Increasingly, manufacturing organisations are being challenged to maximise the value of assets throughout their lifecycle, particularly during the operational phase. Yet in many manufacturing organisations, the EAM system (or CMMS) still exists separately from other business systems such as ERP, and it’s not uncommon for different departments, such as production and maintenance, to maintain their own databases with job information. While it’s possible for manufacturers to function using disparate systems, this fragmented approach may impede downstream improvement efforts.
When processes aren’t integrated, teams are likely to duplicate efforts and data entry is likely to be completed manually, which is inefficient and potentially flawed. Asset-intensive, multisite manufacturers in particular, who rely on the continued performance of their physical assets, need to make sure their Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems work well with their ERP systems to fully deliver on their strategic plan. When EAM and ERP are properly integrated and supported, they can also add a layer of risk mitigation and situational awareness.
At present, there are multiple ways to deploy an EAM solution. Organisations may choose to implement stand-alone solutions which deploy quickly, but don’t eliminate data silos. Most manufacturers choose to implement third-party solutions that are later ‘bolted’ on to their ERP systems. These third-party solutions often include robust feature sets, but the number of features makes for a complex data integration effort, and has the potential to overwhelm the employees who must use them in the end.
Five benefits of an integrated EAM system
The ideal scenario is to build the EAM system on a foundation of intelligence, which is achievable by fully integrating the EAM with other business systems, such as ERP. A built-in approach streamlines disparate systems and enables manufacturers to gain the following benefits:
1. The elimination of duplicate tasks
Streamline the asset management process by integrating EAM with your ERP. When you use separate EAM software, you can lose sight of the impact asset management has on the organisation. It’s far too easy to duplicate tasks or botch information when you have to input numbers into two separate systems.
2. Added insight into the financials
An EAM solution will give you insight into the lifecycle of your assets, which can improve predictability and prevent costly breakdowns. When you incorporate your EAM into your ERP platform, you can get more information about how asset management impacts your financials. The EAM module can help you schedule, plan, and execute work, while the financial costs, depreciations, and capitalisations are handled in the ERP as a whole.
3. More profitable assets
Assets must be monitored and controlled in order to bring them to life and maximise your return on assets (ROA). Integrating your EAM with your ERP allows you to manage assets while controlling their financials, resulting in significant savings.
4. More efficient processes
Adding an EAM module to your ERP gives you the opportunity to automate important tasks that will extend the lifecycle of your assets. For starters, minimising paper-based administration will improve efficiency. You can also automate the creation of quality checks to keep an eye on your equipment, keep tabs on your parts and inventory, and efficiently plan and schedule new jobs.
5. Increased uptime
Without an EAM system, it’s too easy to lose track of assets — especially if you’re managing several facilities in various geographical locations. EAM will provide insight into your inventory so you can manage service calls and repairs, and keep your equipment in working order. Unexpected breakdowns are costly, and an EAM system can help you avoid them.
It’s quite clear that EAM systems are more about managing the organisation’s physical assets across the enterprise over the entire lifecycle to minimise cost and risk while maximising return. ERP systems, on the other hand, are better at managing financial assets.
Bring both systems together with an effective integration strategy underpinned by software, and they can focus on what they do best. Indeed, EAM and ERP systems need to be seen as partners, not competitors, in the continuing effort to help organisations reduce costs, meet regulatory demands, and boost performance.
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