What is Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)? An Actionable Guide
If your company’s assets don’t perform as expected — or worse, if they aren’t available at all — team members can’t get the job done or achieve organizational objectives. Tracking and managing your enterprise’s assets isn’t always easy, and many businesses struggle to properly maintain equipment, effectively utilize assets, and sustain low operational costs.
That’s where enterprise asset management comes in. Whether your company specializes in facilities management, runs a manufacturing plant, focuses on transportation projects, or works in another asset-intensive industry, intelligent enterprise asset management software can help it increase equipment uptime, extend asset life cycles, and make better maintenance decisions.
Start realizing these benefits today with this deep dive into all things enterprise asset management, from core applications and functions to what features your company should look for in its enterprise asset management solution.
Enterprise asset management (EAM) refers to the software, services, and systems an organization uses to manage and maintain physical assets and equipment. The fundamental focus of EAM is to efficiently manage an asset across its entire lifecycle while reducing both downtime and operational costs. EAM incorporates practices like asset performance management (APM), maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO), asset lifecycle management, reporting and analytics, and more.
EAM is part of the continual evolution of asset management. What was once a process that relied on highly trained specialists who visually inspected machinery has transformed to one that uses automated systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) to collect massive amounts of critical asset data. This evolution — known as Maintenance 4.0 — is now further developing into Maintenance 5.0, which prioritizes synergy between humans and machines so organizations can get the most value from each.
Organizations should then look to marry the right personnel with solutions that digitize manual maintenance processes and leverage powerful data to predict when assets will fail, automatically recommending and facilitating corrective steps. Today’s EAM tools enable proactive decision-making that enables improved safety, optimized labor and material management, and enhanced capital budget planning. They also rely on asset performance management to analyze the extensive amount of data they collect and then drive automated processes in response.
EAM goes beyond the capabilities of a traditional computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). A CMMS is used to track equipment after it’s been purchased and installed, and it also automates maintenance tasks. A CMMS may be adequate for small operations, but it can’t scale to meet the needs of larger enterprises. While a CMMS includes features for scheduling maintenance, generating work orders, and assigning tasks, it doesn’t have the extended functionality offered by the best EAM solutions. These solutions streamline and automate a wider range of MRO tasks, keep assets performing reliably from lust to dust, and offer the data collection and analytics features needed to make smart asset management decisions.
In short, a CMMS may be a part of how your organization approaches enterprise asset management, but EAM — and the technology that powers it — is much more comprehensive, offering a holistic approach to managing the entire asset lifecycle.
Regardless of industry or company size, asset-reliant organizations must maximize the service life of their equipment, minimize costs, and optimize maintenance to reduce downtime — or risk falling behind their competitors. EAM helps companies with all of the above, offering a wide range of important benefits.
Manual tools and processes lead to inefficient maintenance operations. EAM instead relies on software that tracks and updates data on all your assets in real time, centralizing the information. Team members can then easily access this important data and boost their productivity further by using modern EAM solutions to automatically schedule work orders, allocate resources, manage maintenance activities, and more. Team members
A reactive approach to maintenance is costly, as it often means larger equipment failures occur before issues are addressed. An EAM system leverages a wealth of historical asset data and pulls information from IoT sensors to analyze relevant trends and identify potential problems before they actually happen. Maintenance teams can then engage in predictive maintenance practices, focusing on fixing minor equipment issues before they turn into larger, more disastrous failures. This helps eliminate excessive repair costs, reduce downtime, and extend the service life of valuable assets.
Regularly accumulating extra resources means your organization is prepared if a spare part is needed or additional materials are unexpectedly required. But it also runs the risk of inventory degrading before it's needed, and it creates extra complexity when trying to determine what resources are currently available. With the data of an EAM system and the analytics capabilities of APM, businesses can instead make informed decisions about which resources they need and which they can do without.
Every organization wants to get the most out of its assets, and EAM can help them realize that goal. By collecting and analyzing both real-time and historical asset data, an EAM solution can maximize equipment reliability and availability. This helps organizations ensure their current asset investments deliver the best return on investment (ROI) possible and make better purchasing, maintenance, and utilization decisions moving forward.
