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What is Engineering Asset Management (EAM)?

by Jonathan Davis on December 28, 2021
 
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Engineering asset management (EAM) is a multidisciplinary combination of physical asset management, financial considerations, and information technologies. 

But to fully understand that definition, it helps to have solid, working definitions of engineering assets, financial assets, EAM platforms, and the differences between capability and financial values. 

Before looking at how organizations manage them, it's important to first understand what they are. Because there are so many different types of assets, it pays to be precise. 

What is an engineering asset? 

The most basic definition of an asset has three related parts. There is a physical object, a legal entity, and a value. The definition also covers the relationships between these parts. The legal entity, either a person or company, attributes a value to the physical object. 

We can start building our understanding from there. 

Locations in organizations

One way to understand engineering assets is by looking at their relative position to other types of assets inside an organization. So, you can think of them as forming the base of a pyramid, with various financial assets positioned above them. Basically, engineering assets are the physical machines, equipment, and facilities that allow an organization to create financial assets such as shares, derivatives, options, other, more exotic, securities. 

Types of values 

Another way to understand engineering assets is by looking at the types of value they deliver. So, there is "capability" value, which is where most people focus. It's the assets capacity to perform a specific task. In manufacturing, it could be the output. For example, how many perfect tin cans does the equipment produce within a set amount of time. Or, for a fleet, it could be the likelihood a truck arrives on time with a delivery. 

The other type of value is financial. Here, you are using monetary units to determine value. It could be dollars, yen, or any other standardized monetary unit. Although engineering asset management tends to focus on the first type of value, financial value is also important. For example, by looking at costs for initial investment, ongoing maintenance, decommissioning, and installing a replacement, you can decide when to retire an asset. 

Armed with a working definition of engineering assets, we can look at the definition of engineering asset management. But first, there are two quick points of possible confusion to clear up. 

When is asset management not asset management? 

When the assets are purely financial, assent management is not asset management. Or put less poetically, engineering asset management is not the same as financial assent management. Physical assets require hands-on maintenance. Financial assets are often just ones and zeros living on hard drives. 

And when is EAM not EAM? 

You can use EAM as an initialism for engineering asset management in the same way you can call the Central Intelligence Agency the CIA. But EAM is also a closely related software solution that organizations use to get the most value from their assets. Enterprise asset management software is also EAM. 

What is engineering asset management (EAM)? 

EAM is a multidisciplinary combination of physical asset management, financial considerations, and information technologies. 

You start with basic asset management, which is how an organization maximizes its investments in assets, equipment, and facilities. If a company buys equipment that produces tin cans, asset management is the combination of processes and policies the company uses to get the largest number of perfect tin cans with the smallest amounts of time and money. From there, you add financial factors, as well as platforms that facilitate data capture for critical business intelligence. Those three elements together are EAM. 

Remember, the information technology is often enterprise asset management software. So, EAM the software is a part of EAM the asset management process. 

Next steps

To find out how EAM software can support your goals, schedule a demo of ManagerPlus Lightning today. 

Summary 

Defining engineering asset management requires a solid understanding of the interconnected parts. An asset is a physical object that a legal entity assigns value. So, it can be a press that an organization owns and assigns a value. If you arranged an organization's assets into a pyramid, the engineering assets would sit at the bottom, where they help the organization create financial assets such as shares and derivatives. Another way to understand engineering assets is through the types of values they deliver, capacity and financial. So, an organization can look at a machine in terms of what it can produce. But it can also look at it in terms of what it costs to buy. Engineering asset management is a multidisciplinary combination of physical asset management, financial considerations, and information technologies. Those technologies include enterprise asset management software, which engineering asset managers use to collect critical data on their assets, schedule and track maintenance programs, and control labor and inventory. 

Jonathan Davis
About the author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.

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