What is an EAM? Guide To Asset Management

by Jason Cockerham on May 4, 2021
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Whether your team spends most of its time on the road, at a construction site, on the factory floor, or managing buildings, you need your assets to work as hard as you do.  Enterprise asset management (EAM) software is right there with you, helping you implement, optimize, and monitor maintenance schedules with comprehensive work order and inventory management. EAM software delivers real-time information about every asset to help you increase efficiency, maximize uptime, and reduce your total costs of ownership.  

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What is an EAM?

EAM software is a single platform for maintenance leaders to track all information and maintenance activities related to their physical assets across industries, including fleet, construction, and manufacturing.  

With EAM software, business leaders, asset and maintenance managers can:  

  • Track and store detailed information on all assets, including age, lease agreements, location, and recommended maintenance schedules 
  • Schedule preventive maintenance 
  • Manage work orders from ticket submission to close out
  • Track equipment inspections to ensure compliance  
  • Manage parts lists and inventory counts 
  • Keep a record of all employee training 
  • Analyze critical data to make better decisions 

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Enterprise asset management software consolidates data from many sources into one place your team can access from anywhere, ensuring that no matter where you are, you and your team have the most up-to date information on every asset. 

If you aren’t using EAM software yet, here are five good reasons to invest in one. 

Benefits of asset management software

The best EAM software delivers the following benefits.

1. Increased operational efficiency 

Implementing a solid, uniform system for tracking and managing your assets provides the insights you need to identify asset management best practices and achieve specialization for both assets and operations. Let’s say you’re managing a large fleet of vehicles. You can use the fleet management feature of EAM software to run reports that help you determine which makes, models, and types of vehicles require more maintenance than others, which is invaluable information for executives who must make big financial decisions regarding replacement procedures and asset life cycles. 

2. Improved asset reliability and reduced costs

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 costly problems have developed.

EAM software allows you to create standardized maintenance schedules you can easily implement throughout your entire organization. This improves day-to-day asset reliability and extends the useful life of your assets. 

3. Easy access to information

Regardless of your industry, minimizing equipment downtime is a mission-critical objective. Time spent searching through binders of paper reports or disorganized spreadsheets increases downtime and wastes resources. Instant access to full asset data is one of the key features of maintenance software. Mobile functionality allows asset maintenance staff to pull up open work orders and immediately get to work without having to wait around for further instructions or a paper work order. 

Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions put critical asset data at your fingertips anywhere you have Internet access. For large companies in particular, this reduction in administrative workload can have a major impact on the bottom line. Short-cutting the administrative chain of command also reduces communication errors by putting workers in direct contact with the information they need — rather than relying on memos, scribbled notes, ambiguous emails, and other inefficient means of assigning and describing maintenance tasks.

4. Improved collaboration

One of the most common problems our implementation experts encounter is the internal “tug-of-war” over equipment and parts, leaving worksites without the resources they need to function at an optimum level. Enterprise asset management software features asset- and tool-tracking functionality to help eliminate this problem. Using equipment management software, managers can quickly see where tools and equipment are and who has them. This book of record makes it easy to hold workers accountable by cutting down on excuses stemming from equipment downtime or unavailability.

5. The ability to track maintenance KPIs

Asset data can only be actionable if reporting is consistent across sites and entities. Discrepancies between the reporting criteria used by different sites/entities, or at different periods of time, make for distorted assessments of operations and asset performance. 

Enterprise asset management software consolidates all your asset data into one place so you have a single source of truth. 

Having this information holds everyone accountable while empowering them to be proactive.

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Why is asset management software important? 

Your assets are vital to your bottom line, so you need a solution that can help you optimize your operations and improve your ROI. Asset management software delivers the features you need to keep assets up and running. 

Asset management software is important because without it, everything becomes either much harder or completely impossible. Older systems simply cannot keep up with the demands of a modern operation. There are too many moving parts, each moving too quickly, for you to reliably manage them with paper or spreadsheets. Even older desktop EAM systems struggle. Modern solutions make it much easier to capture data and keep it both safe and searchable. 

Consider a simple on-demand work order. A request comes in through the EAM, either through the open request portal or from a tech working their way through a safety or preventive maintenance checklist. From there, the maintenance manager can review the request and generate a work order packed with everything the techs need to work efficiently, including critical asset data, instructions, checklists, associated MRO inventory, and digital copies of all O&M manuals. 

Without leaving the system, the manager can then check all the current tasks to prioritize the new work order, assign it to a tech, and track its progress. The tech gets a notification that they have a new work order, and when they close out, all the related data inside the system is automatically updated, including any inventory counts for the MROs. Nothing slips through the cracks because everything is done inside the same platform, with data moving seamlessly between the members of the maintenance team. The manager has complete visibility at every point in the processes, and visibility leads to accountability. Everyone knows who did what and when they closed out. 

EAM is important because no other system can deliver that level of consistency and reliability. Without it, there are too many places for data to disappear. It’s important because you need it to do your job properly. 

