Transforming Asset-intensive Industries with Mobility

Asset-intensive industries have a major challenge in adapting to changing business paradigms, while keeping pace with new industry requirements and simultaneously ensuring sustainable operations. See how new technologies such as mobility can help these organizations develop a collaborative partnership with their customers to improve the efficiency of their services, benefiting the customer, the company, and the community at large.

Introduction 

Organizations of all shapes and sizes have come to realize that in modern times, change is the only constant. To excel and succeed in delivering valuable products and services to customers, organizations need to transform their business to adapt to changing business paradigms.

Asset-intensive industries, in particular, have a major challenge in adapting to these new conditions, while keeping pace with new industry requirements and simultaneously ensuring sustainable operations. Such enterprises also have a significant impact on their communities’ socioeconomic standing and on the regulatory climate. The advent of new technologies, such as mobility, can help asset-intensive organizations develop a collaborative partnership with their customers in order to improve the efficiency of their services, benefiting the customer, the company, and the community at large.

So, in today’s business, mobile technologies are no longer a “nice to have.” They not only have become an expected component of the information technology (IT) infrastructure, but also have begun playing a fundamental role in virtualizing and accelerating the business—and thus transforming the entire enterprise and its ecosystem. Mobile technologies have thus surpassed the operative field, becoming a fundamental player in all levels of the organization.

Challenges of Asset-intensive Businesses

Asset-intensive industries such as oil & gas, utilities, mining, and transportation rely on the continuous operation and enhanced performance of their plants, networks, and equipment as a key to sustained service (utilities) and uninterrupted production (mines). Such organizations therefore require above-average capital to run their operations. An unreliable or idle asset can result in not only delays, interruptions, and lost billings, but also workforce safety incidents, environmental disasters, huge fines, and penalties. 

Asset-intensive organizations experience a different and unique set of challenges and requirements:

  • The need for larger capital investments and expenditures for deploying and maintaining assets
  • The need to service and maintain assets that are often geographically distributed over wide areas as well as remote and hard to reach
  • The need to operate in environments that are harsh, volatile, and exposed to the elements
  • The need to maintain these assets continually operating in an optimal manner

An important component for addressing these challenges and attaining success as an asset-intensive business is the people involved with the organization: its field workforce, its customers and partners, as well as its managers and executives.

Considering that the financial health and performance of an asset-intensive organization depends greatly on their Return-on-Assets (ROA), a proactive approach is required to ensure optimal security, safety, and environmental practices, operational efficiency, optimal production, and high performance—enabling a high ROA.

This proactive approach should therefore take the following factors into consideration:

  • Assets are distributed and the people that service and operate them are mobile
  • Operating environments are volatile
  • Safety is paramount
  • Regulatory compliance is essential
  • Reliability and performance require real-time communication and compliance

Current mobile technologies have the potential to transform the entire business by enabling all fronts of the organization: field workforce, customer, and management.

True business transformation happens when organizations are able to achieve agility at all levels of the organization. In asset-intensive organizations, mobile applications need to be able to provide effective support during on-site maintenance, timely response to outages and incidents in the field, improved service during customer engagements, and timely and accurate information to management to improve decision-making cycles.

To achieve a certain level of success, asset-intensive organizations face intense pressures to overcome four major types of corporate challenges. These relate to their capacity, social and economic factors, technological innovation, and political and regulatory compliance (table 1).


Table 1. Challenges of Asset-intensive Organizations

So, given the current state of the asset-intensive industry marketplace, organizations need to find the means to overcome these challenges and collaborate in order to increase safety, improve performance, promote social responsibility, and ensure compliance. Mobile technologies can play a key role in responding to these challenges.
 

 

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