What Is EAM?
Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) refers to a suite of tools, practices and software - including an EAM software -- that allows organizations to execute effective facility management. With a comprehensive EAM process in place, organizations can effectively maintain, control and analyze their physical assets and infrastructure during all phases of the asset lifecycle, including acquisition, maintenance and disposal.
Though often compared to a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) , a robust EAM generally offers a wider range of capabilities and features, including:
- An inventory management system
- Document and knowledge management systems
- Multi-site management tools
- A purchasing management system
- An accounting system and financial management
- A project management system
- Performance management tools
- Labor management tools
- Service contract management
- Lockout tagout procedures
This broad suite of capabilities gives asset managers full transparency into the historical and present state of assets so they can optimize asset quality and utilization, improve uptime, reduce operational costs and ultimately increase revenue and ROI.
Why is EAM important?
The right EAM can help your organization track, manage, analyze and optimize your assets through all stages of the asset lifecycle, from acquisition to disposal. This can lead to marked improvements in transparency and preventive maintenance capabilities, which translates to saved time, increased efficiency and lower costs. An EAM can also help your organization:
Streamline inventory management
Having the necessary parts on hand when they are needed is critical to having an efficient maintenance process.
In many organizations, quickly locating parts can also be a challenge. Barcode scanning and inventory tracking capabilities within an EAM can make finding parts much easier and translate to faster repair times and higher labor efficiency.
An EAM can also provide valuable insight into parts utilization and costs. This makes it easier to see actual spend on individual parts and improve part sourcing to reduce inventory costs.
An EAM also offers capabilities like automated inventory control that streamlines the inventory process. Finally, with an EAM, organizations have the option to manage inventory on an enterprise-wide basis. If two sites are physically close to one another and have similar equipment, for example, there are potential opportunities to reduce inventory by sharing stock across sites.
Maximize asset life
The historical data, real-time data and analytical tools in an EAM can allow you to extend the availability, reliability and usability of your physical assets, thereby increasing both efficiency and ROI.
Extend asset lifecycle
You can extend the availability, reliability and usability of your physical assets using the historical and real-time data - along with the analytical and diagnostic tools - in your EAM.
Additionally, you can extend asset lifecycle and better manage your aging assets with more informed and proactive maintenance strategies, thereby decreasing costs and increasing ROI.
Work from anywhere
Mobile, multi-site capabilities and features - including SaaS or hybrid deployments, smartphone capabilities and the ability to read meters, capture electronic signatures and use bar codes or RFID - can maximize remote capabilities and facilitate social distancing.
When equipment breaks down, asset managers can manually log downtime in the EAM software based on the timestamps on fault codes or work requests. Also, when equipment is marked as non-operational by technicians during repairs and PMs, downtime is automatically tracked by the software. This provides a failsafe in case accurate downtime is not logged manually.
Asset managers can connect their software to financial software like QuickBooks to align their efforts with the organization's financial department. This data-sync streamlines financial audits and helps organizations manage the complete asset lifecycle without requiring financial departments to learn how to navigate the EAM software.
Centralize asset data
A comprehensive EAM can provide all the information about your organization's physical assets in one single system, including:
- Repair histories
- Energy usage
- Lifecycle costs
- Warranty records
- Parts catalogs
- Purchase orders
- Audit trails
This information will be accurate and available to any department, meaning that all relevant personnel can get the information they need to do their job. Maintenance, for example, can use the EAM system to manage work orders and equipment records, while accounting can use it to manage MRO budgets and invoices.
This translates to saved time, increased efficiency and lower costs.
Improve benchmarking and asset performance management
One of the real values of an EAM is that it gives visibility to maintenance performance across the organization to enable benchmarking, best practice sharing and performance management.
Take, for example, two sites with similar equipment. If one site experiences a failure on an extruder every quarter while another location has a once-per-year failure rate on the same extruder, then the company has an opportunity to look at the higher-performing site to see if there are conditions, maintenance procedures, etc. that can be replicated to reduce failures at the lower performing site.
