Generally, maintenance departments focus on boosting reliability and availability while controlling costs. Success means implementing the most efficient workflows to keep assets and equipment online.
But with asset performance management (APM), the focus widens to also include business goals. And to reach them, the maintenance department implements new technologies to help them collect and combine expertise and data from both across and outside of the organization.
What is asset performance management (APM)?
Asset performance management are the processes, workflows, and technologies that companies use to capture data on their assets, develop the most efficient ways to maintain them, and control how much the company spends and where it spends it. The goal is to bring in as many sources of data and expertise as possible, get as much value from each contribution as possible, and then implement changes to build a culture of continuous improvement that delivers operational excellence.
What are these disparate data sources?
APM incorporates sensor-based data management, predictive algorithms and analytics, applied artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and pattern recognition to streamline operations.
For example, if you are managing a fleet and deciding when to change the oil in your vehicles, you can look at the manufacturer’s recommendation. But where do they get that number? Traditionally, it would be based on their own engineering tests, both mechanical and material, as well as information they had about previous models. But with pattern recognition, you could go much further. Because the average car now has between 30 to 50 onboard computers and 60 to 100 electronic sensors, you could capture specific data, look for patterns related to oil changes and breakdowns, and produce your own best possible recommendations. By finding new sources of data, you can generate better answers.
That covers data from sensors on physical assets. But APM can also use data that’s from the purely digital.
Digital twins are accurate replicas of your assets that live inside the software. Because they’re computer models, you can safely change the parameters to check for possible failure points. Armed with that information, you can compare what you learned from the model with the data you’re capturing from the sensors connected to the physical assets, uncovering new insights into how best to avoid unscheduled downtime. In the same way that a flight simulator gives you an unlimited number of “safe crashes,” digital twins help you learn more about your assets without risking both your budget and everyone’s safety.
What are the benefits of asset performance management?
One way to think about the benefits is to simply make a list of how it can improve maintenance. With APM, you can get more uptime and less unscheduled downtime, all for less money.
But you can also think of the benefits as answers to specific questions that make asset management decisions easier.
For example, for an asset inside your APM program, you know the answers to critical management questions, including:
- What is the overall criticality in terms of the larger operation?
- What are the comprehensive maintenance and repair histories?
- What are the possible effects on the organization if there’s a failure?
- What is the best maintenance strategy to implement for this asset?
- Which steps should the department take right now to prevent failures?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can implement programs and workflows that deliver maximum benefit over longer asset life cycles.
Outside of pure maintenance metrics and KPIs, there are additional benefits, and it’s important to include them because part of the definition of APM is that it focuses on business goals, too. So, APM can also help with on-time shipments, quality KPIs in manufacturing, and safety. The knock-along effects include better revenue and happier customers.
What is asset performance management software?
APM software has two main jobs, capturing and contextualizing data. It basically helps you get data and keep it safe, secure, and accessible. It then helps you turn that data into actionable business intelligence, using a combination of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and plain, old-fashioned number crunching.
Looking at it from a more traditional maintenance perspective, you can think of APM software as helping you decide how and when to implement and track programs for preventive, condition-based, and predictive maintenance.
What are the differences between EAM and APM?
The safest answer here is “Depends who you ask.” And you can even give yourself additional cover by including the fact that it also depends on when you ask them. As the technologies have evolved, there’s been an increase in overlap.
But broadly, you can divide enterprise asset management software (EAM) and asset performance management software by what they support. EAM delivers process support. APM, decision support.
So, APM is sort of like a doctor diagnosing your assets. After running a series of tests, they can tell you how things are going and where things can be improved. Staying with the analogy, APM might tell you to stop smoking, eat healthier, get more exercise, and switch from basketball to something safer for your joints, like swimming.
EAM solutions are there to help you take that advice and make sure you follow it. It’s the meal planner and schedule for workouts. It’s also the tracker that collects all the data on what you managed to accomplish
Outside the analogy, in the real world, APM helps you make critical decisions about how to improve safety, increase asset reliability and availability, boost production, and cut unscheduled downtime. EAM helps you set up and track work orders as part of preventive, condition-based, and predictive maintenance programs.
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Many maintenance departments focus on increasing reliability and availability as efficiently as possible. Asset performance management (APM) has a wider focus and includes business goals as well. Another key difference is that APM brings in data from a wider collection of sources, both internal and external. For example, data streams from asset mounted sensors, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and digital twins. The benefits of APM include not only better maintenance but also better business outcomes across the organization, including revenue and customer satisfaction. Although there is some overlap between APM and EAM software solutions, the differences live in how the software supports asset management. APM supports the decision-making process and can help you determine the best ways to improve safety and boost both reliability and availability. EAM, on the other hand, delivers process support; it’s there to help you implement and track the decisions you made with the APM. So, APM can tell you which maintenance strategy to implement for an asset, but you need EAM to make it happen, track the work and results, and fine-tune the process.