Introduction

Enterprise asset management (EAM) seeks standardization and consistency. In a multi-plant environment, getting everyone aligned and managing their assets in a similar way can be challenging. Geographical separation, lack of documentation, limited corporate assistance, and absence of standards are some factors that inhibit teamwork and encourage individuals to do things their way. “Go Your Own Way” is a great song by Fleetwood Mac, but it’s not a great asset management strategy. When sites take different management approaches to identical and similar asset classes, it introduces variability, risks, and higher costs into the operation. What’s more, a golden opportunity to leverage resource knowledge and build an asset management community within the organization is missed.

Standardizing how the company’s assets are managed is what enterprise asset management (EAM) is all about, and it’s not as hard as one might think.

Let’s start by breaking down the EAM operation into its key elements: data, practices, organization, technology, and performance management.

Standardizing Asset Management Master Data

Your standardization journey starts with your EAM master data. Master data is a fundamental building block of the asset information system (ERP/EAM/CMMS). The sites should share naming conventions, codes, hierarchies, nomenclature standards, and taxonomies. When it comes to master data, there is no room for deviation. Master data is master for a reason. Your reporting (e.g., KPIs, Operational, etc.) and ability to effectively and efficiently use the EAM software system are dependent upon standardized master data structures. Don’t overlook these.

Standardizing Asset Management Practices

The next step is standardizing practices, processes, and procedures. Work management, MRO materials management, and procurement processes should be the same across all of the plants. Processes create data. Different processes at the plants will create inconsistent EAM data and reporting outputs. Benchmarking one plant against the next will be difficult if not impossible.

Minor deviation is allowable at the procedure level to accommodate site specifics, but adherence to the practice must remain the same. For example, it is a best practice to develop a weekly maintenance schedule. The development of this schedule should be required. But the timing of when the schedule is published might vary based on work schedules.

Download an ISO-compliant Weekly Work Schedule Practice from our EAM Operating Model™.

Practices make perfect. Great data begins with great practices.

Standardizing the Asset Management Organization

Standardizing asset management is best done from the top down. This starts with the executive team. There should be an organizational asset management policy and strategy as well as a common set of objectives that guide asset management decisions. At the functional level, everyone should operate in swim lanes—even the folks wearing multiple hats within the organization. Roles and responsibilities should be defined across the asset management operation. The Maintenance Planner at one plant should be responsible for the same things that the Maintenance Planner is at the other plant. Having a clear and defined asset management vision with the right organizational structure puts people in the best possible position for them to be successful at what they do.

Standardizing the Asset Management Technology

The concept of standardization is not new in the technology arena. Consolidating and centralizing software systems is a common focus of many multi-site organizations. This makes sense. Managing disparate applications across the enterprise hurts reporting and is more work.

The key here is not to get software tunnel vision.

Software alone will not solve your asset management challenges. Rolling the software out across the organization is a good thing. Standardizing on its use is a best practice but don’t stop there. You still need to standardize the elements that drive software performance. Your codes, conventions, practices, roles and responsibility, procedures, strategy, etc., are what make ERP/EAM/CMMS successful information delivery tools. Don’t forget these on your journey to effective and efficient asset management operations.

Standardizing Asset Management Performance Management

The last step is to standardize how you monitor and measure performance. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be the same across all sites. Asset management auditing tools and methods should be identical. All of the sites should be measured and scored the same way, against the same set of standards.

Summary

Standardizing asset management operations across the enterprise makes sense. It establishes common actions and common vernacular, getting the whole organization working and thinking together. This is what enterprise asset management is all about.

We help organizations across the globe establish best practice standards for their asset management operation. If we can help you develop yours, please contact us at info@swainsmith.com.