When it comes to tracking maintenance, managing assets and equipment throughout the life cycle, and improving your overall return on investment for everything from labor to parts and materials, it all comes down to one key concept: Data is king. Across asset-intensive industries, from construction and manufacturing to fleet and agriculture, data delivers the visibility and accountability you need to succeed. And none of it is possible with the right enterprise asset management (EAM) solution.   

In today’s business landscape, reliable, accessible data is the new competitive edge, and the right cloud-based EAM packed with wide ranging features is how you get it. 

What is enterprise asset management (EAM) software? 

EAM software is all about helping companies see increased returns and improved productivity from their assets by collecting comprehensive data for a complete picture of how they are performing historically and when the best time is to schedule future maintenance work so that they keep running at full capacity for as long as possible. 

EAM software is all about collecting data and leveraging it to improve your asset operations and to make better business decisions about your assets. You can also use EAM software to help automate error-prone and time-consuming tasks to streamline your maintenance processes. 

Benefits of using EAM software 

The largest benefits from using EAM software stem from the ability to optimize and streamline workflows to eliminate bottlenecks and frustrations, and to use the data you collect to maintain your assets more effectively. 

EAM software helps you: 

  • Track real-time asset performance 
  • Increase operational efficiency 
  • Improve asset reliability and uptime 
  • Centralize critical information 
  • Improve collaboration and communication 
  • Get in-depth cost analysis 

Get instant, actionable data on your assets 

There’s a lot that goes into managing assets, especially when you’ve got multiple high-value assets spread across an entire organization. Asset tracking lets you see exactly how every dollar you put into those assets is spent. From inventory to vendor work to maintenance costs, EAM software helps you calculate your total cost of ownership (TCO) for every asset you have. Once you know your TCO, you can make better decisions about how to continue investing in your assets. 

Help your team work more efficiently 

Maintenance and asset managers often face delays and increased costs due to inefficient workflows. If you’re still relying on paper and spreadsheets to manage the majority of your operations, you’re holding your team back from being able to work at their best. Instead of fighting an uphill battle to improve work order completion rate, time on wrench, and other key maintenance metrics, you can use EAM software to eliminate the bottlenecks and empower your team to do more. 

The best EAM solutions are based in the cloud which means that any data you have in the system is always accessible whenever you need it and updates are reflected in real-time. If a part is pulled for a work order, inventory levels are automatically updated. As soon as a technician closes out a work order, you can immediately assign the next one, eliminating the need to come back to the maintenance office. 

Cloud-based software also means that it’s accessible from anywhere. You don’t have to download anything to your computer or purchase a unique program that only lives on the one computer in the maintenance office. With a mobile-friendly solution like ManagerPlus, you can access the system from any computer, tablet, or smartphone, even if you don’t have an internet connection. If you’re somewhere you don’t have a good signal, you can do what you need to do and everything will update as soon as you get reconnected. 

The mobile-friendly aspect of ManagerPlus extends to its mobile applications as well. With the Operator Companion app, your team can quickly perform inspections from their connected device and mark the asset as pass/fail. If it fails, a technician is automatically notified and can scan the asset’s unique QR code from the Work Companion app to instantly access the work order and any information they need and can closeout all while they’re on site. 

Get more from your assets by improving uptime and reliability 

Arguably the biggest benefit from EAM software is the fact that it’s proven to help you improve your asset uptime and reliability, so your assets work better, longer. This happens by helping you develop and implement a robust preventive maintenance (PM) program to anticipate equipment repairs before they lead to devastating failures. 

Many maintenance teams still rely on reactive maintenance to repair their assets and while it can be more efficient for some assets, in the majority of situations it ends up costing you much more than you might think. 

Consistent, thorough preventive maintenance routines are up to five times more cost-effective than reactive maintenance, due in large part to the fact that PM targets maintenance tasks while they’re small, simple, and relatively cheap to fix, whereas reactive maintenance is only performed after severe, costly problems have developed. 

With EAM software, you can set automated PM maintenance schedules based on predetermined metrics such as time or usage. 

A good example is a work truck. While you might be able to wait until the automatic windows stop working to fix them, using the same strategy for replacing the oil is a bad idea. You know that in order for that truck to run efficiently, it will need an oil change every now and then and with EAM software, you can have a work order automatically generated and sent to a technician whenever that truck travels 5,000 miles, or whatever mileage you determine to be appropriate. 

This same strategy can be applied to every asset in your organization. Using EAM software to keep track of your asset usage and automatically notify and assign techs to make repairs, before things break, will not only save you money, it will improve your asset’s productivity. 

Keep everyone on the same page with centralized information 

The benefits of EAM software all flow from data. The program needs data to help you predict and prevent downtime, track your inventory, and all the other things we’ve talked about so far. The software gathers all that data and stores it in one, centralized, easily accessible place. And that is another benefit in itself. 

With spreadsheets and paperwork and all sorts of other information scattered across your operations, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything going on. Not to mention all the time you waste searching through filing cabinets and your email inbox to find what you’re looking for. Adopting a cloud-based EAM software brings all your data front and center and lets you access it instantly from wherever you are. This comes in especially handy during audit time as you can quickly find your inspection reports to prove you’re in compliance and avoid costly fines. 

Communicate more effectively across your organization 

How often has miscommunication among your team led to incorrect or incomplete work? Your team can’t work together very efficiently if they can’t communicate. One of the main purposes of an EAM platform is to get one source of information – a single source of truth — that everyone can see and access whenever they need. 

