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How do you know what you are getting when you purchase an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system? Do you know if it will actually give you the functionality and costs savings you need to stay competitive? To avoid having an EAM system become a white elephant that you are held accountable for, this post describes the core competencies of quality EAM systems.

Core Competencies of an EAM

The core competencies of an EAM system can be broken down into two areas, core CMMS functionality and the application of information/reports that affect the entire enterprise. When these two areas are combined, an EAM solution is created.

Core CMMS Functionality

  1. Recording asset information. The system you choose should be able to record asset detail such as location, description, vendor, cost, expected useful life, warranty and/or contract data, serial number as well as historical maintenance information including work request, work orders, inspections, results form work orders and inspections. Essentially your EAM system needs to be the central location of all asset data.
  2. Improve work management. The second core competency of CMMS is its ability to improve work management to either keep MRO proactive or help make MRO proactive. Proactive maintenance management (80% planned work versus 20% reactive work orders) is one sign of a well run maintenance organization. The tools you will want your EAM program to provide include:
    • Automate/computerized making Rounds (walkthroughs) with preset tasks to complete.
    • Be able to perform inspections using handheld devices of designated assets for preset conditions or signs of distress. Inspection results should be able to be transmitted real time to maintenance management for action or the EAM software should have the flexibility to complete a work order on the spot for immediate action.
    • Computerized work requests. Paper based maintenance system have no place in the modern world. Work request should be entered into the EAM system so that they can categorized, prioritized and converted into a work order with ease. System should be able to give a status of work request at any given point in time.
    • Organize and automate work orders. From the conversion of a work request to the completion of the order, work orders should be automated and set up so that results include details of the work performed, parts needed, costs, who did the work and so on. As with a work request, the status of any given work order should be able to be viewed online by management.
    • Scheduling. This includes but is not limited to scheduling rounds, inspections, work orders, vibration, infrared and other preventive maintenance. The EAM system should be flexible enough to be able to quickly scheduled unplanned maintenance.
    • Customization. Each business is unique and no off the shelf or free software can meet the intricacies of asset intensive operations. EAM/CMMS must be able to be customized
  3. Increase maintenance mobility. Most quality EAM/CMMS systems have integrated the use mobile handheld devices into their capabilities. Mobility in a maintenance setting describes the ability to be able to perform maintenance tasks without paper. Maintenance tasks and results can all be accessed from a handheld device reducing the need to continually go to an office location for the same information.

EAM Applications

The goal of an EAM solution is to provide facilities, property and plant management with the capability to manage their assets over the course of the assets entire lifecycle. With this in mind, core EAM functionality expands on the basic CMMS applications by:

  1. Increasing scalability across multiple locations of facilities.
  2. Enabling standardization of operating procedures across multiple facilities or locations. For example, a prison system or hotel chain.
  3. Organizes assets across facilities, enabling maintenance management to know where all their assets are, what condition they are in, their life history including how often work requests were initiated, what work orders were performed, what was done, by whom, how much did it costs and so on, all through the production of management reports.
  4. Enables consolidated document/contract collection. Having all documents and contracts in one location allows for better negotiation of service contracts and issues. For example, management can compare elevator contracts to find a better price or reduce the number of vendors.
  5. Identifying similar bottlenecks across departments or facilities. Maintenance trends can be analyzed.
  6. Enables better decision making on whether to repair, refurbish or replace an asset based upon cost/benefit scenarios.
  7. Enhances capital budget planning by analysis of the same information from above.
  8. Establishing a knowledge database that can be used for training or capture the maintenance knowledge of aging staff. For example, a question about maintaining a boiler from facility A may be answered using the knowledge from Facility B that is stored in the EAM database.
EAM solutions

We wish we could tell you that an EAM system is the answer to all your organizations maintenance and facilities issues, but this is not possible. Every organization is different, has different assets, management styles, objectives and asset ages. Some facilities may have a need for the use of multiple maintenance philosophies and tools or have specialized reporting needs. Regardless of the type of organization, better asset and maintenance management will result from the use of technology and common sense.