Optimisation programs are often undertaken with an eye on making a particular process more efficient in isolation. But when asset management information systems and processes are delivering on their potential, in alignment with the organisation’s strategic plan, there are sweet spots that can be found across the entire business when orchestrated correctly.
The safety of employees, environment, community and the assets themselves is perhaps one of the more surprising benefactors of a robust asset management system. When job plans take safety requirements into account, potential risks and contingency plans are considered in advance, rather than coming as a surprise when the job is in progress. Stability during the planning and execution phases means that work can be carried out in a more controlled and relaxed environment which itself leads to more focus on the job at hand and less decisions being made on the fly with increased risk.
Planning and scheduling work in advance means a greater proportion of maintenance takes place in a workshop environment, where the conditions are most favourable. Completing the same work in the field in response to breakdowns introduces more variables and risks, with safety implications and consequences for the quality and efficiency of the work.
Optimised asset management systems correctly apply labour resources to maintenance, with limited over or under utilisation. This becomes possible with a sound understanding of the labour requirements for maintenance tasks so that the volume of available resources and schedule of work can be kept in balance.
The other, somewhat more difficult to measure HR benefits result from an increasing focus on planned and scheduled maintenance over reactive works. Maintenance teams that wait for assets to fail and then rush around putting out fires, inevitably find they become more stressed and disengaged over time. Frustration and frayed nerves lead to burn outs and high staff turn over in key roles, not to mention quality, safety and compliance implications. High staff turn over means more new starters, with increased training and recruitment requirements, and potentially the loss of corporate knowledge each time someone leaves.
Inventory and materials management is an often overlooked component of the asset management process. However, the more stable and predictable maintenance requirements are, the lower the stock holdings can be. Ultimately, organisations can work closely with vendors to negotiate fixed price supply contracts. In addition, lower stock holdings need less warehouse storage, less labour requirements for managing inventory, and fewer resources are consumed in urgent procurement of materials and services for unplanned requirements.
Without a planned maintenance schedule, production targets are continually under threat from unplanned downtime. Accelerated wear and tear means that assets fail to achieve their full service potential, and operations staff are not utilised at their capacity due to unavailability of equipment. The realisation of planned and stable maintenance practices resolves these challenges. Improving asset reliability typically also delivers increased production output and organisation success.
Financial returns touch on each of these sweet spots, from lower recruitment and training costs, to increased reliability and longevity of assets. Most importantly, an optimised asset management practice means budgeting decisions can be made with the benefit of data driven insight on the maintenance works required for higher and more stable operation of reliable assets.
Feature image supplied courtesy of Unitywater.