When a company’s viability is determined largely by its investment in physical assets, information about the asset is an asset in itself.
Today, information is captured throughout the life of an asset and its individual components – it’s how we use this information to make more informed decisions that can improve service levels and generate greater profits.
There are four key activities required to sweat an asset.
From the moment of purchase, key information about an asset must be stored to help manage and maintain the asset – such as make, model, warranty period, date of manufacture etc. Such asset management systems are a key source of information for reporting, and supporting important decisions throughout the life of the asset. It’s also the system that can be used to track activities related to the asset – both usage as well as maintenance and investment.
Throughout the life of the asset it’s important to monitor both asset performance as well as the conditions in which it operates. This information, when available in (near) real-time, means we can be proactively notified when an asset steps outside of “normal” operating conditions and take pro-active measures to prevent failure, ultimately maximising the life of the asset and improving service levels.
For some industries, this also means being able to locate an asset! Whether it’s a tractor, a plane, or expensive hospital equipment, knowing where the asset is located at any point in time gives us the ability to optimise its usage and evaluate where planned maintenance should be scheduled.
Waiting for an asset to fail can lead to catastrophic events, not to mention the financial impact of service downtime and industry-related penalties. Being able to identify key aspects to a specific asset’s performance that identify those at high risk of failure gives the opportunity to conduct planned maintenance and prevent outages. It also gives us the insight needed to make an informed decision about whether to repair or replace the asset.
Resource Planning & Allocation
Not only must we manage the asset, but we must also manage the asset’s assets – that is the limited financial and human resources available to maintain our most important investments.
Companies today are tapping into some of the technology available to support the above activities. For example, BMW Group are using IBM SPSS data and text mining software to analyse data on vehicles and repairs, vehicle error memories and dealer feedback, channeling insights back into BMW’s working process to reduce error rates and save costs.
Power and Water Corporation, a major utility provider in Australia, use IBM Cognos TM1 to consolidate and analyse maintenance and capital works planning. Together with IBM Maximo, they are able to effectively manage and plan the use of assets to meet the future needs of the growing Northern Territory population.
When investing millions (sometimes billions) of dollars in company assets, how much would you pay to add another 5/10/20 years to its life?