EAM features to look for

The EAM software market is growing fast, predicted to increase from $5.1 billion in 2019 to $8.2 billion by 2024, according to a recent MarketsandMarkets forecast. Several factors are driving this demand, including the desire to maximize operational efficiency and extend the useful life of assets. Considering the growing number of solutions available and the cost of the investment, it’s more important than ever to choose the top EAM software

Here are a few of the most important factors to consider when comparing EAM solutions.

Is it cloud-based software?

On-premises enterprise asset management software is costly to implement, maintain, and update. It requires expensive IT hardware and a dedicated IT team. These solutions are also difficult to scale across an enterprise, as they are bound to a physical location. For facilities managers and maintenance professionals on the move, this is more than just inconvenient; it can be crippling to productivity. 

For these reasons, more organizations are embracing cloud-based EAM software solutions. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions are subscription-based, so your organization pays a monthly fee rather than a large upfront capital investment. And because asset data is stored in geographically dispersed data centers, SaaS EAM solutions are easy for your team to access from anywhere. They are also easier to scale across your organization. 

Does it include a mobile app? 

Your team likely spends a lot of time away from the office, so they need a mobile solution that works for them wherever they are. Look for EAM software that includes a user-friendly mobile app. 

Does it have the reporting capabilities we need?

Having the right information is critical when it comes to making smart decisions about asset management. However, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by data that’s difficult to interpret. It’s even more difficult to present that information to your leadership team when trying to justify new capital investments. 

That’s why your organization should look for EAM software that provides robust data in a format that’s easy to understand. Look for a solution that can provide insight into the following asset maintenance metrics: 

  • Weekly maintenance workloads –  To maximize the efficiency of your team, you need to be able to see historical data on maintenance activities and identify peak times so you can schedule accordingly.
  • Average response times – Knowing how quickly your team is able to respond to maintenance needs also helps you ensure everyone has a balanced workload and no one is overwhelmed or falling behind. 
  • Total cost of ownership – This includes all costs, from initial purchase price, customization costs, preventive maintenance costs, and corrective maintenance. It should also subtract the selling price of the asset at the end of its life.
  • Preventive maintenance completion rate – Tracking your PM completion rate will allow you to know where you can improve, and what’s not getting done.
  • Asset utilization rates – Utilization rates are measured in two ways: per asset and average. Per asset utilization looks at how much a particular asset is being used, usually in terms of hours per day or miles over a month. These individual utilization rates are then compared against your average utilization. Over time, you should seek to increase your average utilization and consider eliminating assets that you don’t utilize very often.

EAM vs CMMS

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While shopping around for an asset maintenance solution, you will likely come across the term computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). Several decades ago, when paper and pen were used to track and manage equipment work orders and maintenance scheduling, the first systems to digitize these processes became known as a CMMS. As the name suggests, these earlier systems were primarily focused on easing maintenance challenges. They became a starting point for companies to leverage data, so they could use these newfound insights to improve their maintenance programs and track costs.

Today, data has become critically important to the success of a business's overall maintenance program. While EAM and CMMS are both highly effective at streamlining work orders and gaining better visibility into inventory management, where you start to see major differences is in the overall asset life cycle capabilities. Whereas CMMS functionality tracks the maintenance and usage of assets currently in play, EAM takes it several steps further by giving full oversight into the end-to-end asset life cycle—providing asset data across multiple job sites, from procurement to disposal, and delivering in-depth reporting and analytics.

Stated simply, if you want the most out of your physical assets, EAM is the solution for you. Asset-heavy organizations experience the greatest return on their EAM investment.

Why invest in EAM software?

In addition to improving your operations, having an accurate, reliable enterprise asset management system sends a strong signal to customers that your company values accountability, consistency, and transparency. When you use EAM maintenance software, you don’t have to rely on idle promises of reliability and consistency. You can easily access data on asset performance, print detailed reports, and provide customers with insight that gives them peace of mind. 

If your organization is serious about improving efficiency, reducing costs, and delivering on your promises to customers, it’s time to invest in a robust EAM system that supports you in these goals. 

ManagerPlus is a scalable enterprise asset maintenance management software that can help you meet your maintenance needs, no matter your size or industry. Our cloud-based solution supports you anywhere, whether you’re in the office or out in the field. And now, they’re faster than ever. Ready for a closer look?New call-to-action

Summary 

EAM software is a single, cloud-based platform that helps you track maintenance activities for physical assets and equipment for fleet, construction, and manufacturing equipment. Without it, it’s impossible to keep track of all the moving parts of a modern operation. Older systems, like paper, spreadsheets, and desktop EAMs simply cannot keep up. EAM is different that CMMS in terms of scope. While CMMS solutions focus on maintenance management, EAM systems help with assets from cradle to grave. When choosing an EAM solution, you should look for a system that’s mobile friendly and lives in the cloud. The easier it is to access, the better it is at capturing reliable data. Also look at feature sets, including reports. Once you have all that data, you can leverage it into cost-cutting business intelligence. 

Jason Cockerham
About the author

Jason Cockerham

Jason is a storyteller at heart with a career spanning everything from film and TV to iPhones. Just don't expect much before his first cup of coffee.

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