All manufacturing businesses need to be as efficient as possible. When processes, systems and equipment are running smoothly, profit margins are maximised and optimum quality is achieved.
Enterprise asset management (EAM) software enables businesses to manage even the most complex range of assets over multiple sites. It allows them to:
- Save money through improved efficiency
- Maintain robust regulatory compliance
- Improve operational efficiency
- Maximise asset & equipment uptime & first-time fix
- Effectively manage supply and demand
- Ensure the highest quality products
EAM software will usually replace paper-based systems, which requires manual entry of data and results in duplication of work, with different processes being managed by different departments. This frequently results in errors, and requires continual checking and auditing.
Proactively maintaining a company’s assets
Keeping track of mobile assets is often a major headache for businesses. The best EAM systems enable exact knowledge of the location of all assets, using GPS data.
Knowing the location of all assets enables:
- More efficient allocation of resources
- Faster response times
- Instantly know where equipment is, when it’s needed
Not only can an EAM system allow users to escalate things quickly, but they can know exactly what’s wrong, what is needed, and how it’s going to be fixed. This ensures that the right technician is called out to fix it, and that they have the right level of expertise according to the complexity of the problem at hand.
The right systems can be used to not just proactively maintain equipment, but other business assets as well. This includes plants, machinery and tools, buildings and infrastructure, stock, and vehicles and distribution.
This aids effective auditing – and therefore ensures the complete safety of everything the business does.
How automation saves time and reduces errors
An EAM solution with a mobile solution embedded removes much of the scope for human error in asset management, by replacing multiple paper-based or spreadsheet systems with a central platform.
The right system automatically optimises maintenance planning, stock location, and asset allocation, across multiple sites and asset types.
Verification processes can be added at any stage, in order to enforce proper processes – for example with configurable forms, and signature verification.
The right solution can:
- Ensure that regulations are followed
- Schedule equipment maintenance
- Generate work orders
- Capture geographical location of assets
- Confirm that all tools and equipment are present, safe and calibrated
Data added to an EAM system should be available immediately to all users – giving valuable extra management information.
Manage the balance between supply and demand
Manufacturing businesses need to produce the optimal supply, in order to meet the demand. Knowing that stock is in the right place at the right time helps inventory management and ‘just in time’ ordering.
This is made easier by having accurate, up to date management information available to the business at all times. The best systems can automatically tell users the demand for different products, and how supply is matching that.
This removes the need to manually contact many different people and data sheets to find out this information. It also helps companies to meet their delivery schedules.
Stringent quality control and assurance
As part of a business’s manufacturing processes, strict quality control and assurance measures are required. The right system can help with this, because if the equipment that’s manufacturing the actual products is properly maintained, then the products being produced will be to a higher quality.
It also helps with production line quality assurance testing, as the solution should be able to highlight when a particular piece of equipment is producing too many errors.
That way, users know when equipment needs to be checked and maintained. Efficiency is improved by speeding up this process.
Robust regulatory compliance
The built-in audit trail in the best EAM systems is critical for businesses where regulatory compliance is essential, such as in the manufacturing industry.
It is also a vital management tool for any business which needs real-time information on its assets and processes.
It’s now possible to add additional automated information into the EAM – for example, the geographical location of assets, using GPS data. This significantly reduces the potential for manual error in data entry and capture.
Asset management software helps to improve processes in a number of critical ways.
- Ensure assets & stock are where they need to be
- Optimise production vs. demand
- Keep all assets maintained in the best condition
- Guarantee an audit trail for all work
- Improve the first-time fix rate
- Reduce repair times & operating expenses
- Increase asset uptime
By optimising the supply of products with the demand for them, manufacturing businesses can minimise stock holding and maximise required output at the right time.
Selecting the right system
There are many asset management solutions available to manufacturing businesses – and IBM Maximo is just one of them. This system is widely acknowledged to be the gold standard in EAM software.
IBM Maximo is Gartner’s independently rated No.1 EAM solution for the past 10 years, and is widely used by bluechip firms. This is because it addresses the entire lifecycle management of an organisation’s physical assets to help them maximize value.
The alternative option – an ERP system – does not do this. Using an ERP system to manage assets may leave an organisation lacking in the areas critical to enterprise asset management: scheduling, workflows, standardization, key performance indicators, best practices, analytics and predictive maintenance.
Remote working with Fingertip
In addition, IBM Maximo has built-in functionality to interface with mobile software, which allows IBM Maximo to be updated directly from the point-of-work, in real time. A major provider of mobile solutions is Peacock Engineering, whose ‘Fingertip’ mobile add-on is one of the most sophisticated and flexible available.
Fingertip can generate work orders from any location, and capture vital data at the point of work, saving businesses valuable time and keeping their system and assets running even more smoothly.
Fingertip can also be used in ATEX and DSEA hazardous environments. It can work entirely offline if required, and updates IBM Maximo as soon as an internet link is restored.