Asset and Reliability Management Applications

We are continually monitoring the adoption and use of enterprise applications within the manufacturing sector.

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As part of this ongoing process, we recently surveyed the manufacturing community about applications they have implemented and their plans for acquiring additional functionality over the next three years. The survey addressed functionality within 16 domains of interest to manufacturing.  Each domain consisted of functionality segments that addressed "basic functionality," as well as more advanced categories of functionality within the segment.

Basic Asset Information Management was defined as functionality that supports the entry and management of basic information needed to efficiently and effectively maintain the asset. This includes asset hierarchies; maintenance, repair and operations (MRO); bills of materials; links to maintenance and safety procedures; standard preventative maintenance; cost codes and the like. Seventy-five percent of respondents stated that they already have Basic Asset Information Management functionality. The remaining 25 percent of respondents stated that they plan to adopt this functionality within the next three years. This level of adoption indicates that the market for this basic functionality is mature, and that most manufacturing organizations likely feel that this “Basic” functionality is a requirement for effective management of asset information in today's environment.

Areas of greatest manufacturer interest for adoption were integrated access to plant design information, integrated access to operating history and hot spot drawings. Almost 90 percent of respondents (those that currently have, plus those that plan to acquire) are expected to have integrated access to plant design information within three years. This trend is consistent with ARC's belief that convenient access to comprehensive, accurate asset information is a vital prerequisite for increasing benefits from one's asset management program.

There was little interest in “On-demand” or “Software-as-a-Service” solutions in this or any of the other functional categories within the Asset and Reliability Management domain. This may be due to the fact that many companies already have solutions, they consider a lot of the information in such systems to be confidential, or the fact that such solutions have widespread use across most asset-intensive manufacturing organizations, which may lend itself more to a traditional implementation.

Basic Work Management was defined as functionality supporting the creation, planning, scheduling, execution, documentation and tracking of all work performed by or managed by the maintenance organization. Sixty-nine percent of respondents stated that they already have Basic Work Management functionality—making this a moderately mature set of functionality.

Applications of greatest interest in this area were integration with Real Time Condition Monitoring systems, integration with maintenance strategy solutions, i.e. Reliability Centered Maintenance, and geographic information system support. Integration with Real Time Condition Monitoring systems is the Asset and Reliability functionality receiving the greatest level of investment interest from manufacturers. This level of investment interest is consistent with ARC's 10 percent growth forecast for sales of plant asset management systems (systems that collect, store, and analyze real-time asset health information). The high level of end-user interest in integration with these systems is likely due to anticipation of substantial benefits in plant availability and workforce efficiency that predictive maintenance strategies enable.

Getting Proactive

Interest in integration with Maintenance Strategy Solutions is further evidence that manufacturers are increasingly adopting more proactive approaches to asset care. Maintenance Strategy Solutions support a proper analysis of potential failures and rational development of preventive and predictive maintenance plans to minimize the risk and costs of failures.

The value of Mobile Wireless solutions lies in their ability to enable more timely and detailed flow of essential information to and from the mobile workforce. Prior ARC research has shown this to be an area with great potential for growth.

Clint Reiser, creiser@arcweb.com, is Enterprise Applications Analyst, and Houghton LeRoy, hleroy@arcweb.com, is Senior Analyst, Enterprise Software, at ARC Advisory Group Inc., in Dedham, Mass.
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