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Traditional definitions of Asset Management have focused on the maintenance of physical assets throughout their asset lifecycle. “And Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solutions are used to plan, execute, and track maintenance activities, associated priorities, skills, materials, tools, etc. to maximize their Availability. This covers the design, construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance and decommissioning or replacement of plants, equipment, fleets, and facilities.”

The above definition of Asset Management and the use of EAM focuses heavily on traditional objectives of maintenance, aiming at creating an efficient and reliable asset operation. But it ignores the rapidly changing external factors that influence the choices asset managers need to make, based on the strategic objectives of their organization, and the global market it operates in.

From that point of view, it is recommended to have a more holistic view, as offered by the ISO55000 standard: “Asset management enables an organization to realize value from assets in the achievement of its organizational objectives” and “An asset management system provides a structured approach for the development, coordination and control of activities undertaken on assets by the organization over different life cycle stages, and for aligning these activities with its organizational objectives.”

Enter Asset Performance Management: where assets are aligned to business goals.

According to the industry analyst firm ARC Advisory, Asset Performance Management is a key enabler for the alignment of Asset Management with an organization’s business objectives: “APM is an approach to managing assets that prioritizes business objectives in addition to traditional asset reliability and availability”. As an example: ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) compliance or non-compliance has tremendous impact on Asset Management decisions. From carbon footprint decisions and objectives, all the way to the organization’s credit rating and the ability to attract capital for investment in the asset base.

After the debt crisis, the pandemic, and the energy crisis it has become clear that organizations need to be able to adapt quickly in all their business activities in order to survive these so-called Black Swan Events, and Asset Management has the potential to provide orientation and guidance in these circumstances. Building upon the foundation of Asset Performance Management (enabled by industry/maintenance 4.0) and adopting the concepts of ESG, we need to set course for a future where policies are human-centric, asset management practices as well as the assets themselves are becoming increasingly resilient, and the overall business strategy is based on sustainability, embracing the circular economy. Maintenance 5.0 appears to be embracing these concepts of resilience too.

The evolution to Resilient Asset Management practices:

When adopting the principles of resilient asset management, asset owners and operators are building sustainability into their asset management processes and can expect to achieve business benefits in a wide variety of areas. The choices they make will positively impact sustainability goals AND add value not only at tactical and operational levels but also to corporate strategic objectives.

Improving business as usual with a resilient asset management strategy:

Implementing a resilient asset management strategy can enhance existing business goals within any organization by optimizing asset availability, improving margins, budget management and maintaining regulatory compliance.

  • Increase Revenue: Optimizing Asset Availability

Having the right technology is essential to realizing business goals. A leading EAM platform will provide capabilities such as Reliability Centered Maintenance, Asset Lifecycle Management and Predictive Maintenance.

The implementation of these new and criticality-based maintenance strategies will enhance reliability and therefore increase the technical availability of the assets and systems. While more availability should lead to increased production and result in higher revenue, provided that the markets allow for selling the extra products.

  • Reduce Operational Costs: Improve Margin and EBITDA

Greater efficiencies in the digitized work processes for maintenance and into the supply chain will immediately lead to cost savings, by reducing and optimizing inventory, and improving service levels.

For example, by maximizing resources through the planning and scheduling of workloads either dynamically or batchwise will improve efficiency and ultimately improve bottom-line margins.

  • Budget Management: Streamlining Projects Processes

During the life of an asset or its components, there are activities that require a special treatment that can only be executed in a project. For example, for overhauls, shutdowns, turnarounds or maintenance stops & outages, EAM will assist in the planning, budgeting & forecasting, procurement, and execution of projects.

While projects are notorious for overrunning on budget. Proper planning – financial as well as operational – is crucial to ensure that the project goals and objectives are met. As an example, the Planning and Scheduling Optimization service available at IFS is capable of dynamically scheduling new tasks as they come into the backlog, taking all relevant operational and financial constraints into account.

  • Maintain Regulatory Compliance

Using a proper and consistent system to manage organizational risk across the entire asset base will ensure that regulatory compliance is always assured and that processes for certification, inspection and vetting are executed as required in order not to have business and asset integrity compromised.

Additional benefits contain reduced insurance premiums and the possibility to negotiate deviations from OEM maintenance intervals, which often lead to over-maintaining and introducing new failures.

  • Ensure Safety & Employee wellbeing

Safety is a core business driver for every asset-intensive organization. EAM provides capability for safety and permitting that find their roots in the nuclear power industry and allow permitting, lockout/tagout as well as incident and near-miss registration. At the same time, promoting employee safety and well-being also means ensuring fair labor practices, and promoting transparency and ethical governance.

Evolving for the future – Managing assets to meet business goals:

By implementing a resilient asset management strategy, organizations will begin to see the benefits of managing their assets to meet the needs of an ever-changing world, including their sustainability goals.

  • Improve CapEx: Optimize Asset Investments

The use of capital is tightly related to asset lifecycle management and the role that projects play, especially in the early stages of an asset’s life. An EAM system should cover the complete lifecycle of an asset or its components, from design to decommissioning, from cradle to grave.

Strategic asset management starts at the very beginning of the life cycle. According to ISO55000, 80% of the Total Cost of Ownership of an asset is determined during the design phase. For organizations to optimize on their investments in the future, it is paramount that we begin to design assets with sustainability and resilience in mind.

There are many support processes around Asset Management that can be made more sustainable, for example by reducing field service technician driving time through smarter planning, or to procure more sustainable materials and MRO items.

The one area where EAM can make a direct impact on the climate is where Asset Performance Management is applied directly to combat and eliminate energy waste. The elimination of energy waste through asset monitoring and predictive maintenance (and also by acquiring more energy efficient assets) will have a monetary impact as well as a sustainability impact. In other words: Green and Gold can go together very well.

  • Leverage Digital Technology for “The Connected Asset” and “The Connected Worker”

Digital transformation brings many benefits to asset-intensive organizations, such as increased efficiency, cost savings, and improved asset reliability. EAM can serve as the foundation for implementing new digital tools across the asset base

  • Internet of Things (IoT) sensors for monitoring cargo and equipment such as engines
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for optimizing routes and maintenance needs
  • Robotic process automation for automating administrative repetitive tasks
  • Digital twin technology for simulating and optimizing
  • The Connected worker with Mobile Solutions
  • Remote Assistance using Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality on a Mobile Platform
  • IFS Cloud is a single platform, running on a single database. Where required (by law or by business necessity) it has the possibility to seamlessly replicate onto autonomous on-board systems

In Summary

Not every business benefit can or shall always be achieved, and some of the ones listed above are even mutually exclusive. But the adoption of a resilient asset management strategy implies that asset managers have the possibility to change course and to rapidly adapt the way they take care of their asset base, whenever circumstances so dictate. That could mean in practice to change from an uptime-oriented maintenance regime to a cost-saving practice or vice versa once the market situation changes for the products or services that the organization produces. In other words, to expect the unexpected, to be prepared to take future disruptions head-on and emerge stronger after the disruption ends. That’s what real asset sustainability stands for.

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