Is Your Maintenance System a Mess?

If you’re relying on dozens of spreadsheets and sticky notes, there’s a better way. Upgrade to an enterprise asset management system.

Written by Bryan Christiansen
Published on Apr. 06, 2022
Is Your Maintenance System a Mess?
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Corporations’ physical assets are vital to their operations. They represent a significant part of the businessboth in ongoing maintenance as well as the vital role they play in product and service delivery.

Yet, most businesses manage these items in a scattershot way. This leads to inefficiencies that prevent the enterprise from reaching its potential. To maximize the return on their assets, companies must centralize asset information, select a strong enterprise asset management (EAM) solution, and revamp their business processes.


Businesses Inefficiently Manage Physical Assets

As businesses grow, they accumulate physical assets, such as machines, equipment, buildings, and vehicles. These items enable product and service delivery.

However, organizations often store resource information in a haphazard way, putting performance, maintenance, and workforce data in autonomous applications. Departments often make the purchases and become responsible for their ongoing care. As a result, device and maintenance information is often stored in spreadsheets, files, and even sticky notes spread across the firm. Business owners lack visibility into where items are and how they are being used and serviced. Data gathering often requires technicians to pull information from a hodgepodge of applications that label information in different ways.

Machinery requires ongoing maintenance to operate as advertised. Without firm control, equipment breaks down and companies experience downtime, which becomes costly. In fact, manufacturing equipment failures are responsible for 42 percent of all plant floor downtime and cost U.S. manufacturers $50 billion annually in lost revenue.

In addition, the older systems rely on legacy processes, which are often based on paper records and manual input. Tracking the growing volume of assets chews up a lot of time, energy, and personnel. Since input relies on human intervention, mistakes are made, and opportunities for improvements are lost.

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Companies Need Modern Maintenance Solutions and Best Practices

Given today’s highly competitive business environment, business owners need to manage their physical assets more effectively. A change that consists of two elements: deploying an EAM and retooling business processes to take advantage of its new features. 

An EAM empowers companies, so they can track and manage their physical assets (machines, equipment, buildings, and vehicles) throughout their life cycles, from procurement to disposal. EAMs collect device information in a central hub and provide employees with tools to manage and control the work environment. They monitor work orders, contracts, asset lifecycle, supply chain, and maintenance. These solutions support planning, and optimize, execute, and track all maintenance activities as well skills, materials, tools, and costs.

Companies need to find the right modern maintenance solution, which needs these features:

  • Integration: Your company already has software in place associated with its assets and replacing all of it is unfeasible. The EAM system must fit seamlessly into your organization.
  • Scalability: The solution should grow with your company. 
  • Flexibility: The system should be readily accessible, regardless if your employees are in office, on the road, or working at home and using any device: desktops, laptops, and mobile systems.
  • Easy installation: The system should include preconfigured application and integration code as well as metrics that track asset maintenance and lifecycle.
  • Intuitive: These systems are exceedingly complex, but they have to be designed so they mask that trait. Time is money, and businesses want employees using the system ASAP, rather than learning how it operates, ideally in 15 minutes or less.

Business processes have to be revamped to maximize device performance and life expectancy — from procurement to disposal. The new system should offer organizations the ability to automate manual functions. To take advantage of the features, the staff will need to be trained in what the system can do as well as the new ways the business will function.

As the transition occurs, companies will have to keep their old processes running. They’ll still need to support the business as the employees get up to speed with the new systems. Once the work is done, firms will gain needed visibility into their assets, so they manage them proactively rather than reactively.


How to Move From Here to There

Once businesses have established set routines, altering them can be challenging since employees often resist change. Therefore, the first step in the transition is getting top management buy-in for the new way of doing business. Only by having the management endorsing a migration does it have a chance to succeed.

The business owner needs to set realistic objectives. Bringing order to chaos is never simple. Organizations must avoid being too grandiose and setting lofty “boil the ocean” objectives and instead focus on simple, easy-to-measure objectives, such as reducing a robot’s downtime.

The company will need to conduct an audit and determine who has what and where. They must consolidate information, a complex process. Because each system was purchased individually, simple things, such as naming conventions, differ. Ideally, the business will develop standard nomenclature and processes across the organization. They then have to create a central repository that illustrates how the devices are used, and who is responsible for them.

Modern maintenance software has much more functionality, such as automation capabilities. Business owners offload manual input to the application, so business processes need to be revamped.

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Benefits Abound

Once the system and processes are in place, companies gain many advantages:

Benefits of an Upgraded, Modern Enterprise Asset Management System

  • Lengthen product life cycles
  • Reduce downtime
  • Boost productivity
  • Increase revenue
  • Automate workflow

Lengthen product life cycles: Stretch out the lifecycle of your equipment. With better maintenance, devices function longer. 

Reduce downtime: One malfunctioning machine brings an entire product line to a halt. So, get ahead rather than lag behind. Understanding when devices need maintenance or to be upgraded enables companies to avoid unplanned downtime.

Boost productivity: Personnel who now spend a great deal of time pulling information from different systems will be able to focus more attention on business differentiating services and less on routine maintenance once all the different systems are consolidated.

Increase revenue: Equipment is vital to business operations. Companies make more money when their machines are working rather than being serviced or going offline.

Automate workflow: A business’ ability to find new, more efficient ways to work is limited only by their imagination. They offload repetitive manual, error prone tasks to machines and boost worker productivity.

Corporations have typically maintained their physical assets in superficial, inefficient ways. The shortcomings extend to unexpected downtime and lost business opportunities. Adopting an EAM solution enables them to maximize the return on their investments and strengthen the business’ market position.

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