Enterprise Asset Management Systems: Your Manufacturing Organization’s Underrated Superstar

For all you baseball fans living in the US and Canada, you can probably appreciate that we are quickly approaching what is referred to as “the dog days of August.” This is when the pennant races are close, and almost every game has added significance for a team’s chances of making it to the playoffs.

As I was enjoying one of those rare idyllic days lying in the backyard hammock and reading the sports page, it occurred to me how the good teams are not just about one or two great players. Rather, they are comprised largely of players whose natural athletic ability may not necessarily match that of the few superstars on the team, and who may not be found basking in the limelight, but who consistently work hard and practice on a daily basis. These are the players that, when given the opportunity, can deliver the key play or get the big hit when the game is on the line.

This made me think about how in a manufacturing environment, the most unlikely areas can contribute in a critical situation. In many organizations, it is the maintenance department that, much like the unsung heroes of the baseball team, manages to keep aging equipment running flawlessly. When a machine unexpectedly breaks down, it is this department that knows what is required to repair it. And just like the baseball season, summertime is a busy time for maintenance departments, as companies choose to use the summer holiday period to shut down in order to install, repair, or replace equipment in their production facility.

In this blog post, I thought it would be a good idea to take an inside look at the challenging world of enterprise asset management (EAM), and find out how this unheralded software can give your company the winning edge.

Factors Leading to Critical Failure of Assets

  • poor maintenance practices

  • undocumented maintenance logs

  • poor budget planning

  • inability to track known rates of failure for equipment

What Is EAM

Because competition within industries is fierce, any downtime in a facility can make the difference between profit and loss for the organization's bottom line. In many organizations that are capital equipment-intensive (i.e., mining, oil and gas, utilities, aerospace manufacturing, etc.), the ability to plan maintenance or replacement of such physical assets as machinery is controlled through an EAM system.

An EAM system generates analytical data to optimize machine-operating efficiency, and calculates costs to support and maintain single pieces or a series of physical assets. EAM also works closely with the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS). CMMS provides predictive maintenance schedules and, by analyzing available inventory, assigns physical resources (inventory and labor) to a scheduled work order for equipment pieces. This generates replenishment purchasing requisitions for maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) spare parts.

In the diagram below, you can see how EAM works as part of a three-pronged approach with EAM, CMMS, and production to gather data for analysis. This analysis helps managers to decide whether to repair equipment, schedule resources, or plan for new capital equipment purchase and installation.

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Benefits of EAM

  • Ensures compliance with government-legislated health and safety programs by demonstrating tool and machinery reliability through the tracking of all historical maintenance.

  • Develops life cycle management systems to identify known or predictive mean time between failure (MTBF) and root cause analysis.

  • Allows the ability to implement continuous process improvements in the areas of tools and identification, to properly calibrate tools and equipment as part of a predictive maintenance program. This is done with the help of radio frequency identification (RFID).

  • Allows the ability to schedule maintenance and installation of new equipment and to manage repair budgets and schedules, through integration of EAM with CMMS.

  • Enables streamlined procurement management policies for MRO spare parts.

  • Enables trend analysis to determine when maintenance is cost-prohibitive and to plan for replacement of capital equipment.

EAM Products to Consider

At TEC’s web site, you can review different vendors’ products as well as obtain white papers and vendor comparison reports. In this section, I offer a brief overview of some EAM  products worth consideration.


IFS’s product offerings include over 30 modules of enterprise solutions, many of which that can be purchased as either an overall integrated solution or as a bolted-on best-of-class solution. IFS has a unique add-on available that includes both IFS EAM and IFS ERP called IFS OEE (with “OEE” standing for overall equipment effectiveness). This solution performs analytics while equipment assets are running (which avoids downtime), and it makes the necessary adjustments to maintain an optimum level of production. IFS EAM allows organizations to proactively  manage assets and maintenance activites. It combines unique features to permit data modeling on equipment in order to determine whether equipment is near the end of its production life cycle. For further details, visit IFS’s vendor showcase.

Infor EAM Enterprise Edition

Infor EAM delivers a unified solution for monitoring and managing the performance, maintenance, and deployment of company assets. With Infor EAM, the maintenance and plant engineering practitioner is able to perform maintenance optimization, staff productivity analysis, budget forecasting, and strategic planning. There are five separate modules which, combined together, form a complete EAM solution.

  • maintenance

  • inventory/warranty

  • uptime

  • reliability risk management

  • strategic planning

For further details, visit Infor’s vendor showcase.

A Final Thought

Today’s manufacturers are fighting for any edge that will lower their costs and that will allow them to meet the challenges of global manufacturing and ever-stringent regulatory and compliance legislation. One paradigm shift has been to conduct maintenance based on an actual condition, and not on aggregate rates of failure. This departure from the traditional approach is a result of systems now being able to track real-time performance of equipment. Through EAM, condition-based maintenance (CBM ) is now a reality, and it will permit your maintenance department to perform like champions.
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