Improving Efficiency with a Data-Driven Asset Strategy
Written by Petra Nieuwenhuizen, Product Marketing Manager APM, AVEVA
Efficient operations call for reliable insights—effectively connecting people, processes, and assets—which can be obtained by prioritizing assets based on business risk.
If a manufacturing or processing company optimizes operations, adopts best practices, and cultivates engaged employees, are they guaranteed to exceed industry benchmarks? Not necessarily, especially if production, maintenance, and management teams are not speaking the same language when it comes to making budget decisions around engineering choices and asset strategies. A well-defined asset performance management (APM) strategy is foundational to running a reliable, safe, and profitable plant.
Linking Assets to Business Goals
Operational assets are fundamental to any production operation, yet many companies are challenged to view and prioritize asset maintenance from a wide enough perspective. This is true for older plants built and modified over decades, but it can also be an issue for newer and more streamlined facilities. It is difficult to take a step back from resolving day-to-day issues like the urgent nature of reactive maintenance after a ‘run to failure’ strategy, to make time for examining the bigger picture.
However, after the initial effort of pursuing root cause analysis, many benefits and efficiencies are gained over time. Evaluating assets in relation to business goals can greatly accelerate the creation of accurate decision-making procedures, helping develop a comprehensive risk-based asset strategy.
Companies need a way for all related departments to agree on complete production line risks and associated business impacts, down to the asset level. To accomplish this, reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) draws a clear line linking asset failure behavior and business consequences, and it facilitates consistent communication among departments from the factory floor to the boardroom.
Making Risk-Based Thinking Easier
Few companies are fortunate enough to exhibit full insight into their current state and how this relates to future plans, and many times this is due to insufficient contextual data. A great place to start is by prioritizing assets by risk to the business should the asset fail. The assistance of pre-built libraries based on reliability data amassed by industry experts accelerates this process. With the right data and connections among people, processes, and assets, users can more clearly see the true impact of assets on the business. One asset may not be immediately critical to production, but spare parts are long-lead and therefore any failure would eventually impact output. Or another asset may be promoted to ‘critical’ due to safety and compliance concerns, as opposed to production needs. With consistent data and clear visibility, companies gain the situational awareness to implement an asset strategy focused on enterprise objectives by balancing risk, cost, and performance of assets.
The discussion of how to develop and implement an effective APM strategy often focuses too heavily on just one or two aspects of the people, processes, and assets involved. However, digital systems can be applied to create a holistic solution that:
1. Empowers people by aligning their roles with their talents.
2. Unleashes data flow between systems and people using streamlined processes and technologies.
3. Translates business goals so every person can understand them in context.
4. Uses benchmarking, but makes sure to understand the whole story.
5. Takes a holistic view; start with the end in mind and work backwards to identify the first step.
Insufficient data and isolated teams make it impossible for users to even see where to begin developing an APM strategy. AVEVA can help you get the insights needed to build your APM Framework. Furthermore, we help prioritize assets based on their risk of failure, cost to maintain, and overall contribution to the business. In turn, these considerations can be directly aligned with business objectives for asset availability, HSE compliancy, productivity, and profitability. These actions certainly result in quick wins, and are essential for a long-term strategy of success, viewed through a single lens of truth across the enterprise.