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PlantServices.com recently published a 2010 EAM/CMMS review that listed selected vendors based upon 10 key trends occurring in the industry. A recently published article by David Berger discussed how these key trends should be considered when examining the features and functions of EAM/CMMS software. Although not listed as a vendor on this years list, Minteklooks forward to being listed the future year. With that, we would like to add some key points to the article’s 10 key trends.

The top ten trends identified in the article 2010 CMMS/EAM Review: CMMS/EAM software tackles today’s toughest challenges authored by D. Berger were:

Top EAM CMMS Trends

  1. Industry specialization.
    “In the eyes of customers, one of the most important criteria in selecting a CMMS/EAM vendor and its products or services is the perception of how well vendors can demonstrate that they fully understand your business ”
    Source: Berger
    This section has very valid points. It is important to note that rarely will an off the shelf product have the necessary tools to address the specifics of a given industry or application. The selection of a vendor is a process that is best accomplished by determining the company needs in combination with the quality of services offered. Price should not be the driving force for vendor selection. The ability to address the pain of the organization is paramount.
  2. Enterprise thinking.
    “The trend towards more strategic asset management across the enterprise is accompanied by a greater need for integration of various applications, from the shop floor to the executive suite.”
    Source: Berger
    A true Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system enables facility/plant managers to manage assets from the planning stage through retirement thus increasing the useful asset lifecycle by organizing the maintenance function. Since each organization or industry is different, decision makers must realize that a Best of Breed EAM has the capabilities to increase the visibility of asset management. Using an EAM will help standardize operating procedures, stabilize inventory, and enhance the ability of maintenance staff to do more with less time significantly cutting labor costs.
  3. The Web.
    “…many customer IT departments insist on web-enabled software only, due to a long list of advantages ”
    Source: Berger
    Mr. Berger’s description is very good. When moving to a web based system it is important to consider the impact that your EAM will have upon the IT department as well as reliability and security. Options include
    • Internal solution development.
    • SaaS solutions where the software is run on local servers. data storage is this case is normally the responsibility of the facility company. More control by the IT department but also has higher costs associated with additional IT capacity, staffing and support.
    • Hosted solutions, the same software, but hosted by vendor or in combination with an established third party data center. IT costs are incremental, all data is available 24/7/365.
  4. Operational excellence and best practices.
    “With today’s intense global competition and the recent economic downturn, it’s not surprising that companies are fixated on best practices, measurement and the pursuit of operational excellence.”
    Source: Berger
    An excellent reference for operational best practices has been published by the Aberdeen Group.
  5. Sustainability.
    “…on average, manufacturers spend almost four times as much on energy as they do on MRO capital equipment and services.”
    Source: Berger
    Energy consumption and power costs are the hottest trend of all. From government incentives to pending legislation on carbon footprints no company can afford to be behind the curve. Well written section by Mr. Berger.
  6. Risk management.
    “As assets become smarter, computers more complex and humans more dependent on technology, the risk of catastrophic failure increases.”
    Source: Berger
    Safety and liability varies by industry. We agree that you should make sure your EAM can handle the tracking of required information necessary to be complaint with regulations and lower liability.
  7. Mobile technology.
    “In my view, one of the most important emerging trends is the growth of mobile technology.”
    Source: Berger
    Mobile technology is critical in increasing efficiencies and reactive flexibility. In fact, mobilizing employees saves 44 minutes per day per employee. But there are numerous other benefits and considerations for integrating handheld devices making mobile technology no longer an option but a requirement for many companies. A few of these are
    • Understanding the TCO of the selected devices. Although Blackberries, iPod etc. are cute and relatively inexpensive they often lack the durability and reliability of commercial devices such as those found on the Motorola lines. Productivity will stop and expenses skyrocket if the handheld device cannot function after being dropped on cement or gets wet.
    • Handheld devices are fantastic for inspections as they can be set with predetermined questions that must be answered. The data transmitted back will include the results, who checked and be able to retransmit actions.
    • Mobile applications should be able to work in both in connected and disconnected environment. This is important when maintenance staff may be in basements or other locations where signals are blocked.
    • Integrating handheld devices has direct benefits for the corporation as a whole. The training and use of devices increases adoption rates, is very easily learned by employees at all levels (not just young ones) and is a transferable skill.
  8. Condition based maintenance.
    “For many years, there has been a growing interest in reliability as maintenance departments move from a firefighting mentality to a more planned environment. To accomplish this transition, managers must establish for each asset or component a maintenance policy describing on what basis maintenance is triggered.”
    Source: Berger
    Condition based maintenance is and should be highly dependent on the type of facility. If the equipment being maintained is of moderate value or is serviced by outside vendors expensive techniques such as vibration monitoring etc. don’t make a lot of economical sense. On the other hand, if the majority of equipment costs more than a few thousand dollars to replace a different strategy should be used. Regardless of the situation, an EAM will help track the repair history and organize the maintenance workflow so the best decisions can be made. There is an interesting discussion thread on this subject at myfacilitiesnet.com.
  9. Scheduling.
    “Moving to a more planned environment requires better tools for planning, scheduling and coordinating maintenance activities, including major shutdowns.”
    Source: Berger
    One of the biggest advantages a properly implemented EAM has is its ability to capture historical data. This data includes work order, inspection and maintenance history including details such as what, where, who performed work, costs, parts needed.The collection of the historical database does more than just enable better maintenance or replacement forecasting. The data acts a reservoir of knowledge or know-how. Mr. Berger makes mention of the potential issue of aging workers retiring without passing on their knowledge. It is our belief that the procurement of knowledge gathering and transfer tools will be the most important issue over the next ten years.
  10. Pricing.
    “There are almost as many pricing schemes as there are CMMS/EAM packages available. The latest trend in pricing appears to be the recent rise in popularity of software as a service, or SaaS.”
    Source: Berger
    It would be nice if there was a better way one could compare apples and oranges but the truth is price is the value you place on a product that addresses your pain. Hence the key point is to find a product that adds value to your asset management program. Two additional critical price components are training and support. Good training is not free and makes significant difference to the adoption rates of employees. Lower adoption rates means less than anticipated savings. Technical support should be available during your hours of operation. Identify issue escalation procedures as well as the quality of support. After selecting 1-2 vendors that meet your needs, you can then start to consider negotiating pricing. Due to the complexities of software installation, integration, and training there are numerous areas where a software vendor and integrator can potentially reduce costs. Look for an upcoming article on the best ways to negotiate EAM/CMMS pricing soon.

Cause for the trends

Every year new trends surface and others fade. The driving force behind the recent trends is a result of the increased visibility of the maintenance management function as well as a better recognition of the impact that good maintenance management can have on the bottom line of an organization. The result is facility management has taken on a whole new perspective and asset intensive organizations are becoming more sophisticated and professional in their approach to solving the problem.

Tell us how your company is handling the increased visibility of asset management.

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