Business & Finance

Enterprise Asset Management: What is it and Its Purpose?

Enterprises that depend on physical capital assets for production need a centralized monitoring framework. This helps them cut costs and improve performance. EAM is a network of controlled systems and software that oversees the lifecycles of physical assets and infrastructure to improve maintenance efficiency. It can also help organizations reduce unplanned downtime.


What is EAM?

Enterprise asset management (EAM) is a holistic, integrated system that tracks and monitors all assets across an organization. It aims to optimize business operations, increase customer satisfaction and ensure safety. This is accomplished by integrating multiple systems into a single platform where monitoring can occur from start to finish. Gone are the days of segmented, manual workflows that delay work functions and prevent team communication. EAM solutions, such as the SAP data management guide, are typically cloud-based and can be accessed via a web browser or mobile app. They offer a range of features such as predictive maintenance (PdM), asset performance management, work order prioritization, and inventory tracking. Many offer a paperless process, which helps reduce time and cost while improving productivity.

When selecting an EAM solution, consider the specific needs of your business. Look for an EAM system that offers advanced capabilities such as design and specification, maintenance contracting, and operational equipment effectiveness (OEE). Also, determine whether the software supports your monetary goals with an easy-to-use, affordable price point. Choose an EAM system with AI-powered remote monitoring capabilities that detect abnormalities and alert you to impending failure. Ideally, the software will prioritize maintenance requests with a human-first interface. 

EAM’s Purpose

EAM is a central repository for all asset data, allowing data aggregation across departments to support decision-making. This includes day-to-day decisions like repair/replacement or asset prioritization and supporting high-level strategic goals such as delivering operational equipment effectiveness (OEE) and compliance with health, safety, and environmental (HSE) standards. Some operators conflate CMMS programs with EAM solutions, but EAMs are more comprehensive in scope and can centralize business functions and key processes like supply chain management and contract management. EAMs also provide an analytical framework for monitoring performance, helping organizations leap from reactive to predictive maintenance. Typically, EAM solutions are networked Internet of Things devices that can detect abnormal behavior or the lack thereof and alert stakeholders. This is a vital technology component, as it allows for more effective condition-based preventive maintenance.

EAM systems can be used in various industries, but they are especially useful for companies that rely on assets to do their jobs. Construction and manufacturing teams can improve productivity by reducing unplanned downtime. At the same time, oil and gas producers can use an EAM to manage operations from a remote site and increase equipment reliability. 

EAM’s Benefits

Effective EAM software helps departments and teams make data-driven decisions. This improves maintenance and management decisions, transforming them into a business value driver for the organization. Whether it’s increasing productivity, lowering operational costs, or reducing downtime, organizations benefit from using an EAM solution. EAM solutions also help with supply chain and contract management processes. For example, EAM allows users to create work orders, display the status of each one and optimize schedules for employees and contractors. They also support inventory control by monitoring stock levels, predicting demand for materials, and automatically reordering stock when it’s running low. The EAM software industry is diverse, and each solution has unique capabilities that cater to specific industries. For example, some EAM software programs are designed specifically for IT managers, while others are focused on the needs of facilities such as manufacturing and utilities. To choose the best EAM solution, review your organizational needs and determine which features are most important. To do this, start by creating a detailed list of the functions your team needs from the platform and then compare it to the capabilities offered by each solution. 

EAM’s Technology

The best EAM software platforms offer a low-code environment so firms can easily customize them to their unique needs. This allows them to activate more advanced features as they get accustomed to using the platform and ensure their EAM solution will scale for the future as their business evolves and their needs change. Depending on the platform, EAM solutions can help companies manage physical assets and equipment that create goods across diverse manufacturing industries. The platforms can also enable companies to optimize and extend their assets and infrastructure lifecycles, embed risk management into business processes, and ensure compliance with all industry standards for safety and health.

Most EAM applications start with calendar-based maintenance (CbM) — performing planned maintenance at predetermined intervals, usually based on the age of the asset. The next step in EAM is a criteria-based approach that uses metrics to identify and prioritize work based on actual wear and tear. This leads to more effective maintenance, increased efficiencies, and reduced costs. Some EAM applications can even incorporate predictive analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to monitor assets, detect problems, provide alerts, and recommend preventive action. These solutions help strengthen CbM by detecting inefficiencies and warnings through pattern recognition in amalgamated, multi-dimensional, and temporal sensor data streams.