What is EAM (enterprise asset management)? (2023)

What is EAM (enterprise asset management)? (1)

Enterprise asset management (EAM) incorporates the management and maintenance of physical assets owned by a company throughout the entire lifecycle of an asset, from capital planning, procurement, installation, performance, maintenance, compliance, risk management, through to asset disposal.

EAM softwarehelps organizations to plan, optimize, execute, and track the necessary activities, priorities, skills, materials, tools, and information associated with an asset. Failure to manage and maintain enterprise assets can lead to unplanned downtime, suboptimal asset performance, and supply shortages. Some organizations also rely on EAM systems to demonstrate compliance with regulatory bodies to preclude liability if a failure occurs.

How does an EAM system work?

Although traditional EAM systems were installed on premise, the technology has evolved, with modern systems running in the cloud. Acloud platformprovides a range of benefits including larger data storage capacities, stronger security, and easier integration with complementary applications such assupply chain management systems, mobile workforce management systems,Internet of Things(IoT) sensor systems, GIS (geographic information systems), GPS, and other applications.

What is EAM (enterprise asset management)? (2)

The main steps in enterprise asset management

  1. Collect and store asset data in the cloud
    Leveragethe agility of the cloud to collect and track asset information in a centralized data repository. Use powerful analytics and extract detailed insights to understand how assets are performing and where attention is needed.
  2. Use the data to guide asset strategy and optimize productivity
    Assess risk and identify potential equipment failures before they can happen usingmachine learning,digital twintechnology, andpredictive analytics. Identify and carry out maintenance requirements in advance so that asset availability is maximized.
  3. Proactively schedule inspections and maintenance work
    Use integrated processes and data to plan, schedule, and execute maintenance work and inspections. Prioritize critical assets to minimize downtime. Detect, report, and resolve issues quickly.
  4. Extend EAM system capabilities to assets and workers in the field
    Manage work orders and asset processes online or offline, with rich visualizations and location services. Integrate GIS data to provide a map-based user experience for remote workers and assets. Track and manage maintenance processes, data, and work orders from anywhere.

Benefits of EAM systems

With an EAM system, companies can centralize all their asset information in one place, making it easier to monitor and optimize the assets and proactively inspect and maintain them. Planning and scheduling of tasks and workers is streamlined and automated, leading to increased productivity, while also safeguarding both workers and the environment.Key benefits include:

  1. Integrated data stores
    Acentralized view of the operation incorporates data from all types of assets, regardless of source or location.This single blueprintcan be usedto coherentlymonitor asset performance,plan for inspection and maintenance work,andminimizedisruptions toproductivity.
  2. Real-time decision-making
    Time-consuming, paper-based reporting and staleorinaccurate informationis replaced with real-time data.Predictive analyticssupport proactivemaintenanceand repairs,with the necessary work automatically scheduled.Critical assets can be prioritizedto optimize productivity, andresiliencyis augmented whenresponding toormanaging emergencies and unexpected scenarios.
  3. End-to-end lifecycle management
    The entire lifecycle of an asset is managed. Data from assets can be integrated with maintenance processes topredict and visualize assetstatus andbehaviorfrom cradle to grave.Performance benchmarksare clearly defined, highlighting whenimmediate attention is needed forequipment that is underperforming.
  4. Improved environmental, health, and safety measures
    Potential outcomes can be identifiedproactivelyand action can be takenbefore an asset failure causesworker injuries and accidents. Spills, fires, and other harmful outcomes are avoided, safeguarding the environment.Carbon footprintsarereducedby running equipment optimally andminimizingresources used in maintenance cyclessuch as truck rollsand other heavy equipment.Compliance with regulatory bodiescan be easily provento preclude liability.

The evolution of EAM

Traditionally,asset management systems weredeployed on premise, with a different management system required for each type of asset.These systems operated individually, generating data that was siloed and making it impossible for anorganization to render a cohesive view of its entire operation.

Instead, the business reliedon workers in the back office, on the floor, and in the fieldto provide oversight andtoreport on the condition ofeachasset. Due to the manual nature of this work, paper-driven processes were the norm, resultinginstale and inaccurate data.

Without real-time data, it was impossible to predict and service assets proactively. As a result, maintenance and repaireffortswere reactive, leading to equipment malfunctions, operational disruptions, and lowered productivity.

