a root cause analysis," says Tatton.

Global proliferation

According to a July 2014 report published by MarketsandMarkets, a global market research and consulting firm, the EAM market will grow from $2.48 billion in 2013 to $4.23 billion by 2019.

The report, titled, "Enterprise Asset Management Market by Software Applications (Linear Assets, Non-Linear Assets, Field Service Management, Assets MRO) By Services (Implementation, Managed Services, Training & Support) — Worldwide Forecasts and Analysis (2014-2019)," notes that North America is expected to be the largest market in terms of market size, while Europe and Middle East and Africa (MEA) are expected to experience an increase in market traction during the forecasted period.

The report also notes that some of the benefits that enterprise asset management solutions offer to organizations include higher asset productivity, reduced maintenance costs, and increased visibility of the operations and asset performance. In industries that operate in intrinsically hazardous environments such as oil and gas, metal and mining, organizations have to rely on effective asset management systems that will help augment the value of assets.

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