What is EAM software?
Enterprise asset management (EAM) software collects and analyzes data for physical assets during all phases of the asset lifecycle, including the acquisition, maintenance, and disposal phase.
EAM software is used by large organizations that have outgrown basic CMMS software. These organizations have hundreds of physical assets (machinery, equipment, etc) and employees that are responsible for managing the asset lifecycle. These employees, referred to as asset managers, are also responsible for making decisions that require them to track warranties, depreciation, and downtime.
In terms of features, the lines are becoming blurred between CMMS and EAM software as some CMMS products allow asset managers to track these items. But true EAM software gives asset managers the ability to track every phase of an asset’s lifecycle and provide full transparency about its historical and present state to other departments. Simply put, it’s much more than work order management software.
How EAM software facilitates asset lifecycle management
The asset lifecycle is broken into four main parts or phases (indicated in blue in the graphic below). EAM software gives organizations the ability to track each phase by entering data into the EAM software. The software then produces reports that help organizations make business cases for acquiring new physical assets and repairing/replacing existing assets.
Phase 1: Design and specify
Organizations review maintenance and performance reports for existing and decommissioned assets with EAM software. These reports help organizations design a strategy for acquiring assets that provide the greatest output or utility at the lowest cost. Specifications of the ideal asset are documented and sent to procurement.
Phase 2: Procure and build
A purchase order feature is included in EAM software to facilitate the procurement of new assets. When a purchase order is fulfilled, asset managers and procurement departments are notified. When the asset is delivered, the asset is installed and data is built out in the EAM software. Relevant data includes commission date, equipment value, asset location, primary technician, and PM schedule.
Phase 3: Operate and maintain
The EAM software records and analyzes the asset’s activity that’s recorded by the equipment’s users and maintenance personnel. Barcodes can be attached to assets. These barcodes are connected to the EAM software. When an asset breaks down, the user scans the barcode with a mobile app and creates a work request. Technicians also use barcodes to easily view active and historical work orders for an asset onsite.
Phase 4: Decommission and dispose
When an asset reaches the end of its useful life, asset managers and financial departments review depreciation, maintenance costs, and other information that helps the organization decide whether to decommission the asset or keep it operational. When the asset is disposed, records are archived in the EAM software for future audits.
Popular EAM software features
When equipment breaks down, asset managers can manually log downtime in the EAM software based on the timestamps on fault codes or work requests. Also, when equipment is marked as non-operational by technicians during repairs and PMs, downtime is automatically tracked by the software. This provides a failsafe in case accurate downtime is not logged manually.
This is a safety feature that documents and enforces the physical lockout-tagout devices that are used during maintenance on dangerous machinery. By tracking lockout-tagout and check in/out procedures in the EAM software, everyone in a facility knows when an asset is unavailable. Technicians also have a source of reference for completing procedures correctly.
Data that’s logged in EAM software shows the performance of assets in terms of reliability rather than production output. Seeing how reliable a machine is over time informs asset managers and procurement whether that machine model should be purchased again. Maintenance reports also help technicians troubleshoot issues. They can view a historical record of previous issues to understand why and how the asset fails.
Asset managers can connect their software to financial software like Quickbooks to align their efforts with the organization’s financial department. This data-sync streamlines financial audits and helps organizations manage the complete asset lifecycle without requiring financial departments to learn how to navigate the EAM software.
An organization without hundreds of capital assets and multiple locations may not require EAM software. A better alternative is CMMS software. However, because each type of software can contain similar feature sets, it’s best to make a purchase decision based on the applicability of the product rather than the product’s software category.