Enterprise Asset Management - Key to enhanced Asset Reliability, Safety and Efficiency

By Niranjan Ajgaonkar, Enterprise Asset Management and Manufacturing Industry Specialist, Hexaware Tech

An asset may mean different things to different departments in an organization. Asset Lifecycle Management (ALM) provides an integrated view of an asset from 3 broad perspectives: financial, operational and maintenance. Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) is the management of asset maintenance and its integration with other functions in the organization. It is applicable to tangible, physical assets owned by an organization as well as third-party assets which the organization is responsible to maintain. An effective and efficient EAM system is especially critical for asset-intensive industries and maintenance service providers. It is the key to adoption of Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), the optimum maintenance strategy mix, consisting of a fine balance between the following maintenance practices:

•Reactive Maintenance consists of a Run to Failure (RTF) approach that is appropriate for small components, non-critical equipment, redundant machinery and assets whose failure does not have significant effect on the output or safety of the system. It can be tracked in EAM based on manually or automatically generated work requests and work orders.

•Preventive Maintenance preempts failures by replacing/servicing components through scheduled maintenance activities. It is appropriate for components likely to wear out and assets with known failure patterns. It can be tracked in EAM based on maintenance schedules that generate planned work orders based on calendar dates, day interval rules and usage-based rules. 

•Predictive Maintenance consists of proactive maintenance based on monitoring of condition and performance of assets. It is appropriate for components not subject to wear, machines known to have random failures, assets subject to non-standard operating conditions, and equipment prone to infant mortality or failures induced by preventive maintenance. It can be set upthrough real-time monitoring (through sensors and M2M platforms), analytics and integration with the EAM system for proactive maintenance requests based on pre-defined thresholds.

More maintenance activities being covered under predictive maintenance is not necessarily an indicator of better practices. An efficient and effective maintenance strategy consists of the best combination of the three maintenance practices, in such a way that asset lifecycle cost, risk (i.e. probability of failure X consequence of failure) and Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)are minimized and Mean Time between Failures (MTBF) and energy efficiency are maximized. An EAM system assists in development and continuous improvement of the maintenance strategy through components such as a single asset repository, standard maintenance routings, maintenance scheduling, maintenance workbench, work orders management, and maintenance costing.

Following are some of the recent trends in ALM and how an EAM system can keep up to them:

• Emphasis on life extension of aging assets: EAM provides comprehensive information to enable informed repair/replace decisions and facilitates capitalization of relevant maintenance costs.

• Increasing complexity of machinery and equipment: With Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) focusing on differentiating their products through enhanced usability and increased automation, assets are becoming increasingly complex. Their maintainability can be improved through EAM by standardization of maintenance processes and efficient utilization of maintenance resources.

•Growing importance of asset tracking: With reduction in sensor costs and improved availability of economically viabletrack-and-trace solutions for movable assets, operational and maintenance aspects of asset management can be effectively integrated through EAM.

•Maintenance outsourcing: With increase in outsourcing of routine maintenance activities and accelerated emergence of 3rd party maintenance service providers, EAM provides an ideal platform for both asset users as well as service providers to track maintenance management, work order billing and service request management.

•ISO 55000 Asset Management framework and ISO 31000 Risk Management framework: An EAM system facilitates effective implementation of these standards. They provide guidelines and best practices for asset management based on continuous improvement through the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. 

•Continuous improvement in maintenance strategy: EAM provides the base for implementation of techniques such as age exploration (i.e. determining the difference between perceived and intrinsic design life), Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA), and Root Cause Analysis (RCA). 

•Predictive maintenance through Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics: IoT can be leveraged for monitoring of condition and performance of assets. Asset failure models can be developed through predictive and prescriptive analytics on the values of the monitored parameters.

•Mobility solutions: With increased proliferation of low-cost offline mobile solutions for work management, EAM enables cost-effective tracking and routing of maintenance for remote and movable assets in the field.

•Availability of cloud-based EAM solutions: This has reduced the high deployment costs usually associated with EAM implementations.

In today’s cost-conscious environment, business enablement areas such as asset management are under considerable pressure to reduce operating costs. At the same time, there is heavy emphasis on protection of social reputation and compliance to regulatory requirements as well as environmental norms. Continuous evolution of predictive maintenance checks and preventive maintenance practices through EAM results into improvement in reliability, safety and efficiency of assets. This can effectively contribute to improvement in the triple bottom line - economic, environmental and social. 

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