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Digitization in Enterprise Asset Management

I have seen Asset Management practice transform a great deal since the time I was first inducted into this domain. From a black board charting the overall equipment status and files holding hundreds of thousands of documents maintaining equipment logs, we have indeed come a long way to have a full-fledged computer systems for our Asset management needs. I may sound like an old school, but actually I have seen this transformation happening within a very short span. Must say that the change has been overwhelming, even better is the rate at which this is continuing to happen. I take a closer look and it seems as if this evolution has been conspiring for a development or should I say a gradual move towards a Digitized framework. I believe that this is not just another technological phenomenon but has something to do with the inherent changes the Asset Management function by itself has been going through lately. Through this blog, I would like to discuss few of these changes which I think has reinforced this digital trajectory in Asset Management.

Traditional asset management v/s the contemporary
Traditionally Asset Management operated in confines of a central Maintenance department. Since the time an Asset was put into operations until it was salvaged or deemed to be discontinued, they were pretty much tagged along departmental boundary. Containing key Asset information such as historical maintenance Logs, Equipment manuals, purchase and registration Information, warranty and lease details etc. which typically existed in an analog forms, in a way met the requirements in a standalone Maintenance scenario. But now, look around and you would see that Asset Management as a practice is increasingly becoming a shared service, shared across multiple departments and sometime across the enterprise boundaries. Asset as an entity has overlap with multiple department within the Organization, be it the purchasing department dealing with the procurement of Asset and its Spares and have responsibilities of tracking critical information on tracking Warranty and Lease information or a safety department retaining critical safety related information such as clearances, permits and certifications. While these departments are not directly involved in the Maintenance functions, they are dependent on it to provide them with the information on Assets on a timely manner to operate their functions more effectively. As Asset Management function leaped the confines of the Maintenance department, it became essential to enable information sharing with external departments. Digitization of Asset Management came as a savior here. It enabled easy capturing and archival of key Asset information such as historical maintenance records, work logs, technical bulletins, safety rule books, the manuals etc. to a format enabling easy storage. Not only this, it also enabling the publishing of information packages which could be exchanged seamless and used by the stake holders as and when they needed it.

Supporting Next- Gen Asset Management through data portability and Smart Infrastructure
Equipment's are getting smarter, even our ever smart Maintenance folks are now equipped with smart devices which helps them to perform their not so easy day to day EAM functions in an effective manner. Digitization thrives on these developments to enable a successful knit of Maintenance functions and these intelligent systems. . Instrumentation controls intertwined within an Assets helps in relaying meaningful Information on Asset performance and health. These information have now become essential in channelizing the Maintenance programs and in some cases cut down on unwanted routine checks and maintenance operations thereby helping in a leaner Asset management functions. Data portability had been an issue within the Asset management space, it would have been a toiling exercise to carry an Asset manual to the repair location for decipher a complex hydraulic oil flow directions. With Digitization, the situation is much easier to manage now with the information within a handheld device, enter marking if needed, as compared to referring an illegible oil drenched manual. As Asset Management witness this new age, it is hard to ignore the much spoken about Asset Management practices such as Predictive and Prescriptive Maintenance. Digitization here helps, for example in converting the signals or distress signs from an Assets into comprehensible messages or indicators of an imminent failure, thus enabling a faster identification and resolution of faults. For enterprise engaging a third party expert for managing their Assets or scenarios involving vendors managing their equipment fleet deployed at Customer facility, the entire Asset Management experience can be enriched a great deal using a digitized maintenance management framework. Real time remote monitoring which has been enabled by virtue of Digitization of Asset information will give Asset Managers a comprehensive of their Asset base. Be it Assets operating in far off sites within the organization or across, the key Asset operational and history information is just a click away.

Though digital asset management may seem like a technological advancement, it is essentially a catalyst to catapult the fast evolving maintenance practice across industries. According to me, the digitization in Asset Management has a strong potential to contribute towards the revival of the domain. However, it is important to understand how Digitization can help to address your organization specific Asset Management needs. This understanding has to be in place before embarking on this journey of Digitization and building any hopes around experiencing a related transformation and a positive contribution towards the Asset Management function.

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