Unifying and digitizing your data into one platform also helps eliminate errors from manual data collection and entry. Trying to use spreadsheets to manage your information means that everyone has to update the same file to make sure the data is accurate. The moment it gets emailed out to someone it becomes a copy of the data so any changes they make won’t be reflected in the original. With EAM software everyone is always working from the same source of data. 

The biggest benefit is knowledge retention. For most maintenance teams, the senior techs are the “go-to” folks to ask questions about certain assets when there’s a problem. They are the ones who have been working on that asset the longest, so they know it inside and out. The difficulty is that without EAM software, critical knowledge is all in their heads or on a piece of paper or Word document somewhere. 

If you have EAM software, you can build that knowledge directly into your work order templates so when that senior tech retires or moves on to another company, you’ve got all that valuable knowledge readily available for your junior techs. 

The best EAM platforms also help you allocate your personnel more efficiently. Using a drag-and-drop maintenance calendar allows you to see in advance what work needs to be done and quickly move things around as needed. Instead of technicians vying for the same equipment, you can schedule them out so there are no disruptions. 

Getting your team working from the same platform also helps you communicate with them much more effectively. Instead of having to track them down around the facility or wait for them to come back to the office so you can relay some information, you can send them everything they need right from within the platform. 

Make better business decisions with in-depth cost analysis reports 

Making good business decisions is all about knowing where your money is going and how you can spend it effectively to see the greatest return. This entire process starts with tracking your costs accurately, so you have a complete picture of your financial situation. 

EAM software helps you track your asset’s financial journey through your organization, from the purchase and investment costs to the maintenance expenses incurred over its lifetime. All of this data combines to give you the total cost of ownership (TCO) for your assets. Knowing the TCO is the best way to make sure you’re making the most economical investments. 

Once you have all this data, you can use your EAM platform to generate in-depth reports on exactly how much is being and where. The best solutions will let you customize these reports based on the specific KPIs you want to track whether that’s the TCO for multiple work trucks, or the efficiency of your maintenance team so you can see if you need to make some changes. 

Better inventory management 

Managing your inventory better might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking of ways to improve your asset management, but the truth is that as much as 50% of unplanned asset downtime can be traced back to improperly managed inventory. 

For preventive maintenance to be effective, your technicians need to have the right parts. Knowing when the oil needs to be changed and automatically generating the work order to get it done doesn’t help if you don’t have the right oil or filter that you need. 

The goal is to have the right parts in the right place at the right time, and EAM software helps you do just that. You can customize par levels within the software and track every part as it moves throughout your facilities. When a work order is generated, the software can automatically assign the necessary parts which are then marked as unavailable so even if another tech goes to pull it from the bin for a different work order, it won’t let them scan it out because it’s already been assigned. 

Many maintenance teams seek to avoid running out of parts by ordering in bulk whenever they can get the best price and holding them in the warehouse until they run out. The problem with this strategy is that you’re often holding onto a lot of excess parts that you don’t need. In fact, for most companies, about 90% of MRO inventory goes unused every year. That means you’re wasting money purchasing and storing parts you don’t need. 

With EAM software, you can track your maintenance operations more granularly, so you know exactly what parts you need and what you don’t, and you’ll always know when it’s time to order more. 

Hire and retain good people 

As younger generations are increasingly turning to more technology-focused careers, businesses are finding it difficult to hire young technicians eager to learn. Implementing good EAM software at your organization can help combat this. 

Many people looking to enter the workforce or have done so in the past several years, are well acquainted with technology and tend to appreciate and understand its benefits. When evaluating which company would be a better place for them, it’s not unsurprising that more are choosing companies that have integrated smart technologies across their organization. If they know that your company is using a program that can make them more productive and get the job done better, they are much more likely to sign on with you. 

The same is true for retaining quality talent. If your workers see that you’re willing to invest in tools that can remove many of the mundane frustrations of inefficient workflows, they are more likely to stay on. 

How EAM transforms organizational practices 

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily routine. With EAM software, you have the opportunity to step back and critically examine your organizational practices from a 10,000-foot view. 

Continuous quality improvement calls for close examination of current patterns of activity — such as how quickly priority work orders are addressed or how many preventive maintenance tasks are deferred — and honest comparisons to best practices. The data contained in an EAM platform can surface weak spots that must be addressed. Further, the asset manager can then use the EAM capabilities to deploy new and improved workflows, checklists, or processes and hold technicians accountable for following them. 

No large group meetings are required to enforce an improvement in organizational practices. Just add the appropriate fields or workflows to the EAM interface, and they’ll be available to teams across the enterprise. 

For asset-intensive industries, organizational practices go beyond maintenance  

and extend to dollars-and-cents value propositions. EAM platforms put all the tools required to organize the complete asset portfolio in one place. The quantified, comprehensive data support smart decision-making for investment strategies, growth planning, asset replacement, and asset disposal. 

EAM benefits summary

As industries around the world continue to connect more and more equipment and technology together, you need to be able to quickly discover places in your organization where you can save money and boost output. 

EAM software can help your company quickly optimize its operations to improve ROI on your assets, giving your team the tools to extend the life of your equipment. Not only does this save you money, but it also directly impacts productivity allowing you to quickly boost your bottom line. 

EAM software helps you track real-time asset performance, increasing operational efficiency and improving asset reliability and uptime. With centralized critical information, you can improve collaboration and communication. And because you can now trust your data, you get in-depth cost analysis that drives savings across your budget. 

About the author

Jonathan Davis

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