Redefining The Future Of Asset Management: Four Innovative Approaches  

Asset lifecycle and plant processes are dynamic, and innovations in integrations must not only mirror those dynamics, but present users with a single source of truth for greater efficiency.

By Richard Leurig


Like just about everything else in society and business, technology and increased digitization have transformed the world of maintenance and reliability. Manufacturers with the foresight to invest in critical features such as remote capabilities, comprehensive data, and effective preventive and predictive maintenance scheduling have removed several pain points that hindered efficiency and automation.

Yet pain points remain. Many organizations still struggle to find tools and technologies that work intuitively for their teams that integrate with their current systems. A common culprit is incorrect or incomplete information. For example, varying levels of equipment history and information can result in inaccurate documentation. Having access to engineering documentation and drawings is critical for effective — and safe — maintenance.

Asset Management
(Photo: Shutterstock / Accruent)

The challenge? The asset lifecycle and plant processes are dynamic, and innovations in integrations must not only mirror those dynamics, but present users with a single source of truth for greater efficiency. It must also be scalable to account for tomorrow’s anticipated asset management needs.

Key to this innovation are actionable data and remote capabilities to increase overall efficiencies, reduce operational costs, and automate critical maintenance and reliability processes among four critical pillars:

  1. Enhanced Asset Management
  2. Improved Process Efficiency
  3. Digital Transformation
  4. Employee Safety & Satisfaction

Moving From Tradition To Innovation

Traditionally, system handoffs have been a one-way street: An IoT platform would trigger a work order through a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) when there is a change in condition for an asset, which may or may not be an issue. This process can lead to several opened and untouched work orders without properly addressing the problem (if there is a problem) or acknowledging that the work order can be closed.

Innovation that delivers on four critical pillars removes backlogs that are characteristic of that traditional one-way process:

Enhanced Asset Management. The integration must boost productivity and reduce errors across all departments, including engineering, maintenance, operations, capital projects and IT. A single source of up-to-the-minute information will improve collaboration, and centralized crucial information allows streamlined access to data for predictive maintenance and optimization.

Improved Process Efficiency. Engineering documentation can be tough to manage; it’s usually unstructured, spread across various systems, difficult to trust due to constant change, and needed by many departments simultaneously. Additionally, maintenance teams and plant managers often struggle to access all the blueprints, technical manuals, CAD drawings, or project files they need to complete a given task. Having a solution that tracks parallel changes — for example, by engineering and maintenance – while maintaining data quality is key to successful integrated document management and improved process efficiency. IoT integration also means maintenance can receive automatic notifications to proactively initiate work orders. Proactive decision making reduces costs (such as energy), extends the life of your assets and ensures your assets remain in compliance.

Digital Transformation. Imagine being able to easily share and collaborate in real time on the latest document versions with internal teams and external EPCs using a secure, automated information exchange. Add in capabilities to provide a holistic view of the assets with real-time data to make informed decisions, reduce subscription costs, and prevent vendor lock-in. The combination is essential for any organization to modernize its engineering and maintenance operations and reliable asset management.

Employee Safety & Satisfaction. Innovations in integration must allow global teams to thrive by supporting the entire enterprise versus just one plant or location. Users must also have instant access to up-to-date technical documentation to both minimize safety risks and improve regulatory compliance. A key consideration in the safety component is being able to access data remotely to review necessary information, such as drawings, prior to a technician going to the site. This preparation provides an additional safety layer; for example, discovering that the asset is 20 feet up allows the technician to arrange for a lift or safety barrier before arrival.

Integrating IoT, CMMS, and an electronic document management system (EDMS) creates an ecosystem that transitions from multiple panes of glass to a single integrated environment. The cross-integration of data allows systems to work together seamlessly. As a result, technicians arrive on site with the right tools and parts. This accelerates an asset’s return to full operation – eliminating the recurrent and expensive problem of technicians arriving on-site empty-handed or with the wrong parts due to outdated or inaccurate data.

This redefines asset management and maintenance and is necessary for operational excellence, safety, and compliance.

Unlocking Innovation In Asset Management

Centralized documentation and data in the palm of a maintenance technician’s hand can save them time while increasing their safety. Maintenance and facility managers can prolong the life and value of their assets. Integration is the engine that drives the necessary innovation to take businesses beyond today and construct what tomorrow looks like.

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For Accruent, this means we help plant and facility owners, operators, and engineering contractors utilize whatever they need for more predictive maintenance and operations by facilitating seamless collaboration with teams and between departments. This requires real-time monitoring and instant access to the most up-to-date plant and facility data. Seamlessly integrating IoT, CMMS and EDMS systems delivers a significant competitive advantage for our customers, but it must also be built for scalability. As organizations grow, their integrated systems must adapt and handle increased complexity without losing efficiency.

Streamlined communication between maintenance and engineering systems is a large organizational problem. To be truly innovative, manufacturers need to focus on what they want tomorrow to look like:

  • Intuitive tools and technologies that lead to insights necessary for operational excellence
  • Seamless integration with current systems
  • Access to complete and accurate information, including engineering documentation and drawings
  • Enhanced safety
  • Confidence in regulatory compliance

We know technology is as dynamic as asset lifecycles and processes, but we have to integrate it through a calculated and purposeful lens. Anchoring technological innovation to critical pillars can keep manufacturers on the right path to meet both today’s and tomorrow’s asset management challenges.

Asset ManagementAs Chief Product and Technology Officer, Richard Leurig is responsible for the Accruent global engineering, product and information security teams. Richard is an accomplished executive with nearly 30 years of experience driving customer-focused and commercially successful innovation in complex product and technology portfolios for several major organizations.

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