Master data is master for a reason. It is the basis for high quality asset management information. Complete, accurate, and up-to-date information helps organizations make informed business decisions that will improve asset performance, reduce health, safety, environmental risks, and lower costs.

Good information is the holy grail of asset management. Every asset-intensive operation wants it. And yet, not everyone succeeds in getting it.

In this quest, many asset-intensive organizations have invested heavily in Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems over the last 25 years. Yet, despite considerable expenditure, organizations complain that benefits have been slow to materialize and are difficult to measure. Managers say they still can’t access the information they need.

If everyone is after it, why is high quality information so hard to get? Why is it so elusive?

Useful asset management information is a product of several things. You often hear people, processes, and technology cited as key information drivers. That’s true, but there is a fourth piece that is essential for creating superior asset management information, yet it is often overlooked. That piece is EAM Master Data.

MRO Master Data

The EAM software system is composed of two types of user data – master data and transactional data.

Master data refers to static data structures that are stored in the asset information system. It includes the materials catalog, equipment master, PM master, vendor master, etc. and coding structures, such as work order types, failure codes, and equipment classes.

Master data provides a standardized library of information about an organization’s assets, materials, PMs, vendors, and other business objects. Coding structures are used to sort, group, and filter data.

Master data is the foundation of the EAM system. It interacts with business processes (e.g., work identification, scheduling, etc.) to create transactional data, such as work orders, pick tickets, and purchase orders. Each time a transaction record is created, the system will reference master data. Work orders are created on equipment records, for example, and parts are issued from a materials catalog.

EAM System Performance Pyramid

As transaction records are created, the system builds up a history of information about asset-related events. This transactional data is the basis for reporting and analysis. Mean time between failures (MTBF), equipment failure analysis, reorder point analysis, and many other analytical tools rely on transactional data for their insights.

In addition to its role in helping to create transactional data, master data also plays a key part in performance measurement, analytics, and system usability. That’s why bad master data is so lethal to good information; master data is the starting point for everything the EAM software system does. Thus, developing good master data is crucial if you want to pull useful information out of your software.

Master your master data

In order to make good business decisions, decision makers must know how often a piece of equipment has failed, whether critical parts are being stocked, how much preventive maintenance is being completed on time and so on. Without good master data, it’s impossible to come up with reliable answers to such questions. Thus, although it can take time and effort, master data development is essential to getting the information you need.

If the master data in the EAM system is poorly developed, system performance will suffer, no matter how much you invest in EAM software or practices. People, processes, and technology are important, but don’t forget about your master data. It is the foundation of your asset management operation.

If you need help mastering your EAM master data, please let us know. Our libraries, tools, and domain expertise can help get your EAM master data driving rich and actionable asset management information. For a complimentary demo of our libraries or just to chat about your data challenges please contact us at info@swainsmith.com.

Thanks for reading.