What is EAM?

The world of maintenance is full of industry related terminology. Between PMs and CMs to MRO. CMMS and beyond, there is no shortage of acronyms either. One such acronym is EAM or enterprise asset management.

What is Enterprise Asset Management?

EAM involves taking on the maintenance of assets through planning, lifecycle tracking and other activities. Each organization’s physical assets, facilities and equipment require ongoing maintenance in order to operate efficiently. A lack of proper organization can often lead to deferred maintenance, which grows in both scope and cost the longer it is prolonged. This is especially true for facilities—neglecting maintenance activities can quickly snowball out of control. As the maintenance backlog grows and important repairs get pushed back, buildings deteriorate over time.

The word “enterprise” refers to scope of assets, and often includes multiple facilities and departments in more than one location. Keep in mind that assets may include buildings, plants, machines, equipment, vehicles, ships and more. Tracking various types of assets (from beginning of life to end) across all departments, facilities and locations from one centralized system requires an advanced platform.

What does EAM software include?

Enterprise asset management software gives companies the ability to manage multiple assets, users and locations from the same system. It runs on networks, syncs data and gives companies vast amounts of information relating to asset management lifecycles across various sites. EAM software is much like CMMS in its maintenance management features, which may create confusion. In fact, many people think of EAM as a more robust version of traditional CMMS. EAM software includes all the same modules found in a CMMS, plus more. Features typically found in EAM include:

  • Work Orders
  • Work Requests
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Maintenance Scheduling
  • Asset Management
  • Parts & Inventory
  • Purchasing
  • Reports & Graphs
  • Project Management
  • Cost Tracking & Budgeting

Mobile access, dashboards and advanced integration features are usually available to EAM users as well. Not to mention cloud-hosted EAM solutions, which are quickly becoming the go-to choice for many enterprises.

What defines EAM?

A quality EAM system should be flexible and customizable, allowing organizations to tailor the solution so that it accomplishes specific objectives and meets evolving needs. Areas of an enterprise asset management system to customize may include screen views, user access, report layouts and database queries.

There is no one-size-fits-all EAM solution. Every organization has a unique company culture as well as employees with varying skill sets. It’s very likely that at some point in time, organizations will come across an EAM feature that doesn’t function as needed. This doesn’t mean it’s necessary to go out and buy new software, however. Companies can expand the capabilities of enterprise asset management software through customization. Customization adds to EAM software’s capabilities and simplifies the system for end users. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that too much customization could defeat the purpose of using off-the-shelf software. The processes required to successfully manage maintenance are essentially the same across all organizations.

EAM vs. CMMS Software

Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) were originally intended to streamline maintenance, centralize data and introduce an automated approach to managing work orders. Enterprise asset management (EAM) software was intended to manage the lifecycle of assets spanning multiple locations. Although the original intent of each system differs, technological advancements have “blurred” traditional differences between CMMS and EAM systems.

Many CMMS vendors are incorporating features once only found in EAM software. In today’s environment, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and condition monitoring are further enhancing CMMS/EAM solutions.

When journeying towards selecting the maintenance management system for your business or organization, begin by defining clearly the objectives you hope to achieve. Some of the most common reasons for implementing a maintenance management software include:

  • Improved asset reliability and safety
  • Reduction of maintenance costs
  • Access to current technology such as Cloud, Mobile, and real-time Dashboards
  • Integration with other business applications

It is a good idea for any organization to put together a selection and implementation team to work through the selection criteria. This enables representatives from management, maintenance, operations and accounting functions to work together and determine the critical requirements for the maintenance system that will be used to evaluate competitive products. Consider questions like:

  • How many and what types of equipment will be tracked in the system?
  • How many users will there be and how will they access the system (mobile devices or workstations)?
  • Do we want an on-premise system with a private cloud option or do we want a hosted cloud-based system?
  • What are the critical reports and key performance indicators (KPIs) that we need from the system?
  • Will the system need to integrate with our other business applications?

Many of these needs and requirements can be met by both EAM and CMMS solutions. Ultimately the choice of the best software for you is a combination of many factors and priorities for your business.

Focus on the Vendor, Not the Acronym

Both CMMS and EAM software can help organizations enhance maintenance operations, assist in ensuring compliance, improve safety, decrease machine downtime and maximize assets’ return on investment (ROI). As you evaluate options, it’s best to discuss your unique needs with a vendor who offers both CMMS and EAM options at flexible price structures and a variety of deployment methods. DPSI provides all of the above plus excellent customer service, a long-standing reputation in the maintenance management software industry and consistent product improvement based on user feedback.