Leveraging the industry’s top EAM system
Does your organization have Infor EAM? If so, you own the best EAM software system on the market, according to Gartner’s 2017 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Asset Management Software. If you had doubts before, you can be confident now that you’ll chose the right EAM product. Go ahead—give yourself a pat on the back.
But if you’re struggling to make your Infor EAM implementation a success, Gartner’s evaluation doesn’t help much. In fact, you may be scratching your head and thinking, “If the software is so great, how come we are struggling to make it work?” You may be asking yourself, “If the software is the best in the industry, why can’t we get the information we need to make informed and educated asset management business decisions?”
Here’s the thing: it takes more than a great EAM software system to get great results. Most people think you buy the software, you set up the software, and you start reaping the benefits. But it’s not that simple. As Yoda said, “You must unlearn what you have learned.” It takes more than technology to make technology successful.
The good news is, Infor EAM is the best product on the market. It just needs the right approach to be successful.
What does EAM success look like?
EAM success is when Infor EAM works with the other aspects of your operation to create business value. You can visualize this as a pyramid. The foundational elements of your business, such as policies and processes, are at the bottom. Infor EAM and other technology, such as control systems and the industrial internet of things (IIoT), build on that foundation. All of those elements work together to create rich and actionable information. This enables you to make intelligent and educated asset management decisions, which create savings, increase uptime, improve product or service quality, and produce other benefits.
It takes more than technology to make technology successful.
Value creation can be visualized as a pyramid with process and technology on the bottom and savings and reliability at the top.
Thus, to make your investment in Infor EAM pay off, you have to stop focusing on the software. Instead, you must think about the key drivers of EAM success and then focus on those. So, what are those key drivers? There are five of them: organization, business process, master data, key performance indicators (KPIs), and technology.
STEP 1: Organization
EAM success depends on organizational alignment. Everyone has to buy in and work together. You can improve alignment by documenting some key organizational elements: policy, objectives, strategy, and roles and responsibilities. Together, these elements will provide the leadership component to your Infor EAM implementation.
Getting everyone moving together is one of the biggest challenges in asset management.
The asset management policy is a mandate from the executive team on how your organization will manage its physical assets. It establishes the overarching vision and key value drivers, connecting what happens in asset management to the delivery of corporate objectives.
Objectives bring focus to your enterprise asset management and how it should be implemented. They should be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, targeted (SMART) goals that are tied to the business drivers identified in your policy document.
The asset management strategy lays out a step-by-step program for achieving your objectives. It should describe initiatives and timeframes for each stage of your EAM implementation, taking into account things like organizational context and potential implementation challenges.
Roles and responsibilities are how you organize your organization to be successful. By defining and documenting them, you ensure that everyone knows their jobs and works together smoothly to accomplish the same objectives. You should establish clear roles and responsibilities for all of the business functions where you are implementing Infor EAM. This means not only maintenance but also materials management, procurement, and others.
STEP 2: Business process
Processes are critical to a successful Infor EAM implementation. They spell out how your organization conducts business and interacts with the EAM software system. If you don’t have standard processes—or if your processes are not aligned with best practices—EAM won’t deliver the information you need.
Here’s an example. Say that you want to track the most common causes of equipment failure. You’ve set up Infor EAM’s Asset Tracking module, and you’ve loaded a set of failure codes. But if you don’t have a standard process for closing out work orders, those failure codes won’t be keyed in consistently, and the report won’t be accurate.
The same principle applies to every area of asset management. If you are implementing Infor EAM’s Materials Management module, you should establish standard processes for managing spare parts and MRO materials. If you are implementing the Purchasing module, you should formalize your procurement process. (Documentation is essential here. The only way to standardize your process is to write it down. Remember: if your process isn’t documented, it doesn’t exist!)
If you don’t have standard processes—or if your processes are not aligned with best practices— EAM won’t deliver the information you need.
Processes, practices, and procedures are the heart of an asset management operation.
Processes should be designed around business needs and best practices. They should not be tweaked and stretched to fit the way your EAM software happens to be set up. Remember, Infor EAM is the most flexible EAM system on the market. It can be configured to support whatever process you design. So take advantage of that flexibility. Design the best processes for your organization, and then configure Infor EAM to make those processes happen efficiently.
STEP 3: Master data
Master data and coding sets form the foundation for everything that happens in Infor EAM. They provide essential information that is used to complete work orders, spare part requests, purchase orders, and other transactions. They also provide the standardized names and codes that are needed to filter and analyze data.
This extract from an MRO materials catalog is a good example of cleansed and standardized master data.
If you want to be successful with Infor EAM, you need to develop good master data and coding sets. This includes your equipment master (i.e., asset registry) and MRO materials master (i.e., spare parts catalog), as well as coding structures for work orders, equipment failures, MRO inventory, and so on.
Notice that I said “good” master data and coding sets. Bad master data creates just as many problems as no master data. For example, if the equipment master contains two records for the same asset, work orders for that asset could be attached to either record, making it difficult to get an accurate work history or cost summary.
To avoid problems like this, keep in mind the five characteristics of good master data: complete, accurate, clean, standardized, and structured. The database should contain every item with all pertinent information for that item. All information should be correct and up to date. Records should not have duplicates or spelling errors. Asset and part descriptions should follow consistent naming standards. Finally, assets and parts should be organized into a hierarchy (using the Asset Hierarchy Management module in Infor EAM) so that costs “roll up” from child assets to parent systems.
