Not that long ago, asset-intensive organizations took a strictly “pen and paper” approach to maintenance checks and inspections of physical assets. Inspectors walked along an automobile assembly line, manually taking notes in an equipment maintenance log. Teams of engineers performed close-up inspections of bridges, hoisting workers high in the air or sending trained divers below the water level. Risks, costs and error rates were high.
Enter the era of the smart factory floor and smart field operations. Monitoring and optimizing assets requires a new approach to maintenance, repair and replacement decisions. Work orders are now digitized and can be generated as part of scheduled maintenance, thanks to connected devices, machinery and production systems.
But challenges remain. How do enterprise-level organizations manage millions of smart, connected assets that continuously collect and share vast mountains of data? And what is the value of managing that data better? The answer lies with migrating from siloed legacy systems to a holistic system that brings information together for greater visibility across operations.
This is where Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) comes in. EAM is a combination of software, systems and services used to maintain and control operational assets and equipment. The aim is to optimize the quality and utilization of assets throughout their lifecycle, increase productive uptime and reduce operational costs.
A March 2022 IDC report detailed the business value of IBM Maximo®, one of the most comprehensive and widely adopted enterprise asset management solution sets on the market. Interviewed companies realized an average annual benefit of $14.6 million from Maximo by:
Improving asset management, avoiding unnecessary operational costs, and increasing overall EAM efficiency
Improving the productivity of asset management and field workforce teams using best available technology
Enabling the shift from legacy/manual processes to more streamlined operations via automation and other features
Supporting business needs by minimizing unplanned downtime and avoiding disruptive events and asset failure, while improving end-user productivity and contributing to better business results
Supporting business transformation from scheduled maintenance to condition-based maintenance to predictive maintenance
EAM on the smart factory floor
In a smart factory setting, EAM is an integrated endeavor where shop floor data using AI and IOT can come together to reduce downtime by 50%, reduce breakdowns by 70% and reduce overall maintenance cost by 25%.
These wide-ranging benefits can be seen in action at Toyota’s Indiana Assembly, where a new car rolls off the assembly line every minute, and each process in the vehicle’s assembly must be flawless and it’s become business critical to have zero downtime and defects.
Smarter infrastructure for bridges, tunnels and railways
In the U.S. alone there are more than 600,000 bridges. One in three of these bridges is crumbling and in need of repair due to structural cracks, buckled or bent steel, rust, corrosion, displacement or stress.
Sund & Bælt, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, owns and operates some of the largest infrastructures in the world, including the Great Belt Fixed Link, an 11-mile bridge that connects the Danish islands of Zealand and Funen. To inspect bridges, the company often hired mountaineers to scale the sides and take photographs for examination. This kind of inspection could take a month, and the process had to be repeated frequently.
Seeking a next-generation EAM approach, Sund & Bælt collaborated with IBM to create an AI-powered IoT solution, IBM Maximo for Civil Infrastructure, that uses sensors and algorithms to help prolong the lifespan of aging bridges, tunnels, highways and railways. By automating more of its inspection work, the company is on track to increase productivity by 14 – 25% and reduce time-to-repair by over 30%.
These anticipated benefits mirror the strong business value of IBM Maximo displayed in the IDC report, which projects the average organization will realize an average annual benefit of $1.3 million per 100 maintenance workers, resulting in an average five-year ROI of 450%.
To learn more how an EAM solution can improve productivity and reliability while reducing costs in a safe and sustainable way, read the IDC Report.