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Seven resources every asset management solution should have
February 2019, Asset Management, EAS, RFID

In today’s economic climate, organisations around the world are facing tremendous pressure to proactively manage their assets across the enterprise to reduce costs, increase productivity, and respond to a rapidly changing regulatory and economic environment. Being proactive means having both an accurate inventory and a detailed history of their cost, which includes those relating to operational management, services, maintenance and repairs.

In order for corporate management to make everyday decisions, to plan for the future of a company, and to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, a well-organised, up-to-date inventory of the company’s property base is a necessary requirement.

But, to maintain an accurate and clear view of their assets, organisations need to optimise their asset infrastructure and streamline mission-critical processes such as planning and budgeting, acquisition, movement tracking, maintenance and repair, calibration, and surplus redeployment or disposal.

Why is it important to manage assets?

Asset management is important because it can help organisations reduce total costs of asset operation, reduce capital cost of asset investment, improve operating performance and reduce potential impacts of improper use. Furthermore, asset management will help reduce safety risks, minimise environmental impact, improve regulatory performance and reduce legal risks that are associated with operating assets and more.

The key to a good asset management solution is that it optimises these benefits. This means that asset management must take all of this into consideration and establish the best sequence of actions to achieve the optimal balance for all of the above in order to benefit the organisation.

Asset management enhances asset utilisation and performance at lower operating costs by eliminating unplanned downtime to maximise the lifetime value of all asset types across the enterprise.

1. Inventory management

When it comes to managing inventory, the solution should be able to manage the details of every company asset – from important machines, computers, vehicles to desks and chairs – and selecting the right equipment for a job, keeping it in working order for as long as possible, and replacing it in a well-organised way, producing as little disruption as possible.

The solution should also maintain detailed records of the asset’s service schedules, location, verification, usage, maintenance. Furthermore, it is vital that the solution gives you the ability to instantly list and organise assets by category, status, condition, special attributes and other fields as may be required.

Key features should include:

• Submitting assets through an approval process before they are made available for use, thus improving compliance,

• Tracking which users have what assets assigned to them, the date and time of assignment, and return information, and

• Allowing companies to control all asset-related documentation such as owner’s manuals, configuration settings, lease agreements, warranty certificates as well as asset images.

2. Material management

The ideal solution should help you organise and track materials to meet maintenance demands precisely, making the right parts available at the right location when needed, reducing out-of-stock situations, inventory shrinkage and carrying unnecessary cost. Also, the solution should keep records of all material movements and adjustments, allowing for real-time material tracking, reporting and auditing.

The goal of this feature is to help organisations to automate warehouse and distribution operations such as processes, storage, and inventory management and distribution. With this feature, operations can better optimise resources and assets, support on-demand and planned movements, and manage the warehouse. Greater control over warehouse operations empowers warehouse managers to improve asset and supply utilisation, better manage inventory levels and costs, and better meet fulfilment expectations, improving customer service.

Key features should include:

• Definition of minimum stock replacement points.

• Stock level alerts.

• Multiple inventory locations management,

• Raw material, ingredients, components, materials and spare parts definition.

• List of warehouses for storage, and

• Control of orders and received items.

3. Work management

The solution should be able to automate the tasks, resources and internal operations in order to eliminate repetitive tasks. This will in return, help your organisation gain efficiency, minimise errors and reduce costs. No matter what the size of your business, be assured that automation will add increased productivity and efficiency.

Key work management features should include:

• Automate and control tasks in a production environment, assigning process tasks to the right team, role or individual at the appropriate time.

• Provide users with a standard electronic form interface for information input.

• Provide full task management, including the delegation of tasks and process scheduling.

• Allow managers to analyse productivity and workloads through an extensive set of pre-configured reports, and

• Allow managers to improve continually processes while ensuring that all process instances follow the same rules and comply with the process model.

4. Maintenance management

The solution must give you the ability to manage maintenance tasks including preventative maintenance, corrective maintenance, predictive maintenance techniques and more through the use of tools such as failure analysis and prevention to perform a variety of tasks.

The goal of this feature should be to minimise time spent on maintenance tasks, track equipment history and trends, and schedule resources for maintenance activities, including employees, parts, supplies, suppliers, and tools.

Key features should include:

• Linking of maintenance activities to documentation, manuals, catalogues, pictures, contracts, work instructions, assembly drawings, projects, schematics, layouts etc.,

• Scheduling, recording, and tracking of human, material and financial resource consumption based on work orders,

• Maintaining historical information about equipment work orders and grouping them by equipment, execution date, maintenance team, detected failure etc., and

• Providing tools for analysing failures in equipment, allowing you to determine defect relationships, respective causes, and necessary corrective action.

5. Calibration management

The calibration solution must correctly manage calibrations in order to increase productivity, optimise resources, assure consistency, comparability and compatibility of products and services. The solution must be able to schedule, document, plan, analyse, and manage calibrations on your gauges, test equipment, devices, and measurement standards.

Users should be able to easily and quickly access all relevant information including date of last calibration and calibration due dates, history of previous calibrations, details of equipment maintenance and repair, operating and calibration procedures etc.

Key features should include:

• Automation of calibration schedules, maintenance and repairs,

• Support Type A and Type B measurement uncertainties,

• Choose calibration/maintenance based on frequency or usage, and

• Traceability to in-house equipment calibration and reference (or national) standards.

6. Failure management

The solution should improve products and processes, lower engineering workload, while also improving machines and resource availability by identifying, analysing, and improving high-risk components.

The solution must do this by continuously monitoring failures identified by showing reports and charts with indicators such as seriousness and risk priority, highlighting causes considered to be priorities at each moment. Furthermore, it must also help improve designs of products and processes, resulting in greater reliability, better quality, increased safety, enhanced customer satisfaction and reduced costs.

Most importantly, must enable organisations to improve overall quality and reduce costs and risks while also meeting requirements established by international standards and regulations.

Key features should include:

• Displaying the hierarchy of the entire FMEA structure from the first level (product or process and its functions) down to the lowest levels (recommended actions) and automatically generating the FMEA form,

• Catalogues of products and processes, functions, failure modes, effects, existing causes and controls, ensuring nomenclature standardisation and agility to create FMEA,

• Automatically calculating risk priority numbers (RPNs) and how critical points levels are analysed, and

• Stratification and ranking of failures for a single or set of FMEA using various spreadsheets and Pareto, bar, pie, or area charts.

6. Service management

A service management solution should offer resources that are designed to manage the entire service request lifecycle. It should offer approval controls, service effectiveness, analysis, searches, and reports that give users a quick overview of all service requests.

The solution must also control pending items and notify those individuals responsible for the service. This will give managers and their teams a simple and effective control over their objectives and priorities, thereby optimising compliance with deadlines and results. Furthermore, the solution should automate the request lifecycle based on all service demands by different departments within the company.

Key features should include:

• Automation of process requests for document creation and review, execution of maintenance work orders, calibrations, management of new initiatives and projects, change management, training, asset and supply information, process review etc.,

• Monitor deadlines and sends tasks to those responsible,

• Optimise productivity and quality requests through the use of checklists, and

• Configure levels of satisfaction.

For more information contact Mike Smith, mike.smith@rsph.co.za, www.rsph.co.za

About the author

Mike Smith is an experienced business management systems consultant whose portfolio includes having worked with CEOs, management, engineers, consultants and staff at all levels across a broad range of disciplines in a variety of industry sectors. He is currently engaged by Rifle-Shot as the lead consultant for SoftExpert’s Excellence Suite (www.softexpert.com).


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