Many asset managers adopt enterprise asset management (EAM) software because they need more than just maintenance scheduling. They need a comprehensive approach to data and business. With EAM, managers can increase overall efficiency and profitability across departments.
Yet all too often, EAM users fail to get the most out of their systems.
There are a number of reasons, including personnel changes, low engagement from maintenance teams, and lack of support from the EAM provider. Regardless of the reason, the results are the same: wasted time, hampered growth, and lowered profits.
The best way to avoid these missed opportunities is to start your EAM journey methodically. In other words, a little preparation delivers a lot of EAM software success.
New users can dive into EAM software with the following best practices. Even those who have already used an EAM system can benefit from taking a fresh-start approach, especially when switching to a new or upgraded platform.
1. Standardize your asset data
To get the most out of your EAM software, think about how you’ll input your data—including asset identification basics and maintenance histories. Aim for a standardized approach.
Keep in mind the familiar “garbage in, garbage out” concept. If your data inputs are somewhat messy and lack standard terminology or structure, they won’t produce the clean data analysis you want from of your EAM platform.
For example, in data analysis, “vehicle” and “truck” are not equal. Neither are “air conditioning unit” and “HVAC.”
If your data entry is inconsistent, your data analysis will be incomplete at best. As a result, your business decisions will not reflect the reality of your asset activities.
That’s why data standardization is so important. Begin by thinking through the words, numbers, or images you need to identify assets and track actions.
Consider your asset categories and create standard terminology that you can commit to using. You’ll also want to decide what you will call each individual asset in the EAM system, such as “2021 John Deere Backhoe Loader” or “Air Pillow Machine.” In some cases, the manufacturer’s model name is all you need.
Your numbers represent quantitative data, so be sure it's clear what each value represents. Consider maintenance inputs such as tire pressure or basic asset information such as serial numbers.
A modern EAM system will have fields for including photos of assets to help you and your teams identify each item. If you don’t have those images already at your fingertips, think through an incremental approach to collecting them as you roll out your EAM platform. Your own asset photos captured on a smartphone are usually enough.
Make sure that everyone in the organization knows which words and numbers to enter for every category. When the content and formatting is consistent, your can easily search the data and create actionable reports that support informed decision-making.
If you use the pre-existing asset category templates provided within your EAM system, you’ll still need to make decisions about data entry.
How will you categorize your assets?
As you review your asset inventory, keep these points in mind:
Choose a format for every data point. Stay consistent as you add new data points, including spelling and the manufacturers' names for your assets.
Be thorough. Ensure that every type of asset you carry has a standardized name and format.
Establish a clear data entry policy. Ensure everyone understands your standardization. Make use of the drop-down menus and autofill capabilities in your EAM when possible.
Designate a champion. Consider putting someone in charge of creating your standardized nomenclature and communicating it to your teams.
Expect future revisions. Prepare in advance for the inevitability of changes to your naming structure.
What asset IDs will you use?
Consider the best way to standardize your asset identification data points in the following areas:
Bar code or QR code identifier
Location (for fixed assets)
What failure codes are best for inspections?
Your equipment inspections and Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) must be a complete end-to-end process that closes the loop on inspections and corrective maintenance actions. You’ll need standard failure codes so you can potentially do a root-cause analysis when you see patterns and trends in the data.
Implementing failure codes for your most common problems is a good start, but if you stop there, you end up with incomplete data. If you're using a small number of maintenance failure codes, you'll only get a superficial map of your maintenance landscape because each category will represent many failures. Narrow your failure code categories by asking yourself:
What are the observed signs of the failure?
What variables led to the failure?
What's the root cause of the failure?
How are the failures successfully fixed?
Once you have good data standardization practices in place, you’re ready to begin the next step of importing data into your EAM.
2. Organize your data importing strategy
The power of EAM software is that everything you need resides in one system as a single, reliable source of truth—from work orders and inspections to inventory and business intelligence. But first you have to get all of your data there.
Ideally, your EAM software provider will help you import your data during the onboarding process, according to your specific needs. Most asset-intensive organizations understand the value of cloud-based solutions, which makes collaboration with your provider a breeze.
