It is an all too often occurrence. Corporations, government agencies, and business alike spend endless time, money and resources gathering asset information just to have it become quickly outdated due to a lack of strategic planning for the future. It is a common occurrence.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting with a friend in business who is a Director of Maintenance. He works for a government agency who had just gone through such an exercise. His story was extremely familiar. He told me that approximately eight years ago, the government started a program with school districts in their jurisdiction to collect and inventory all assets, noting their current state and approximate value among other bits of relevant data.
This project included well over 500 school buildings and associated infrastructure. The government purchased an off the shelf Asset Management Software System (or EAM) and contracted a company to audit the entire region with the help of local staff who were, of course, already working at capacity.
It took approximately three years to complete the audit.
After another two years the government realized that the data was starting to become “stale” and out-of-date. It was decided that the region would be divided into areas and local staff would use the Asset Management Software to print out lists of assets on spreadsheets, update the data and send it back to the software company who would then manually enter the data.
If all this sounds a tad off to you..….it should!
The downfall of most BIG lists is that they are generally out-of-date the day they are completed due to the time required to collect the information and create them. So the challenge is to find a mechanism that keeps the list of asset information current and up-to-date.
In this case it’s the Computerized Maintenance Management System or CMMS that comes to the rescue.
The CMMS is like the heart of the operation. It works in conjunction with other systems, like the EAM, gathering and disseminating data, keeping it current and passing the fresh data along to fuel the overall operation.
A typical integration between CMMs and EAM is done by first creating a link between the two systems’ asset registries. It is critical that each system has the same set of asset records. This is done by assigning one system as the “owner” of the data and the other system a “user” of the data. New asset records are entered to the owner system and then fed to the user system via an interface. The user system is generally secured so that the records cannot be changed. There are other similar configurations that work as well. The end result is that the two systems maintain an identical set of asset records, no matter how it is accomplished.
Once a secure and reliable interface is constructed, we can move forward and update the EAM with data from the CMMS.
The CMMS is constantly updated by field personnel, getting information regarding changes and condition of the assets. Work Orders are generally the means by which the data is collected so they serve as a good point of data extraction. The interface from the CMMS to the EAM sends updates to asset records such as:
- Condition updates
- Cost of Materials
- Cost of Labor
- Cost of Outside Servicing
- Total Cost to Date
- Current Value
- Current Location
This data can all be sent to the EAM System to ensure that the true current status and replacement value of the assets are kept accurate. Assets that are moved now have an accurate, up to date location status (which is great information for the GIS, but that’s another topic for another time). Future asset replacement cost can now be properly calculated based on information gathered in the CMMS and sent to the EAM.
In the end, the CMMS acts like the heart does to the body, pumping out information as it arrives. The CMMS feeds the other products like EAM, finance and business intelligence tools spanning the gaps of your enterprise. Make no mistake about the fact that the result requires an initial investment. The upside, however, truly outweighs the alternative of having stale, outdated information.
So before you jump into your next big asset data acquisition project, make sure you take into account the requirement for the ongoing upkeep of your data. Failure to do so could result in having to do it all over again ……..and again. In this case it’s about having a good CMMS system interfaced to the EAM to ensure you get the best out of your data.