EAM as an Essential Digital Tool for Utilities

One of the most asset-heavy global industrial domains that require EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) functionalities is the utility and power industries. One would not be exaggerating if said that healthy assets are the lifeblood of a healthy utility ecosystem. Utility asset classes can range from asset systems deployed in a single room to a spread that spans over cities and towns (maybe even states). Some of the main utility asset types are dams, distribution, electrical grids, gas pipelines, storage wells, substations, transmission lines etc. The dynamically ageing infrastructure, constantly-changing laws and regulations and the hiked-up asset management expenses are adversely affecting utility services across the globe. Thus, keeping asset management and maintenance as the most painstaking responsibility of utility service enablers urges the need for utility service providers to be assiduous in selecting the features of the EAM system they wish to adopt. 

This article helps the reader understand the functionalities, features and benefits of utilising an EAM solution by the utility service sector in terms of maintaining and managing utility asset spreads in the modern age.

What Is an EAM and What It Means to the Utility Industry

When used in sectors that rely significantly on asset utilisation, an asset management solution may assist in better managing and maintaining mission-critical equipment throughout whole operations. This is why the use of an EAM System is highly encouraged by IT practitioners when advising utility industry players at any point of the globe. An EAM system optimises the management of an entity’s physical assets- machines, buildings, facilities, fleets etc.- over their entire lifespan, from capital planning, delivering, deployment, utilisation, maintenance, dynamic compliance, risk and cost management until asset disposal. This system harbours all tools, models, metrics, and dashboards required to track the asset operations and conveniences against asset resources, talents, time, effort and cost that can be afforded by the company. The utilisation of EAM is required to preclude liability in case the company is expecting an asset failure or inconvenience. This is why the installation of a reliable, user-friendly and modern EAM has been deemed a mandatory upgrade (rather than a good-to-have software) by most utility service enablers. 

Utility Service Perspective of EAM Functions

Keeping track of the dynamic asset conditions, work order histories, usage, compliance, repair history and maintenance requirements of hundreds of assets is a responsibility that is entrusted by utility asset managers. However, making sure that all asset workflows and maintenance requirements are met on time is an arduous duty unless the asset custodians are using an EAM solution. Here are the main modules, functions and tools that can be utilised by utility asset managers of the modern age.

Modules that Boost The Longevity, Performance and Resilience of Asset Infrastructure

EAM solutions can house technologies to integrate asset information and feed them to smart analytical models to ensure a guaranteed optimisation of the performance of the total asset system at one go. With the maturity of the models and supply of real-time data, these models are built to assure that all asset infrastructures are available for operation without spontaneous breakdowns, expensive maintenance emergencies or substandard performances. Modern EAM solutions have asset failure prediction tools, decay matrices, lifecycle management models, degradation curves and many other modules that work in unison to serve this purpose. It connects and facilitates asset managers in getting the bigger picture of all asset infrastructure lifecycle activities to evaluate their operational status more accurately. The modern EAM is developed to involve all the key stakeholders and decision-makers in managing assets across the target utility domain, thus, making asset decisions more informed and relevant.

Tools to Spark Better Asset Maintenance and Operations

EAM modules also have smart operations management modules that give asset managers the closure to maintain and dispatch asset service teams in the appropriate manner. Using predictive tools, asset managers can schedule asset investigations and report asset performance profiles in a graphical and easy-to-read manner. EAM solutions allow the user to maintain overall asset network quality from an elevated level, for they can use data to manage emergency responses, follow up on asset maintenance schemes, and minimise the impact of scheduled maintenance and asset upkeep using a single glass pane. The real-time asset monitoring tools can automate asset lifecycle management to improve the resources and decision support management to ensure that the target service supply is always met. With smarter maintenance, utility service enablers can make sure that the responsiveness and customer satisfaction of the utility company will be healthy and that the loyalty and trust of the client are not bruised with reprimands and criticisms.

EAM Functions that Grant Utility Service Surety

Utility service providers do not only have to manage healthy assets using EAM services but also focus on how compliant the asset management practices are against as much as the changing asset, and environmental laws are concerned. EAM systems help asset management to secure data and maintain compliance using a cloud-driven architecture. It helps the asset managers of the utility systems to peak performance without relying on IT support services, in other words, giving them a self-service, long-term solution to make sure asset management strategies do not break any ethical considerations or legal laws. They can even invite the public they are serving to be a part of their operations by embedding a portal for their service users to report any complaints, emergencies or feedback in a prompt manner. The insight from the service user will help the utility service providers to transform the business with deep industry knowledge accompanied by pragmatic inputs from the public. 

EAM and Utility Asset Management Benefits

The EAM System is tailored to bring forth several advantages for asset-heavy utility service providers. In a world where data is regarded as a ‘king’, EAM makes sure that utility service companies improve services while increasing ROI and saving time in a single effort using smart data tools. The ability to improve and simplify workflows to minimise bottlenecks and hassles is one of the most significant advantages of adopting EAM software. Here is a detailed list of the best benefits that you, too, can enjoy by employing an EAM solution. 

  • Accurately measure ROI and OEE levels for each asset
  • Capturing asset KPIs using smart data tools that study data trends
  • Deduce operational efficiency of infrastructure
  • Get an in-depth analysis of asset expenses and investments 
  • Improve the collaboration and communication of key stakeholders
  • Increase asset uptime by ruling out impending asset breakdown 
  • Keep an eye on asset life cycles from procurement to disposal
  • Keeping track of asset performance in real-time
  • Predictive and preventive asset maintenance programs
  • Prioritising work orders based on process-based schedules 
  • Smartly manage inventory control
  • Tracking field worker efficiency per asset workstation

Expected Utility Asset Management Trends

With a combination of stationary and linear assets, utility giants must safeguard the protection of their personnel and equipment while servicing communities. Utility assets are instituted across plants, city-scale sites and rough and distant outdoor areas. By offering benchmarking capabilities, ongoing documentation management, and communication portals on planned and operational asset performance, EAM supports the industry’s reliability-centred maintenance efforts. 

The future of utility asset managers predicts a complete reliance on technology, and hosting an EAM suite must be a decision they should have made by now. If your utility organisation is still not at the leading edge of the utility industry, it is high time to embark on the digitalisation journey and adopt a suitable cloud-based EAM solution that suits the unique requirements of your organisation.