EAM experts should be able to provide practical advice or take over the data-import process for you. Your goal is to create a smooth process with few errors and little disruptions to your daily business demands.
Once you've completed the transfer, review all of your asset data and begin fine-tuning your captured data. Allow enough time for the review and any fixes you might need along the way.
3. Configure your EAM dashboards
An essential component of any EAM software platform is the dashboard. Customized dashboards provide a home base for visual representations of your asset data, including multiple points of view. As patterns and trends emerge, you can quickly identify them and make better business decisions.
The EAM dashboards are also where you’ll perform a wide range of daily activities, including viewing the work order statuses and inspection results.
Here are two of the most common dashboards new users typically use:
Work order dashboard. Provides a status report of all active work requests, including those waiting to be processed. This dashboard summary should also include priority status and mean time to repair.
Preventive maintenance dashboard. Review your ratio of corrective-to-preventive maintenance as a trend over time. While the ideal percentage is 20% corrective and 80% preventive maintenance, most organizations use that metric as an aspirational goal.
4. Schedule your maintenance tasks
One of the bread-and-butter capabilities of EAM software is its maintenance scheduling. Preventive maintenance can be automatically scheduled so nothing falls through the cracks.
The right system is flexible and allows for last-minute adjustments, such as when technicians are out sick or high-priority work orders rise to the surface. It makes it easy and fast thanks to the advanced tools, such as drag-and-drop functionality.
Your schedule should include:
Preventive maintenance. You can program preventive maintenance based on time (such as weekly), use (such as miles on the road or production cycles), or other triggers (such as condition).
Inspections. Your EAM ensures you stay on track for monitoring the health of your assets and staying in compliance with manufacturer warranty requirements and regulatory standards. Remember that some regulations call for steep financial penalties if you fail to keep up your inspection schedule.
Work order requests. Unplanned maintenance can crop up at the worst time. Your should be able to use the EAM to drag-and-drop tasks to reorder and reprioritize maintenance as needed so your most critical assets get the attention they deserve
Next up on your EAM journey is planning ahead for new growth. EAM software is your best tool for making smart business decisions based on real-world data.
5. Set your growth trajectory
The capabilities of EAM software lead to one essential bottom-line outcome: improved profitability. However, the level of success depends on setting your growth projections, establishing key performance indicators (KPIs), and tracking metrics.
Knowing how you want to grow allows you to set measurable goals that define what you want to improve and by how much. The right EAM provides you with critical KPIs, built to tie your data to your dollars.
To set up your operation to maximize your profitability, consider your answers to the following questions.
What does success look for your organization?
To answer this, you need to know how you want your organization to grow. When setting KPIs, be sure to add quantified measures, such as “reduce this metric by 10% in 12 months.” Goal examples include:
Reducing reactive maintenance
Reducing mean time to repair
Improving inspection passing rates
Improving profit margins
Consider the productivity metric. You might look not only at the total number of units produced, for example, but also additional data related to productivity.
You might want to find which lines are producing the best quality or demonstrating the fewest hours of downtime. If you can uncover a best practice that results in higher productivity, you can reproduce them across your enterprise.
Also, measure more than just final production. Measuring what you are losing can show you areas to improve. The power of EAM software data analysis is that it helps you see patterns and make smart decisions.
If you’re in an asset-intensive industry, asset performance directly affects the bottom line. Given the tremendous amount of capital you pour into critical resources, the only way to reliably boost profits is to get the greatest amount of productivity out of those resources while minimizing costs.
Few enterprises can leave asset performance to chance or guesswork. There is simply too much at stake.
For a new user, EAM software is a powerful profit-booster, because it aligns with all of the business functions that are related to your assets. Taking a methodical approach with these five steps will ensure you get the most out of your EAM investment.
ManagerPlus Lightning is the cloud-based EAM solution that growing enterprises have come to rely on. Best of all, the EAM experts at ManagerPlus can assist you with onboarding that meets you where you’re at.
Whether you need a short sprint of preparation or a smoother path to start-up, ManagerPlus has the support and know-how to help you dive in and grow your business with EAM as your asset backbone.