Businesses across a variety of industries must meet compliance and regulatory standards to ensure quality and safety; and keep detailed records that prove they’re doing so. EAM solutions enable real-time, on-site data collection, so technicians can always accurately capture all job details and access that information at a later time. Plus, EAM systems support a proactive maintenance approach that helps organizations easily adhere to ever-changing guidelines, so technicians never miss a step in their essential workflows.
It’s true that maintenance operations do vary depending on your organization's industry. Modern EAM solutions are built to address industry-specific challenges and empower businesses to meet their unique goals.
Organizations across industries can use EAM to optimize their maintenance operations. Here are just a few examples.
From pipes to storage containers to vehicles, oil and gas companies rely on their assets to stay competitive in a changing industry. EAM helps them facilitate interoperability between engineering, construction, and maintenance teams, empower their workers with digital work capabilities, manage their vehicle fleets, and reduce safety and environmental risks. With the right software, they can build a comprehensive asset management strategy .
Organizations in the food and beverage industry must do everything possible to keep their profit margins high while minimizing downtime and food safety risks. EAM software gives them a comprehensive view of all their operations in a single place so they can optimize their asset management processes and effectively adapt to new regulations. It also supports condition-based maintenance, so companies can reduce food safety risks and make the right asset investments at the right time, driven by both historical and real-time data.
Rider and worker safety is critical for organizations in the transportation industry, and EAM can help them ensure the reliability of their transit assets. It uses operational data to drive the right operations and maintenance response, improving safety, fuel and energy usage, and infrastructure planning.
Facilities management is a complex field. Facility managers have their hands full keeping meticulous financial records, handling work orders, and maintaining properties. Whether dealing with a manufacturing facility, an apartment complex, or an office building, EAM makes it easier to comply with regulations and service level agreements, get the most value out of every asset, and deliver great service.
EAM’s strength is its use of several core practices that power and connect to one another. Each plays a significant role in making EAM a competitive advantage for your company, when implemented using a set of key best practices.
Maintenance, repair, and operations include all the tasks a maintenance team performs to facilitate asset operations. An MRO process powered by EAM keeps things running smoothly with a predictive, data-driven strategy that accurately forecasts when assets require attention, rather than over-maintaining equipment or reacting to incidents after they occur. EAM streamlines and automates every part of MRO, from planning and scheduling to actually carrying out maintenance work, turning it into a proactive, efficient practice that keeps your business running like a well-oiled machine.
Asset lifecycle management refers to all initiatives aimed at keeping an asset running reliably throughout its entire lifespan. EAM improves asset lifecycle management by giving your team members a comprehensive view of assets’ health, modifications, and value. They can then better understand how those assets contribute to your organization’s ability to deliver services and products now and in the future. This enables smarter decisions when it comes time to decide which assets to prioritize for maintenance and, when necessary, replacement.
Once an asset does ultimately fail and require replacement, your planning and engineering teams will have seamless access to all the maintenance and usage data collected throughout its lifetime. This helps them make data-based improvements that maximize the performance and value of the new asset.
As you’ve probably gathered, EAM relies heavily on reporting and analytics to better plan for maintenance and evaluate asset performance. Data analysis gives organizations valuable insights into asset reliability, the impact of their preventive maintenance strategy, cost and labor functions, workforce management, planning, scheduling, and more.
Effective supply chain management is a crucial part of EAM. Without the materials and parts needed to create, maintain, or repair various assets, everything grinds to a halt. EAM software can help automate the supply chain to minimize inventory costs and anticipate needs, reducing last minute orders that would otherwise negatively impact operations.
Mobile devices bring the advantages of EAM from the office into the field. The best EAM platforms are accessible through a mobile app that empowers team members to seamlessly manage work orders, perform workforce management, and handle inventory management wherever they find themselves. Even in areas without network connectivity, workers can capture equipment and asset details in the EAM platform offline, then automatically sync the data back to the central system once they regain connectivity. This ensures that employees always have access to accurate, up-to-date data and don’t need to waste precious time re-entering information when they return to the office.