Benchmarks across the enterprise can also be established for downtime, maintenance costs and other key performance measurements. When organizations create and track these metrics, they begin to proactively manage maintenance performance. Over time, this typically drives maintenance improvements across the enterprise.
Modernize maintenance operations
Using AI-powered remote monitoring and accurate alerts, you can get a more comprehensive understanding of the current and expected state of your assets
With this enhanced asset tracking and traceability, you can also meet increasingly complex safety, environmental, and health requirements and enhance your decision-making.
What is the Difference Between EAM and a CMMS?
Both CMMS and EAM tools help organizations move from reactive to preventive maintenance strategies by allowing them to automate maintenance activities, inventory management and work orders.
That said, though the two terms are often used interchangeably, EAMs and CMMS systems are not the same thing.
Defining A CMMS
In short, a CMMS can actually fit under the EAM umbrella and can be considered to be a component of a broader EAM system. CMMS tools focus specifically on maintenance and centralizing information to facilitate and automate maintenance during the operational part of a physical asset's lifecycle.
Defining An EAM
An EAM solution, on the other hand, includes maintenance management capabilities but considers the total cost of ownership (TCO) for a company's physical assets. It provides a wider range of features to track, manage, and analyze asset performance and costs through the whole asset lifecycle, from acquisition to disposal. This gives asset managers full transparency into the historical and present state of assets so they can report to other departments, optimize asset performance, reduce asset costs, and more.
Along with containing a CMMS component, a robust EAM will also provide an inventory management system, a purchasing management system, a document management system, an accounting system, a project management system, multisite management tools, and performance management tools - all in one centralized software.
In this way, an EAM lets you see the bigger picture so you can make prioritized, data-driven business decisions.
EAM Software and SaaS
When CMMS and EAM software first appeared, all asset management systems were based on on-premise hardware. Now, there has been a significant shift to the cloud. Cloud-based SaaS solutions offer many benefits that make a SaaS solution ideal for modern asset-heavy businesses, including:
- Maximized integrations: Modern organizations must integrate information across systems, devices, and software tools. The cloud provides a connectable ecosystem in which these integrations are easily achieved.
- More asset reliability: If you have a strong provider, a SaaS solution will provide fast uptimes, increased ease of use, better asset utilization, and more reliable availability across devices.
- Scalability: It is difficult to scale across sites and facilities using hardware. A mobile-friendly SaaS solution maximizes scalability and flexibility across sites and devices.
- Lower maintenance cost: SaaS EAM solutions are usually run on monthly or annual subscriptions that require significantly less up-front investment.
- Increased security: Maintenance Connection and other EAM software automatically updates patches and other security concerns, so the burden will never fall on your IT department.
Features and Functionalities of EAM
Work Order Management
EAM solutions often give both technicians and administrators the structure, data, and communication they need to quickly diagnose problems, assign technicians, schedule work orders, and keep track of upcoming work.
This is achieved using features that:
- Automate purchases so you have the correct parts in the right place at the right time.
- Keep track of every spare part, including important details like purchase date, availability on certain sites, where the part is stored and more.
- Inform technicians what parts are needed for a particular repair, and where those parts can be found.
- Track big-picture metrics like inventory costs, order histories, and usage statistics.
Ultimately, this can enable you to manage both reactive and preventive maintenance requests for a comprehensive facility and maintenance management solution.
It can also facilitate better resource scheduling and enable faster repair time, thereby improving labor efficiency and reducing both labor and overtime costs.
Asset Lifecycle Management
Your assets can make or break your business' profitability. Without proper asset management, things like unplanned downtime, emergency breakdowns and reactive maintenance policies can shorten asset lifecycle and ultimately cost your business time and money.
A robust EAM can provide you with the asset data and documentation you need to move from reactive maintenance to preventive maintenance, thereby extending asset life, decreasing unplanned downtime, streamlining asset inventory, and more.
