Asset-intensive organizations, even today, use reactive, break-fix, maintenance plans rather than proactive strategies as they operate their plants and manage their production assets. This approach leaves operations vulnerable to considerable physical and financial risk. Businesses all over the world continue to lose millions of dollars every day in this manner. It is also hemorrhaging the global economy by billions of dollars. An unplanned downtime does not just mean the disruption of business activities and production loss. It can cost a business about ten times more than the cost of planned maintenance. Poor asset performance management (APM) can compromise sales revenue enough for it to be a legitimate concern.
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What is Asset Performance Management (APM)?
APM is not just about monitoring and tracking systems and assets. It has emerged as a proven method of reducing unplanned downtime, keeping maintenance costs in check while also minimizing environmental health and safety risks. It is an integrated enterprise solution that helps organizations adopt safer and more reliable operations, while also facilitating optimized operations at a lower and sustainable cost.
In a nutshell, APM involves software tools and applications that improve the reliability and availability of physical assets such as plants, equipment, and infrastructure, all of which are crucial to the business operations of an enterprise.
Asset Performance Management Software Solutions
Asset performance management software help organizations avoid failure with the help of data intelligence and visibility. Powered by analytics and rooted in integrated business work processes, the study scores of data to obtain context. They identify patterns. All of this, to find opportunities for improvement and provide actionable information.
In other words, asset performance management software solutions manage data, recognize patterns, use predictive analytics, and even artificial intelligence and machine learning to make organizations more productive. They improve asset reliability and keep operational costs and risks under control.
However, one must not forget that APM is more than technology.
APM is a unified, enterprise-level undertaking that brings together people, processes, and systems so that they all work together to achieve operational excellence. APM software solutions create simplified, structured, and automatic processes. It may not just be restricted to managing industrial equipment and plants. Some APM solutions even come with digital asset management tools like document management software. Therefore, they set you up for much convenience. However, to achieve the true transformational value of APM, it involves commitment from all levels- the very top to the very bottom- of the organization. APM is not just a software solution. It is an attitude or an approach.
In essence, APM can help you answer these questions:
- How crucial is this asset?
- What is the history of this asset?
- How is it the asset’s health currently?
- In how many ways can this asset can fail?
- What can I do to minimize the risk of failure, and how much would that cost?
- How will my business be impacted if this asset fails?
- How can his asset perform optimally in line with business objectives?
- How can less critical assets be managed and maintained so that they don’t become a problem in the foreseeable future?
The Four Pillars of a Successful APM Strategy:
1. Clear, Accurate, and Accessible Information on Asset Health.
You need a system that will bring together historical work order data and operational technology data, such as data obtained from machine sensors, alarms, events, and other such operational data to provide a comprehensive view of the health of the asset on a real-time basis. The system must function as the default source of truth that provides a clear picture of asset health at any given point of time, to facilitate effective decisions in business.
2. Pre-emption of Equipment Failure Before It Occurs.
An effective APM strategy will typically involve advanced analytics, “digital twin” models and big data techniques to detect the slightest possibility of asset failure. While a digital twin is a computerized model of how the equipment operates normally, any deviation from it can alarm businesses against potential downtime that will go on to eat into sales revenue. These techniques help enterprises adopt a more proactive, condition-based approach which eventually makes assets more reliable and even minimize any unnecessary maintenance work.
3. Regulatory Compliance.
Assets are often subject to ever-changing regulatory compliance requirements and rightly so because such regulatory requirements go a long way in contributing to environmental health and safety. Risk conditions must be monitored closely to ensure that an asset remains compliant at all times. There are globally accepted methodologies such as risk-based inspection and thickness monitoring for this reason. Most reliable APM systems use real-time field data to manage inspections and build intelligent, data-driven strategies regarding the asset.
4. Maintenance Strategy Development Tools That Determine the Best Approach to Asset Maintenance.
There are primarily three approaches to asset maintenance- break-fix, preventative, and predictive techniques. All these approaches have their own pros and cons and come with their own set of reliability levels, risk, and cost trade-offs. A comprehensive maintenance plan may borrow from each of these approaches. A robust APM strategy will help businesses understand the effects of different types of equipment failure and bring to the fore the gaps in the existing maintenance plans. In this way, industrial firms can choose the best course of action that helps them get rid of redundant maintenance practices and largely eliminate any risks to secure the bottom line.
What to Look for in Asset Performance Management Software Solutions?
Now that we have discussed APM in detail let’s take a look at the basic things you must keep an eye out for when you go shopping for an asset performance management software solution. What you are essentially looking for is a suite of software and service solutions that enable you to optimize asset performance.
A good asset performance management software solution must connect disparate data sources and use advanced analytics to turn the data into actionable insights. Ideally, it must achieve this by also facilitating collaboration and knowledge-management across your organization.It must also be flexible and scalable to adapt and grow with your business. It must also be highly integratable so that it can work alongside other software that you may already be using, such as a billing and invoicing software.
Digital transformation in an industrial set-up is never quick or very easy. However, asset performance management software can help your business gain a competitive edge. They can make operations safer, more reliable while obtaining optimal performance from your assets at a lower, sustainable cost. Highly recommended!