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Enterprise Asset Management Helps CF Industries Streamline Operations

From automating workflows and minimizing vendor communications to reducing costs and increasing revenue, Aveva’s EAM software has proven its ability to broadly improve operations at CF Industries.

Aveva’s interactive wall showcasing EAM software insights applied to a city-wide asset management. Source: Aveva
Aveva’s interactive wall showcasing EAM software insights applied to a city-wide asset management. Source: Aveva

Aveva’s interactive wall showcasing EAM software insights applied to a city-wide asset management. Source: AvevaAveva’s interactive wall showcasing EAM software insights applied to a city-wide asset management. Source: AvevaManaging tens of thousands of assets, especially at large-scale facilities like chemical manufacturing plants, is a herculean task. That’s why companies like CF Industries, one of North America’s largest manufacturers of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers, have long used automation for maintenance planning.

But at some point, even tried-and-true systems face the end of their useful life. That was the case for CF Industries, which was spending more than $1 million annually to keep its homegrown system in sync with the requirements of its growing business. The company turned to Aveva to achieve its connected goals of continuous maintenance planning across multiple facilities, cost savings, and flexibility for growth.

Aveva’s Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system automates maintenance planning and tracking activities on CF Industries’ nearly 50,000 asset entities, including vessels, pumps, rotating equipment, and electrical motors. The software consolidates visualization dashboards and key performance indicators to help deliver a more streamlined business workflow. As a result, CF Industries reports a potential revenue improvement of up to 5% using Aveva’s EAM technology, as well as a reduction in operating costs of up to 10%.

CF Industries’ terminal in Spencer, Iowa. Source: AvevaCF Industries’ terminal in Spencer, Iowa. Source: AvevaTransitioning from legacy asset management
While CF Industries’ previous IBM-based asset management system had worked well over the years, managers at the company reasoned that migration to a Windows-based system would enable the company to further expand its automation-driven maintenance process improvement. It would also provide a familiar, easy-to-navigate desktop environment and a standard, Internet-enabled platform for building future enhancements.

“Because we were already automating maintenance planning in a big way, we had pretty heavy-duty requirements for the new system,” explains Dave Wiedenfeld, group IT project leader, at CF Industries. “We found that the Aveva software had most of the functionality that we needed and also had the flexibility to develop custom applications and integration to support our business.”

In addition to providing a more intuitive interface for users, the EAM software provides a platform for expansion. Using the Aveva applications interface, the company has already added a custom workflow automation tool that generates inventory pick lists from work orders and purchase requisitions. A B2B vendor portal has also been added, which minimizes communications with vendors.

MRO and continuous improvement
CF Industries has now standardized on Aveva EAM software as its core platform for the collection and storage of data on maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) inventory, as well as maintenance and procurement activities on more than 60,000 inventory items across CF Industries’ four manufacturing locations. The company also uses it to analyze equipment data for continuous process improvement.

“The Aveva software takes raw data from Microsoft documents, such as Excel, and makes useful information out of it,” says Wiedenfeld. “This enables us to monitor assets and optimize efficiency. Data analysis that took two weeks is now done in 10 minutes, which opens up new doors for improvement.”

The company has supplemented the EAM system by adopting standard catalog descriptions for all MRO items with the help of I.M.A. Ltd., a supplier of data collection, cleansing, and governance services.

In comparison to the investment the company would have had to make to develop comparable functionality in house, Wiedenfeld says the Aveva system has already paid for itself many times over.

The Aveva EAM software has proven particularly beneficial in analyzing and improving inventory and spending activities. It has contributed to reducing inventory by several million dollars now that CF Industries can analyze inventory activity, such as ordering frequency, number of turns, and inventory value.

The software allows CF Industries to aggregate data on spending and analyzes factors such as number of vendors for common items, price, and delivery performance, which has contributed to savings of approximately $2 million through improved sourcing and contract negotiations.

“For now, we can actually ensure that maintenance materials and services we need are there when we need them, know what it costs to maintain the plant, and know the best way to maintain it based on history,” Wiedenfeld adds. “This puts us way ahead of the game.”

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