MRO Materials and Supply Chain Management
Assets and the MRO (maintenance, repair, and operating supply) materials used to maintain them are a part of your supply chain. Your business has to order, use and keep track of countless MRO items to run properly, and your technicians need to access these parts in order to effectively complete repairs.
This can be costly. In many cases, MRO accounts can make up as much as 40% of a business' annual procurement budget. An EAM can help you control costs and better control your supply chain with full oversight of MRO inventory procurement and management.
Enterprise asset management software can help you maintain your team's health and safety by providing straightforward, easily accessible safety requirements for every job, simplifying audits, and reducing safety risks using incident analysis and process change management.
A key component of responsible asset management is managing the assessment, training, and certification of your employees and contractors.
An enterprise asset management software can help with this process by:
- Providing straightforward, easily accessible safety requirements for every job
- Simplifying audit logs
- Making safety procedures more accessible
- Allowing those in charge to track safety training
It can also help your organization effectively manage labor by allowing you to centrally manage both planned and unplanned work, from initial request through completion.
Service Contract Management
When it comes to service contracts, you have a lot to monitor - including compliance and spending - at every step of the contract lifecycle.
An EAM can help you create and manage your contracts with customers, vendors, partners, and employees so you can better contain costs, mitigate risks, remain compliant, and maximize your ROI.
Properly managing your finances and decreasing unnecessary spending can be difficult if you do not have a single source of truth from which you can gather data and get a comprehensive look at your financial information.
An EAM system cuts costs by streamlining maintenance processes:
- Preventive and predictive maintenance
- Parts and inventory management
- Calibration management
- Work order management
- Purchase order and facility rental management
This, in turn, reduces the number of emergency repairs and staffing inefficiencies, both of which can take a huge financial toll on your business. A robust EAM can also integrate seamlessly with your finance software to help you manage your accounting and project spending.
Reporting And Analytics
If you cannot effectively collect, analyze, access, and apply your equipment data, your operations will be inefficient and under-productive. EAM software can help you extract meaningful data to pinpoint preventive maintenance needs and manage KPIs:
- Track equipment usage and performance, including metrics like mileage, gauge readings, and operational hours.
- Create asset profiles so you know all the pertinent information about a particular machine at-a-glance, including failure codes, required safety equipment, maintenance history, and more.
- Quickly generate custom reports on things like asset downtime or cost of inventory so you can answer important questions about your maintenance operations at any time.
- Connect with other relevant systems in your company so your maintenance data is always available to relevant departments and individuals.
This kind of advanced analytics can help you gain the operational insights you need to automate your processes and spot issues before they become bigger problems. That way, you can save money and make better business decisions.
Top-tier enterprise asset management software can help give you peace of mind when it comes to the health and safety of your team by:
- Providing straightforward, easily accessible safety requirements for every job
- Simplifying audit logs and making safety procedures more accessible
- Allowing those in charge to track safety training
- Helping you document and report and environmental, health and safety concerns
- Reducing safety risk using incident analysis, corrective action traceability and process change management
Beyond providing system access to vendors, facility management software solutions also enable vendor management, which includes tracking key information like certificates of insurance (COIs) and activity history.
They may also include functionality to create a rating system, allowing stakeholders to complete performance surveys to develop a preferred vendor list.
Document And Knowledge Management
One of the main benefits of a facility management software solution is having a centralized database or a single source of truth for all information related to your facilities operations.
This enables the entire team to access essential information about assets and facility processes through documentation and knowledge management within the EAM. This improves the quality of work from your team while simultaneously improving their efficiency in the process.
Industries That Benefit from Enterprise Maintenance Software
Effective maintenance is key across a wide range of industries, including:
- Oil & gas
- Public sector
An EAM software can help with five primary use cases across these industries: facility maintenance, fleet maintenance, production & manufacturing maintenance, linear asset maintenance, and field services.