How collaborative asset management benefits operators and OEMs

Oct 08, 2017
  • operations
  • automotive
  • chemicals
  • SAP

Throughout the lifecycle of an asset — like a machine or a piece of equipment — tons of structured and non-structured data is created. This information is distributed among the machine manufacturer, operator and different departments, such as engineering and maintenance. Ensuring that it is accurate, up-to-date and easily accessible, however, is no easy feat. Collaborative asset management provides a way to pool and share the right asset-related content to the right people at the right time, benefitting both the OEM and the operator.

Broadly speaking, asset-related data comes in two forms: structured and unstructured. Most of this data is digitally available, but can be difficult to retrieve, mainly because of the large number of installations and corresponding asset management complexity. Critical information is often collected and stored in an enterprise asset management (EAM) and/or enterprise content management (ECM) system.

Critical questions

Collecting this critical data remains a very time-consuming job when implementing such a system. For example, to make the information usable, the following questions need answering:

  • Which data is critical and which isn’t?
  • In what format will we store the data’s characteristics?
  • Do we link the data to the asset or the function? And if it’s the latter: to which level?
  • Should we classify the data? How? Do we use our own system or a set standard (ISO, CEN…)?

Data across the asset lifecycle

Across different phases of the asset lifecycle, multiple forms of non-structured asset data are required as well. Most state-of-the-art ECM systems cover these business needs.

Accurate and easy

Once collected, all structured and non-structured information is stored in an ECM and/or EAM system. After that, another challenge awaits: how can we keep all this information up-to-date, accurate and easy to consult?

Failing to do so can have a big impact. Recent studies on Hands on Tool Time (HoTT) talk about 40% indirect productivity inefficiency. The main causes are miscommunication, waiting time, unavailability of materials and inability to find the correct technical documentation.

Why digital twin is a win-win

But what if real-time digital information could be shared between manufacturer and operator or service provider? This situation is called a ‘digital twin’, in which the operator has real-time access to all data — structured and non-structured — knowing that it is up-to-date and accurate.

The manufacturer, on the other hand, has insight into the performance of its products in the customer’s installation. This gives them the opportunity to perform closed-loop lifecycle management via data gathering, analytics, and product improvements. In short, it’s a win-win for both parties.

Collaborative asset management

By enabling this sort of collaboration, SAP Asset Intelligence Network has become one of the new key elements of smart asset management. As a cloud-based central repository, it helps businesses to collect, track, and trace equipment information. In this way, operators can access up-to-date maintenance data, sheets and manuals, while manufacturers get vital information on asset usage and failures. It is a vital step towards truly smart asset management.
Author: Geert Hermans. You can connect with him on LinkedIn

Data is an enterprise asset