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If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!!!

Written By: Khudsiya Quadri
Published On: October 13 2009

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If this proverb were applied in today’s operations, every organization would be in a reactive mode of maintenance and work against the lean manufacturing concepts.

Any breakdown or downtime on the manufacturing floor, in the warehouse, in transportation, or any other business process will create missed customer commitments, failed deliveries, idle time, and lost labor hours. Instead of taking the risk and being in reactive mode, wouldn’t it be nice to have systems or procedures through which an organization can know the status of its equipment? In today’s fast-paced market environment it’s beneficial for organizations to know which equipment needs preventative or scheduled maintenance for better planning, commitment, and allocation of resources.

Organizations that are using lean manufacturing practices or trying to achieve continuous flow manufacturing must be able to keep all of their assets in tip-top shape. It is crucial to have a complete understanding of which assets an organization has available at any given time in order to achieve business success. Many organizations need to understand that equipment is not only an asset, but a resource as well. Organizations that adopt best practices for asset use can

  • meet on-time delivery requirements for customer orders;

  • maximize manufacturing  throughput;

  • reduce manufacturing costs;

  • lower equipment downtime; and

  • use equipment to its full capacity based on industry specific standards


Many organizations have been using best-of-breed (BoB) enterprise asset management (EAM) applications to manage their overall assets or enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications with built in EAM functionalities.  Nowadays most ERP applications have EAM functionality. This functionality helps integrate assets with other modules within ERP (e.g., inventory management, resource management, project management etc.).

An EAM application provides an organization with specific functionalities needed for asset maintenance processes. Firstly, organizations need to understand which assets they currently possess; what preventative or scheduled maintenance is needed for the equipment; how to control asset maintenance; organize assets; and how to create the most efficient methods for equipment use within an asset information management (AIM) module. In my opinion, the heart of any EAM application is AIM because it can help manage the equipment life cycle and help meet industry regulation requirements. By using AIM, the right information can be provided to the right individuals (decision makers) at the right time. This can help reduce the overall manufacturing cost, maintenance cost, and present a clear portrait of equipment investments.

Secondly, the work order management module is needed to create, plan, and schedule resources with appropriate documentation and training in order for all tasks to be executed and completed based on planned and scheduled requirements. By doing so, an organization will become more proactive by bringing efficiency to equipment and expanding the lifecycle of its assets.

Thirdly, material, labor, service contract management, and mobile capabilities are all needed within EAM to align the procurement of materials, inventory management (spare parts), and type of labor resources (internal or external). Other EAM capabilities include, training; certification; resource scheduling; tools needed for equipment maintenance; and the ability to update information from the field if maintenance is outside the manufacturing plant. Lastly, reporting capabilities are vital for asset management. By using analytical tools, asset key performance indicators (KPIs) and measurements can be created to make decisions about equipment life cycles and projected investments.

EAM applications provide a three-dimensional view for decision makers. EAM includes what needs to happen, when it needs to happen, and what is going to be needed in the form of resources, material, training etc. It is similar to the way individuals try to manage their personal assets (property, car, financial investments etc.) with optimized results. Organizations with asset-intense operations need to manage their equipment in the same manner in order to get the best results and a greater return on investment (ROI).
 
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