Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) meets PLM

May 26, 2009

According to Wikipedia EAM is: the whole life optimal management of the physical assets to maximize value. It covers such things as the design, construction, commissioning, operations, maintenance and decommissioning/replacement of plant, equipment and facilities. “Enterprise” refers to the management of the assets across departments, locations, facilities and, in some cases business units.

Several PLM vendors offer capabilities supporting Maintenance Repair and Overhaul/Operations (MRO). MRO may be defined as, “All actions which have the objective of retaining or restoring an item, asset in or to a state to reliably perform its intended capabilities (for which it was certified/released for usage)”.

In several posts I will be writing how both the EAM/MRO and PLM worlds interface.

Let me first explain and position MRO relative to the enterprises that are using it. There are basically three MRO operational scenarios.

  1. An OEM that provides a maintenance service to assets that a client bought/leases/rents and operates.
  2. An asset owner/operator that operates a maintenance organization to maintain assets it owns.
  3. A third party service provider (like a garage) that does maintenance for a selection of clients that operate assets.

I’ll be referring to each of these models as appropriate.

Considering scenario 1) All asset technical information is sourced by the OEM, in addition asset operational data is so to say; instantly available, almost directly from the log book, i.e. the hours, cycles and service events.
In the case of scenario 2) all of the OEM sourced asset technical information can/needs to be obtained from the OEM. The asset operational data is not any different from 1) and readily available.
Lastly; in the case of scenario 3) neither the asset technical information nor the operational information is instantly available, all information needs to be retrieved, i.e. the asset technical information, the operational data as well as the service events that took place. All this data needs to be updated in the maintenance planning phase.

As a general notion all asset technical information is produced through and managed by applications you could consider to be part of a PLM framework, so there is tremendous potential if asset technical information could be shared between the EAM/MRO and PLM domains.
Why companies want to embark on an integrated single point of asset technical information is driven from a number of objectives:

  • Integrated management of product development operations with management of actual product instances during the service life.
  • Provides manufacturers and owner/operators with a shared view of key information of interest to both.
  • Part Catalogs and Maintenance Instructions have a many (3D) graphical elements, making these available as part of a Enterprise Content Management approach saves much maintenance effort (reuse). It assures that those that depend on it receives the right information at the right time against the right asset definition (configuration managed). Note: It is worth mentioning that for example the S1000D standard is concerned with the procurement and production of technical publications such as the Catalogs and Instruction called earlier. It is an SGML/XML standard for preparing, managing, and re-use of asset information concerned with maintenance and operations.

The value to an OEM

  • An enterprise wide As-Maintained product configuration provides a closed loop cycle between engineering and operations for assessing failure records and change request and to provide visibility that service recommendations (Service Bulletins and Directives) have been incorporated in the field.
  • The closed loop cycle also improves communication between engineering, service teams and owner/operator.
  • While it further brings OEM’s a new revenue stream to provide asset data management and maintenance services to customers (e.g. power by the hour)

The value to an owner/operator/service provider

  • Earlier access to the latest applicable product information/state to better decide on maintenance strategies and state of product aspects, do I repair vs. replace, are there alternate parts (PMA’s), where are these products further used, etc.
  • As the latest product definitions are completely digital (3D) you could even simulate maintenance processes in 3D and this would support for example product repair manuals and maintenance instructions which again would increases asset availability

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