Do you remember the moment you got your first mobile phone? A piece of technology that was going to change everything! And it did.
If you had to use that same brick today, it would be an enormous disadvantage and quite frankly, would send you mad. The role of technology is to make our lives easier, which means constantly evolving to give its owner an opportunity to be more productive.
In business today, gaining a competitive edge is achieved by leveraging great technology, and unfortunately, what was great yesterday, without evolution, will seldom be great tomorrow. The Asset Management Council of Australia acknowledges the important contribution of asset management and its benefits to modern business through improved cash flow, P&L and the balance sheet. Therefore, when expensive, mission-critical capital equipment is present in a business environment, progressive enterprise asset management (EAM) software should be too.
ELEMENTS OF THE RIGHT ASSET MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE TO MANAGE THE SERVICE SUPPLY CHAIN
Put simply, the right asset management software is the one that suits your business. However, what can be considered a requirement for any Australian asset intensive company is that their asset management solution is an enabler.
In the service industry, the more you know, the more you can measure and control. The right software should have the capability to address the entire asset lifecycle, from asset planning right through to construction, maintenance and decommission. Today, service providers need to receive work orders automatically from their customers’ call centres, for example, schedule and carry out assignments, report completed jobs, from mobile devices when required, all the while maintaining real-time insight in the process – and giving their customers the same overview.
The reason you wouldn’t use your nearly 20-year-old mobile phone today is that it would restrict you from operating at your potential. Assessing the right asset management software should be done on the same principle. From head office down to field technicians and back, make collaborative asset lifecycle management (ALM) an efficiency-driving reality.
Below, I will cover some elements you may want to consider as you evaluate the functionality your business will require to manage the service supply chain with integrated asset management software. However, you may also wish to download this white paper on selecting enterprise asset management software.
FUNCTIONAL ASSET MANAGEMENT NEEDS
Sound business principles are built on strategic thinking, and managing and servicing assets is a perfect example of this. To support taking a long-term focus to your assets, you need timely, contextual information at your fingertips to provide effective business decision making.
Whether it is establishing the value of an asset or its cost of replacement, this information should be accessible to the management team to support them in navigating the right direction for the business.
The right asset management software will service the needs of heavy equipment and other capital and linear assets including complex maintenance, repair and overhaul of capital equipment. It will reduce asset downtime and the overall total cost of ownership by focusing on – and optimising – the full service and asset management lifecycle. IFS customers report 10% improvement of asset update, 95%+ rate for meeting customers’ SLAs and 100% completion rate of all planned maintenance.
In many Australian industries today, margins are being squeezed by growing competition and consumer demands, driving the need for businesses to operate more efficiently. As a result, successful organisations are always looking for opportunities to generate more from their assets. Whether it is gaining foresight into potential future downtime or identifying opportunities for consolidating plants, your asset management software needs to support your ability to make the right choices.
SUCCESS THROUGH INTEGRATION
Today, your smartphone allows you to access your calendar, open the appointment and click the address, which opens a map and navigates you to your meeting. You can check the meeting agenda from the email attachment and call your colleagues to discuss preparation. All of this is done using multiple applications seamlessly together to support a positive user experience.
Let’s pause and instead of thinking about the benefits of integration, think about the deficiencies of disconnectedness.
As we enter 2017, it doesn’t make sense to operate any technology that acts like a spoilt brat that takes its bat and ball and goes and plays on its own. You need software that takes its bat and joins in with the rest of your applications as they ping the ball around without it hitting the ground.
Cooperative Research Centre for Infrastructure and Engineering Asset Management’s Guide to Integrated Strategic Asset Management highlights that integrated strategic asset management is a function, which draws together a range of elements in a holistic manner, for the delivery of built assets. Their guide focuses on taking an integrated approach to managing built assets and furthermore, recognises the dependencies that various asset management elements have on one another.
Taking a software perspective to this concept, consider the value to your business if your enterprise asset management solution totally integrates design, engineering, procurement and maintenance while covering HR, finance, customer relationship management (CRM) and all of your back-office requirements.
This type of integration is arguably not just the future for asset management software in the Australian market, but business applications as a whole. Coordinating the interrelationships between business functions in a way that gives a broad picture of what is going on, as well as allowing users to influence what is happening, is the way progressive businesses will support growth and profitability, by reducing costs, increasing revenues, improving efficiency, enhancing customer satisfaction and maximising asset uptime
WIDER POTENTIAL IMPACTS
The elements we covered in this article only serve to scratch the surface of important factors, which determine effective asset management solutions.
There is one other element which is worthy of discussion, which at times can be overlooked when identifying the need to change/upgrade software systems. That is the wider impact on human resources when ineffective asset management software is used.
You will no doubt have a team of great employees who need to be motivated, challenged and feeling that they are part of a progressive organisation. These people are the drivers of your software. If you want to retain your best employees, and attract others like them, it is important to help them grow and see that the business is committed to best practice.
Aside from the obvious risk of having a great team underperforming, or even worse, having them leave altogether, is that when employees have to use software solutions that have restrictive functionality and are difficult to use, then you run the risk of them resorting to manual, disparate methods. Resultantly, such actions from your team, with all good intent, can still pose a range of risks to the business, from security to data integrity and beyond.
Therefore, aside from any policies or systems you may have in place, should there be a desire amongst your team to avoid using features of a software application, then this illustrates a deficiency that is likely to cost your business in one way or another.
In this age of digital transformation, the successful organisations will be those who adopt the right tools. As an asset-intensive business, that means harnessing software that streamlines your front-end and back-end systems to manage the asset lifecycle, service the supply chain and operate without restriction.
A complete service management suite, from finance to the field, is the platform that will deliver success for mission-critical asset maintenance work in the years ahead. Such solutions will allow their businesses to manage complex, long-term projects with budgeting and forecasting tools and sophisticated project planning capabilities. The question isn’t whether the market will experience a digital evolution, but whether your business will be on the right side of the digital transformation.
For more information on this topic, download the white paper: How digital transformation is reshaping the enterprise service industry.
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