EAM software selection tips for advanced asset performance management

July 14, 2022
Successful EAM implementation includes integration with ERP and ability to scale with plants over time.

For asset-intensive organizations, maintenance and the cost of capital assets represent a large portion of the balance sheet, and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software is an essential tool to manage these assets. More capable EAM software is becoming a tool for facilitating rigorous maintenance approaches including asset performance management (APM), which lets asset managers and senior executives consider how assets are performing against established corporate goals.

In an APM environment, maintenance-related risks must be considered not only as isolated incidents to be mitigated against and prevented, but in light of their cost in terms of productivity, liability and legal organizational risk. For example, how does an equipment failure affect senior management’s ability to meet or exceed deliverability, margin, or on-time shipment goals?

Selecting software for this APM environment is challenging because maintenance and equipment data, and information on activities that sustain the asset, must be tied to data on the enterprise as a whole. Such an EAM system must be dynamic enough to incorporate a comprehensive risk profile of an asset-driven organization, because senior managers and strategic planners require that C-level visibility in asset readiness and capacity across the entire enterprise.

This article outlines four key criteria to consider when selecting EAM software that supports APM goals.

1. Tight integration with ERP and asset lifecycle/document management

Because APM involves managing assets in light of corporate goals, software used for EAM should be a natural extension of the business system of record where those goals are set and managed. EAM software should function as an actual component of ERP, so asset decisions can be made not just in light of cost, but also:

  • Revenue generated by the asset
  • Commitments made to customers that require assets to be operational at given times or at given levels
  • The degree to which disinvestment in assets may create organizational risk

This comprehensive view of the impact of assets on the business needs to take into consideration not only transactional and revenue data contained in ERP, but the entire cost and revenue profile associated with the asset over its lifecycle. Therefore, your EAM system should follow the requirements of standards such as PAS 55 and ISO 55000 and encompass the entire lifecycle of the asset, from cradle to grave, in one single database.

Various disciplines that support the asset must also be included, such as human resources, supply chain management, production scheduling, manufacturing and more. Embedded document management is critical for this, as it allows organizations to contain previously unstructured data including design drawings, plans and training certifications in one easily accessible database, per industry standards.

2. Robust with high usability

Robust maintenance for asset-intensive organizations is essential. One obvious starting point is EAM core functionality to enable different modes of maintenance, such as root cause analysis with clear "yes or no" answers that allow businesses to determine if a part or component presents a safety or environmental risk, or if there is a lack of redundancy that could result in downtime.

In an advanced program capable of supporting an APM initiative, maintenance functionality needs to be straightforward enough for end users to work out with minimal oversight. It's also key to check the user interface. An application suite with a mobile interface will enable technicians as well as executive users to interact with the system at will using their device of choice.

3. Versatile and agile

In the post-implementation phase, EAM system versatility and agility will be key as the needs of companies evolve and change over time. For one thing, every organization operates uniquely and may even contain several divisions with differing business models. In each division, external parties like contractors may play varying roles in the organization’s underlying software, and must be able to accommodate and adapt to a broad spectrum of business models, internal and external user types, and vertical industries with various asset classes and regulatory requirements.

Also, an EAM system should be able to capture data while equipment is running. The system should encompass data from various sources, including SCADA and other equipment monitoring sensors, and not just through proprietary data formats. Porting data from various sources into the database, which underpins the enterprise application, helps remove silos of information, providing an enterprise-wide view of operational data and saving labor-intensive data entry that also creates a risk of error.

4. High visibility, clear reporting

Success with APM depends on senior management having ready and transparent access to asset portfolio metrics. That means EAM software will ideally include the ability to organize and present operational data to the C-suite in a clear and actionable format.

Ideally, EAM functionality does this through visual representations of what-if scenarios, including the impact on assets from proactive changes as well as reactive internal and external changes. The ability of an EAM software to interface with visualization tools such as Digital Twins of Assets (DTA) and the Digital Twin of the Organization (DTO) will provide an overview of the risks of downtime, environmental impacts and threats to productive capacity.

The potential to realize organizational benefits from an advanced approach to APM adoption will only grow as assets increase in complexity and capability as smarter devices continue to proliferate. Not only will this make real-time asset information more attractive as a tool for decision support. But it will become more apparent how assets play a central role in the ability of an organization to deliver on essential company-wide KPIs. Selecting EAM software with the versatility and features described above will facilitate combining reliability information with corporate performance data so productive assets can be managed in light of not just their cost, but also what they produce, how they affect customer experience and how they contribute to corporate goals.

About the Author: Bas Beemsterboer

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