Growth insight from the Global Industrial Automation & Process Control team
Over the last two decades, end-user industries, particularly those of an asset-intensive nature, have been widely adopting enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions across various plant locations to achieve operational efficiency and hold a competitive edge in the dynamic business environment. Users leverage EAM to inform their strategic business decisions thanks to these solutions’ comprehensive design that supports effective and efficient planning and management of project lifecycle; assets; resources; inventories; maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO); quality; financial budgets; and risk and audit compliance, as well as promotes a safe environment. As we move towards the new era of Smart Manufacturing, significant advancements are being made to EAM solutions that play a crucial role in establishing a digitally connected ecosystem. Several EAM vendors are redefining their solutions by moving beyond mere tracking and managing of assets towards highly scalable tools that provide the flexibility needed to manage numerous assets, components, and devices from multiple locations across an enterprise.
Integration of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) into EAM software provides access to the huge volume of data generated across an enterprise, inclusive of legacy and high-risk assets. This step-change unleashes new growth horizons for progressive manufacturers who strive to efficiently manage their business processes comprising design, installation, construction, maintenance, and decommission. Additionally, it offers real-time visibility into asset performance that subsequently minimizes the prevalence of data inconsistencies and downtime. This, in fact, lays a strong foundation for users to shift their maintenance approach from reactive to predictive.
Understanding the immense potential of IIoT in boosting operational efficiency, several EAM vendors are adding IIoT-based technologies into their solution offerings. The first step towards this transformation is the launch of cloud-based EAM platforms that enable significant ease of deployment as compared to on-premise models. Though adoption of these future-ready solutions has remained low during the emerging phase of commercialization, EAM vendors in close collaboration with IoT and cyber-security vendors have diligently architected secure cloud infrastructure that prevents data infringement and loss of intellectual property. Now asset-intensive industries such as oil and gas, chemicals, mining, and utilities are gradually and confidently migrating towards cloud-based EAM to more efficiently run their plants. Furthermore, adding new assets, plants, and modules to existing EAM software is simplified because doing so on a cloud platform requires relatively less time and prevents unnecessary delays, which makes scaling both seamless and hassle-free. In addition, EAM vendors are striving to build strong analytical platforms to interpret the massive volume of data collected from assets and business processes, which is then transformed into actionable insights. An extensive range of interactive tools is being developed that gives decision-makers the freedom to harness and visualize data used to measure and evaluate key performance indicators (KPIs). And to please today’s connected customer, EAM vendors offer user-friendly mobile applications for easy access and immediate initiation of corrective measures concerning plant operations and maintenance.
By and large, embracing IIoT in EAM positions users to best achieve the following:
EAM vendors have been working towards eliminating the challenges involved in the implementation model by standardizing their solutions based on industry best practices, which has drastically reduced the set-up time frame from two years to just a few months. This improvement to the software has gained wide acceptance in recent years across industries and particularly among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Moreover, the adoption of EAM solutions is now moving beyond asset-intensive industries and witnessing gradual yet steady investments from discrete and hybrid industries as well. These end-user industries recognize the potential of EAM to achieve production efficiency and minimize operational downtime on their shop floor; it prepares them to track and monitor the health of their assembly lines virtually. Some of the high growth opportunity industries that have exhibited keen interest in these solutions include automotive, consumer electronics, medical devices, and banking.
Looking ahead, Frost & Sullivan expects the EAM model to evolve into a unified platform that eliminates the challenge of interoperability by gaining access to third-party systems and various other data sources thereby facilitating seamless flow and exchange of data between assets, devices, and people. Future advancements to these solutions will likely relate to integration of IIoT-based technologies, such as cloud infrastructure, big data, analytics, and industrial mobility. Ultimately, EAM solutions will become instrumental in manufacturers’ decision-making process driven right from plant operators and engineers up to the management board. This approach empowers end-user industries to take proactive measures by continually monitoring asset performance while fostering safety, security, and compliance across every facility and plant, all efforts certain to boost production efficiency and achieve operational excellence.