Today, EAM technology istypicallyhosted in the cloud,collectingdata from disparate assetsand systemsinreal time.Newand complementary technologies and toolshave paved the way for greater efficiency andeffectiveness. For example:

  • Artificial intelligence(AI) algorithms and machine learning:Providereal-time intelligence andinnovation
  • Supply chain management systems:Correlate asset performance with supply chain logistics and productivity
  • Location tracking:Leverages map-based logistics, including GIS, GPS, and others, for the location of an asset
  • Imaging technology:Supports linear asset management and visual inspection requirements, including drones, satellites, LiDAR, and others
  • IoT asset sensors:Collects and transmits real-time data from assets

What is EAM (enterprise asset management)? (4)

What is the difference between EAM and CMMS?

Acomputerized maintenance management system (CMMS)consists of maintenance and operational functions that focus predominantly on themanagement of asset uptime. Decision-making is insular and limited to the maintenance and operations personnel that use these systems. A CMMS allows asset-intensive industries to focus on driving asset uptime.

An EAM system is designed to address thetotallifecycle management of an asset, from capital planning, procurement, installation, performance, maintenance, compliance, risk management, through to asset disposal. Along with maintenance and operations, users include finance, production, compliance, and other business stakeholders. With such a broad base of capabilities, decision-making extends beyond the maintenance and operations teams to include senior leadership and C-suite personnel. An EAM system allows asset-intensive industries to manage the lifecycle of an asset in its entirety.

EAM examples in business sectors

EAM solutions areused most predominantly in the business sectors listed below. According to MPI, a more predictive and intelligent approach to asset management is invaluable to the future of these sectors and driving results such as: 

  • Oil and gas:These global organizations must manage assets located in plants, refineries, and field sites across a range of areas – from heavily populated urban neighborhoods to extremely remote sites. Oil and gas companies use EAM processes that incorporate sensor data, IoT, edge computing, and advanced analytics to acquire, install, and manage their assets.
  • Railways:In the midst of a technology evolution, the railway industry is shifting from legacy systems to digital EAM solutions. With a dedicated analytical platform for asset data management, analysis, visualization, and decision-making, rail operators can manage the entire lifecycle of assets, achieving higher mechanical efficiency, asset availability, and lower maintenance costs.
  • Utilities:With a mix of fixed and linear assets, utilities must ensure employees and equipment are safeguarded while serving their local communities. Assets are located across plants, power stations, and in rugged and remote outdoor locations. EAM supports the industry’s reliability-centered maintenance model by providing benchmarking capabilities, continuous documentation and data management, and collaboration on planned and operational asset performance.
  • Industrial machinery and components:The manufacturing industry is becoming increasingly competitive with more companies jockeying for the same customer base. With EAM, these businesses can get to market faster, operate more efficiently, provide better service to customers, and potentially become part of the “as-a-service” economy.
  • Midmarket businesses:Resiliency and agility are foundational to the success of midsize businesses. EAM helps these organizations pivot quickly, creating greater efficiencies in equipment maintenance, increased equipment utilization, and improved spare parts turnover, while lowering local labor costs and total inventory.

Examples of EAM in action: Success stories

EAM has been implemented by customers across a range of business sectors and industries. Use cases include:

  • Production asset management in manufacturing, warehouse, and assembly, for example
  • Linear asset managementin roads, rails, pipelines, and electricity transmission lines
  • Mobile workforce managementwhere workers in the field can consume and share asset information while performing inspections and carrying out other tasks

Here are a fewexamples showing how EAM drives improved business results:

  • Eurasian Resources Group (ERG)uses EAM to ensure its plantequipmentoffers consistentlyhigh performance and availability during themining andproduction ofnatural resources.
  • SBB CFF FFS, a Swiss railway company, uses EAM to integrate reliability-centered maintenance processes to optimize asset availability and reduce maintenance costs.

What is EAM (enterprise asset management)? (5)

Prolong the lifetime of physical assets

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Enterprise asset management FAQs

Although traditionally EAM systems weredeployed on premise, today most applications are deployed in the cloud, with smaller and mid-sized businesses using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model to accommodate a more moderate-sized operation.

Data froma range ofcomplementary systemscan be integrated within EAM in real time. This rich data repository supports powerful predictive analytics and business insights so that assets can be managed proactively.

With a holistic view of the entire operation,greater efficiencies can be achieved with enterprise asset management software. For example, inspection and maintenance crews in the field can attend all assets in need of attention on a single run, resulting in fewer truck rolls. With proactive maintenance, assets will run optimally, using less power and reducing carbon footprints and other environmental impacts.

Organizations can be held responsible for damages that may occur due to equipment failure. For example, some public utility companies have been found liable for loss of life and property damage due to equipment malfunctions and overlooked inspections. These scenarios include environmental disasters such as wildfires and natural gas explosions.

CMMSfocuses specifically on driving asset uptime and would be used predominantly by operations staff responsible for this single output. Organizations that want to manage the entire asset lifecycle, from cradle to grave, will use an EAM system.

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