One of the most important functions of EAM is ensuring worker safety and compliance with applicable regulations. EAM makes it easier for organizations to document and report any health or safety concerns and then alter their processes to reduce risk using incident analysis. EAM also enables teams to better manage and follow workflows with actionable checklists that align with relevant standards.
As noted above, asset performance management is perhaps the most important part of modern EAM. It’s the primary way EAM practices are advancing to meet organizations’ growing asset management needs.
APM begins with AI-powered analysis of all the data stored within your EAM platform, giving your organization the insights it needs to facilitate better business decisions and enable predictive analytics. After making a decision, companies can then use their integrated EAM software to automate any action required. These advanced analytics and automation capabilities help organizations move beyond a preventive approach to asset management and instead act to maximize the value of all their assets through enhanced efficiency, reliability, and sustainability.
Asset investment planning (AIP) helps businesses make the right long term decisions regarding their assets. By optimizing asset investments, organizations can maximize their capital spending dollars and reduce the risks associated with asset failure. EAM is a vital part of building and implementing a strategic asset investment plan , as much of the data needed comes from the asset registry in an EAM system. Look for an EAM solution that integrates with your AIP platform and automatically inputs relevant information while feeding data from your AIP tool back into other systems.
Effective enterprise asset management prizes sustainability. Businesses with sustainable EAM processes powered by APM and AIP can become more profitable — thanks to anticipatory action that reduces the risk of equipment failure — and more environmentally friendly. Predictive maintenance alerts teams when an asset needs attention, enabling them to fix minor issues before they become larger, more environmentally destructive problems. With complete visibility into asset performance, organizations can realize sustainable success by better optimizing energy management, reducing overall energy consumption, and using their resources more efficiently.
EAM relies on sophisticated tools for everything from tracking, locating, and analyzing physical assets to retaining records in compliance with applicable regulations. By adopting an EAM solution, organizations can access the information they need when and where they need it, improve worker safety, and maximize profitability. As you evaluate your EAM software options, make sure the solution you choose offers these critical features.
Asset performance management ensures that the invaluable data in your EAM system won’t go to waste. APM delivers actionable insights to help your company make the most of its physical assets and achieve business-specific goals. Look for an EAM solution that uses algorithmic and model-based analysis on asset registry information, work order history, and real-time condition data to understand all aspects of asset performance. It should also connect with other key tools, like supply chain and warehouse systems, so automatic responses can go into effect no matter what type of issue is identified.
Your EAM system needs to meet your workers where they are, even in the field. Your platform should offer every user seamless self-service, agnostic access to a high-performance mobile application, and the ability to capture and manage information directly from a job site. The best solutions even let organizations customize the user interface to ensure a great experience for every team member.
Data science and machine learning are essential for streamlining the decision-making process when facing complex, constraint-based business challenges. A powerful EAM solution takes the guesswork out of the equation, so you can ensure sustainable, predictive outcomes in operations and maintenance.
With the right software, your organization can build long-term investment action plans based on funding, risks, conditions, and asset interventions. Some systems even allow you to compare multiple “what if” scenarios, so you can see how various trade-offs and planning elements will impact your business.
Enterprise asset management helps your organization achieve success now and in the future. But effective EAM is a balancing act, and one that requires intelligent tools as your business scales.
HxGN EAM is a cloud-native and on-premises EAM solution with extensions that addresses your company’s asset management challenges head-on, featuring industry-specific capabilities that empower your business to make data-driven, strategic decisions. This starts with powerful tools like Asset Performance Management , which delivers data your organization can rely on to make smart decisions that maximize asset value. Companies can further enhance asset management with HxGN EAM Constraint Optimizer , which focuses on enabling informed asset investment choices together with efficient scheduling and assigning of maintenance activities. And HxGN EAM Digital Work helps your company create an intuitive work experience for all employees with high performance, device agnostic mobile apps.
To learn more about how HxGN EAM can impact your company’s end-to-end asset management process, contact us today .