STEP 4: Key performance indicators
Identifying and implementing KPIs allows you to see if you’re achieving your objectives—in other words, whether or not your EAM implementation is paying off. Keep in mind the five characteristics of good master data: complete, accurate, clean, standardized, and structured.
KPIs are also an important way to promote change. If you haven’t established KPIs, you’re going to struggle to drive improvement with Infor EAM.
The KPI for Emergency Maintenance Percentage is an important measure of reactive maintenance.
There are a few things to keep in mind with KPIs. First, each KPI should have a benchmark and a target that is tied to an objective. For example, if one of your objectives is “increase MTBF by 5% over the next 18 months,” you should establish a KPI for MTBF that measures progress toward that goal.
Second, performance measures are all related. One can impact another. Because of this, you should organize your KPIs into structured hierarchies. If inventory cost is high, for example, you need to be able to drill down and see the cycle count percentage, because low inventory accuracy can drive up inventory cost.
Third, it’s not enough to simply measure performance. If you want to improve, your KPIs need teeth. In my experience, the most effective way to get change in an organization is to tie KPIs to paychecks. You can do this by function (e.g., maintenance, procurement, materials management) or by role (e.g., buyer, technician, supervisor). Any change—building weekly schedules, organizing the storeroom, etc.—is more likely to stick if you give people an incentive to follow through.
If you haven’t established KPIs, you’re going to struggle to drive improvement with Infor EAM.
STEP 5: Technology
Now that you’ve established your organizational elements, it’s finally time to think about technology. Infor EAM is the MVP of your tech team, but there are other players, too: control systems, IIoT devices, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and others.
Infor EAM is a powerful platform for integrating and leveraging your asset management technology.
First and foremost, you have to make Infor EAM easy to deploy. The goal is to create a partnership between your users and the technology. You want the software to be embedded into your team’s activities. You want them to rely on EAM and make it an integral part of their work.
That will only happen if you make the EAM system easy to use. People want to get into the system, get what they want, and get out. The fewer the clicks the better. If you don’t make the technology easy to use, your people will reject it. They’ll say, “This is the hardest piece of software I’ve ever had to work with. I can’t find the info. I can’t finish my work orders,” and it will kill buy-in.
Making the software easy to use starts with configuration. Infor EAM will not have the exact configuration you need right out of the box. That’s not a design flaw; it’s an opportunity. Configuring EAM to fit your needs is one of the keys to a successful EAM implementation. You should design your EAM system to serve your People want to get into the system, get what they want, and get out. The fewer the clicks the better organization by customizing user profiles, dashboards, data conventions, screens, menus, and other settings.
To get the full value from Infor EAM, you also have to integrate it with the other technology in your operation. This includes IIoT, SCADA, BAS, and control systems on one hand. On the other, it includes your organization’s ERP system and any other business intelligence (BI) tools that may need to draw information from the EAM system. By integrating your technology systems, you allow them to share data, maximizing the value that each one provides.
Once you have data in the system, you need reporting tools that will turn it into meaningful, actionable information. With Infor EAM you have three basic tools for doing this. Dashboards give users easy access to the information they need daily, such as stockout events or past-due PMs. Reports analyze a certain set of information, such as the reasons for work delays or the costs of equipment failures. Scorecards grade how well users or departments are performing on KPIs by measuring actual performance against strategic goals.
Custom reports, such as these for work planning effectiveness, make it quick and easy for users to get the information they need from the system.
Bringing it all together
The above drivers do not operate independently. They are interconnected and depend on each other to fully accomplish their own missions. As the value pyramid earlier indicates, these drivers work together to form a model for EAM success—a management system that provides a foundation for asset management activities and the technologies that follow. Taking a management system approach to making Infor EAM successful is internationally accepted and recommended by industry asset management standards ISO 55000 and PAS 55.
A complete model for Infor EAM success takes into account all the drivers of asset management performance.
Getting your ROI from Infor EAM
You’ve invested in the best software; now it’s time to make it pay off. Infor EAM offers a wealth of features that can make your asset management operation more effective and efficient. But it can’t do the job alone. An asset management operation is a complex system with many interconnected parts. To see real EAM success, you have to look beyond the software and address the whole system.
Combining Infor EAM with a “management system” approach results in long-term and sustainable value creation.
When you do that, the value compounds. You don’t just get better information from the EAM system. You also make your team more productive and open up opportunities for further improvement. You’ll start finding more ways to use Infor EAM to streamline activities and add capabilities. And that, in turn, will create more value and open up even more possibilities.
Getting your operation into an upward spiral of continuous improvement may not happen overnight. But you already have the software to make it happen. Now you simply have to start on the path to improvement. And it only takes five steps to get started.
To see real EAM success, you have to look beyond the software and address the whole system.
SwainSmith, Inc., has been providing Infor EAM solutions since 1997. We solve clients’ EAM challenges by addressing all of the drivers of asset management value: organization, business process, master data, performance improvement, and technology. Our unique “management system” approach is backed up by ISO 55000, PAS 55, and 20 years of client success.
We can help you develop an organizational model for EAM success—a model that includes policy, objectives, strategy, roles and responsibilities, business processes, master data, coding structures, and key performance indicators. We also provide technology services to optimize your Infor EAM software system and integrate it into your operation. Our technology services cover Infor EAM configuration, integration, reporting, and training.
If you have EAM challenges, we would love to talk. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a complimentary consultation. To learn more about SwainSmith and how we help clients succeed with EAM, visit www.swainsmith.com.