By Jay Palter | July 27, 2023
What is enterprise asset management?
Enterprise asset management (EAM) is the practice of optimizing asset utilization and maintaining an asset’s condition throughout its lifecycle in your organization. The goals of EAM are to boost productivity, reduce operating expenses, and increase asset availability.
Enterprise asset management systems exist to support those goals. These systems take various forms but commonly consist of integrated software, storage systems, and dedicated services to maintain stored assets and equipment.
EAM encompasses a range of essential functions, including operations management, asset maintenance, scheduling, supply chain management, procurement, and environmental, health, and safety (EHS) initiatives.
Why do we need enterprise asset management?
Enterprise asset management enables organizations to track, evaluate, and control their assets. They can also optimize the workflows within which they’re used for quality and reliability. In today's business world, organizations across many industries possess various asset types, ranging from major infrastructure, like railroads, pipelines, and manufacturing equipment, to equipment like fleet vehicles, laptops, augmented reality (AR) headsets, and other vital mobile technology.
Adopting EAM practices gives asset and equipment managers better control over complex workflows and working conditions. Following reliable EAM best practices can give you the following:
What do enterprise asset management systems do?
No two organizations have the same EAM operational needs. That is why modern EAM systems support many core functions that you can adapt for local needs.
EAM systems streamline task management by centralizing planned tasks and project work using automated asset reservation calendars. They also efficiently log and facilitate real-time transactions for ad hoc work. The system records every step, from asset intake to daily usage, returns, and end of asset lifecycle management disposition.
EAM systems help you leverage advanced analytics tools to generate meaningful operational insights. And then they can automate many planning, scheduling, and work management processes based on those analyses.
EAM systems support predictive maintenance and preventative maintenance through comprehensive data collection on stored assets, fault code logging, and usage tracking. They also monitor asset performance and support unplanned maintenance and can even be used to remove faulty equipment from circulation. A smart locker used as part of an EAM system can lock down known-faulty devices in a specially-designated maintenance locker and only allow service technicians to remove it.
They also help you visualize asset reservations and preventive maintenance schedules in an easy-to-use calendar.
Health and safety
EAM systems thoroughly document and report license and certification expirations and health and safety concerns to ensure a secure work environment. They mitigate risks by utilizing incident analysis, maintain traceability over entire workflows within which assets and equipment are used, and implement effective process management.
What industries benefit from enterprise asset management?
That set of EAM functionality makes enterprise asset management systems well-suited to support organizations in various public and private sectors.
Energy and utilities
Electric power transmission and distribution entities must manage major assets like pipelines and powerlines. They also manage vehicles, sensitive equipment, and keys to access their secure assets. In North America, all of these functions are regulated by NERC.
Manufacturing is an entire set of business sectors, including automotive, aerospace, defense, electronics, light and heavy industry, and consumer product manufacturing. But one thing all of those facilities have in common is a need to manage assets large and small. EAM systems are vital in process management methodologies like Lean Six Sigma.
Police departments, correctional facilities, and other law enforcement entities might not be the first types of organizations you think benefit from EAM. Still, given the large number of facilities and equipment that administrators must manage and the tight scrutiny under which law enforcement budgets are placed, it makes a great deal of sense. Enterprise asset management systems offer comprehensive solutions for tracking, maintaining, and optimizing critical resources, including patrol vehicles, firearms, communication equipment, body cameras, and more.
Transportation and fleet management
In transportation and fleet management, the primary focus of EAM is providing detailed information about vehicles, maintenance equipment, toolkits, and parts inventories. The goal of fleet EAM is to support vehicle service and logistical functions. Crucial EAM data includes fault codes and service needs, driver mileage logs, spare parts, and maintenance schedules. EAM systems can prompt drivers and technicians for this information when they sign out or return vehicle keys or toolkits.
Learn More: See the evolution of fleet management solutions
EAM solutions in the healthcare sector help you ensure equipment readiness. If medical devices are not findable and in known working order, they can have a life-or-death impact on patients. Healthcare asset management systems are designed to track and locate critical assets, monitor equipment and facility conditions, meet reporting requirements, and integrate with operational and access control information systems.
What are smart management systems?
These electronic systems automate asset transactions, collect data on stored equipment and keys to support reporting and analytics, and securely store assets when not used. Assets are secured using one or more access control methods, such as PIN codes, swipe cards, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tokens, or biometrics like iris eye scans, fingerprint scans, or facial recognition. Smart management systems are primarily utilized by organizations that prioritize extensive insight and control over their assets, equipment, and high-value asset keys over the entire equipment lifecycle.
Administrators can customize their asset signout and return processes. For instance, a return checklist can prompt system users to log maintenance issues or complete quality control updates before the smart EAM system accepts the asset for return.
Why use smart key and asset management systems?
These platforms support and improve EAM practices in many ways.
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