For many businesses, the coronavirus pandemic has created operational challenges that will continue into 2021. However, enterprise asset management (EAM) platforms are helping asset-intensive businesses remain resilient during change so they can stay competitive in the coming year.
Let’s explore the trends shaping enterprise asset management in 2021.
1. Warehouse and distribution center growth
E-commerce has been steadily on the rise for years, but the pandemic has increased online shopping exponentially. Warehouses and distribution centers are responding by expanding their capacity to ensure on-time fulfillment and delivery.
According to a new report byResearch and Markets, the warehousing and storage services market is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate of 10% from 2020 to 2025.
In response to increased demand, these centers are leveraging advanced EAM technology for support. By streamlining repairs and preventive maintenance, they’re realizing more production time, which leads to greater output. And that means more profitability.
But they also need to think ahead to 2021 and their investment in new equipment. An EAM platform can help them plan asset life cycle strategies, for example, by tracking total cost of ownership (TCO) and comparing it to replacement costs.
While 2021 might be a time to hustle on fulfillment, it’s also the right time to plan capital expenditures based on your unique data.
2. Adopting electric vehicles
Sustainability issues will be a growing concern for many organizations in 2021. Fleet maintenance managers with mid-to-large-size fleets might consider adding electric vehicles (EVs) to their asset portfolio.
EVs will be instrumental in satisfying their company’s responsible environmental targets, such as reducing their carbon footprint or increasing their use of renewable energy sources. More than just an environmentally conscious decision, the move to EVs is definitely the way of the future.
“With 88% of the largest fleets planning to purchase EVs in the next 12 months, and over half of fleets predicting to purchase at least one EV by 2021, the momentum towards electrification is clear,” states theElectric Vehicle Report, which measures demand for electric fleet vehicles.
Legislative rules and public concern over carbon emissions are also likely to grow, inspiring industry frontrunners to take the lead. In other words, sustainability is becoming a key competitive differentiator.
And that’s not the only reason why 2021 is a good time to adopt EVs.
Electric cars and trucks promise a lower TCO, in part because of the reduced costs to power the vehicles. Advances in technology now allow EVs to travel farther on a single charge. There’s also more charging infrastructure available across the country, making EVs particularly suitable as fleet vehicles for long- or short-range hauls.
Compared with combustion engines, EVs have fewer moving parts, which means lower maintenance costs. Battery-electric vehicles don’t require, for example, starter motors, fuel injection, or radiators. And fewer mechanical parts means less wear and tear overall.
Transitioning a fleet partially or fully to EVs means maintenance managers will need their EAM platform to quickly deploy new maintenance procedures. Companies looking to make the switch are relying on flexible, customizable enterprise asset management solutions that accommodate both combustion-engine vehicles and EVs in the same system at the same time.
3. Digital inspections
Inspections are a crucial part of safety and maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements. Thanks to an upward trend in all things digital, it’s no surprise that going into 2021, digital tools have become huge time-savers for fleet and equipment inspections.
According to a2020 market report by ReportLinker, the global market for digital inspections is projected to reach $28.9 billion by 2025, “driven by growing willingness among companies to invest in technologies that help improve process and operational efficiency.”
You probably agree that pen-and-paper record-keeping is outdated. Not to mention, paperwork is the source of many frustrating issues from lost inspection reports to inaccurate data to serious delays in corrective-action follow-up. All of that translates into reduced uptime that few businesses can afford.
Making the switch to digital inspections means:
No more paper pile-ups: With inspections integrated into cloud-based EAM software, your compliance documentation is searchable, accessible, reportable, and securely backed up.
Digital sign-offs for increased accountability: Digitization streamlines the close-out steps and ensures compliant documentation with an audit trail for accountability. You’ll never have to squint at a sloppy signature on a safety inspection to see which team member filed a failed inspection and why. Your EAM captures it all.
Real-time updates: With EAM software that supports digital inspections, as soon as an inspection is submitted, it can be accessed anywhere at any time. You’ll always know the status of each asset. Meanwhile, asset availability will improve because assets won’t sit idle waiting for work orders to prompt corrective actions.
4. Mobile capabilities
Mobile technology is vital to many businesses as the workforce becomes more widespread.
For EAM software to effectively boost workplace productivity, it must have mobile capabilities. Mobile tools that are integrated across the enterprise create an ecosystem of communication. That means you and your team can get more done in less time.
A mobile EAM system helps keep employees safe, too. In early 2021 at the very least, teams will want to continue their social distancing practices. With mobile data capture, no one has to trade clipboards or gather in the office.
Remote access lets technicians report activities from the field, the shop floor, the job site, or the road in real time. And asset managers can pull the information they need in real time. Data collection on a smartphone or tablet is simple and accurate with your EAM’s mobile app.
5. Cloud-based EAM solutions
Cloud-based enterprise asset management platforms are accessible for authorized users through a secure Internet connection. Today’s asset managers prefer this “anywhere, anytime” level of access over a traditional, on-premises system for a number of reasons.
Cloud infrastructure means your EAM investment is a smaller monthly operating expense, instead of a large, upfront capital expense.
Your EAM is always up-to-date and never needs to go offline to add a new feature.
Sensitive data is always protected by advanced cloud security.
Cloud platforms can integrate with your enterprise systems to streamline workflows.
You won’t need to hire a dedicated on-premises IT expert to maintain your system.
Best of all, cloud systems are designed to scale up as your business grows. You’ll never be stuck with a legacy system that you’ve outgrown.
6. Agribusiness growth
According to theUnited Nations, the world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion in the next 30 years. Feeding that population is a growing opportunity for agribusiness.
The intersection of technology and agriculture will play a critical role in securing our food supply. From using high-tech grain harvesters to surveying crops with aerial drones, agribusiness is turning to EAM solutions to keep equipment rolling.
The idea of enterprise asset management is relatively new to many farmers, but the technology is definitely finding its way into farming.
UsingEAM software for agribusiness lets modern farmers optimize their processes and maximize returns. After all, tomorrow’s crop production will need to be more efficient and more sustainable to meet demand. Software helps farms maintain their assets and speed up data collection while staying flexible to changing conditions.
7. Rethinking KPIs
Pre-pandemic, everyone’s business goals were focused on profitability. But in 2021, some enterprises will be in recovery mode, fighting to regain lost ground. Either way, asset managers will be rethinking their measures of success.
Gauging organizational key performance indicators (KPIs) is a data-intense undertaking. EAM software with custom reporting features sets the foundation for creating, measuring, and improving on KPIs.
Here are just a few KPIs to consider:
Total cost of ownership (TCO): You may find that some assets cost far more to operate than others. TCO metrics support your decision-making process when considering ongoing repairs versus investment in a new asset, for example.
Ratio of preventive to reactive maintenance: Although this KPI is a simple ratio indicator, it’s often under-utilized. An EAM that provides this ratio on a visual dashboard will help you shift the balance of maintenance toward preventive, which improves your (profitable) uptime.
Mean time to repair (MTTR): This KPI measures the average time needed to troubleshoot and repair an asset. To improve this metric, use your EAM to support your repair teams. They should be able to access digital manuals, your library of standard operating procedures, and maintenance history. Finally, they should be able to use EAM mobile tools to sign off on a work order so the asset can get back to operation sooner.
Good management depends on good measurement
In 2021, it will be more important than ever for organizations to track their asset data and turn it into actionable insights. Enterprise asset management software consolidates information, enabling powerful analytics to support informed company decisions.
The noteworthy trends in EAM include ongoing growth of cloud platforms, a switch to digital inspection modules, and revamping KPIs to fit current business conditions.