Manage Your Present To Plan Your Future: Make Good Asset Management A Priority
December 4, 2017
Business Development Manager, Facilities Division
POWER Engineers Incorporated
This article was originally published on Ron’s LinkedIn account
A master plan is a living document with a three-to-five year look ahead for capital spending. This includes process and production equipment replacement, expansions, and building renovations. How does your company budget for and prioritize upcoming maintenance and capital projects? The process of master planning can either be a huge headache, or a well-organized and methodical task. To avoid failure or even unnecessary floundering, I suggest implementing asset management: a system your company can use to accumulate data for making informed decisions. While it may take some time initially to collect the necessary information, asset management is the first and most critical component of master planning.
Begin with the end in mind
Spreadsheets are fine, but not for managing significant volumes of data. To handle the amount of information required to aid you in master planning, an asset management software database can track every single component within your organization. There are many asset management platforms out there for your company to choose from. The database can catalogue pertinent equipment information such as model number, serial number, maintenance requirements and frequency, spare parts, and estimated time for routine and annual work.
To begin, use the information you have, in whatever format, and grow your database from there. Building your asset management platform will not only catalogue your equipment in a searchable database, but also track and generate work orders, spare parts inventory, operational dates, and contractor costs; anything associated with buying, maintaining and/or replacing every pump, motor, boiler, or fan in your facility.
The benefit is that data is managed by department, location, and system. The fields are custom-built by the team using it, which ensures those expected to record information will buy into the process and use the data. Work orders are issued to each person responsible for the task to be completed. Data is then entered by the users, including information like completion time, costs, and parts utilized.
Reports can be generated in a customized format to track a history of operational and maintenance costs with predictive budgeting in mind.
For example, with an asset management platform for a motor control center (MCC) arc flash study, you can not only track every MCC section to its connected piece of equipment, but also program arc flash reporting to occur every five years. This means that code issues, preventative maintenance, recommendations, planned replacement of hardware and system updates can be recorded and maintained on a regular basis.
Build your toolset
A master plan budget written with substantiated data is invaluable. Gaining experience with asset management has led our team to some critical items to monitor for smooth planning:
- Clearly define each asset and specify the targeted result. Here are some questions it might be helpful to ask prior to beginning: How in depth do you need to go? Should you define the departments? What network system (Oracle, SAP, JD Edwards) is the backbone? Does your asset management software work well or at all with your platform? How do you store the data; on a local server or the Cloud? What about access and security?
- Make sure your entire team has input on what is tracked and why.
- Allow sufficient time to build the database. Our team has helped at sites with up to almost 10,000 monitored assets in hundreds of buildings, down to a single factory with a few production lines and support utilities. While the needs of different facilities may ultimately be the same, the larger the facility, the longer it will take to gather data.
- Assemble a wish list of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” A master plan is like a well-prepared shopping list. Begin to prioritize the list by needs, costs, or what helps your organization assign value to spending capital dollars.
- Assign categories of priority; for example, safety or environmental issues must be addressed immediately and often receive high priority. Break downs or planned capital equipment replacement typically receive medium priority. Production additions or de-bottlenecking projects receive a lower priority and are usually based on a return-on-investment level the company is comfortable with. A risk matrix allows the team to prioritize the capital for each year.
With a little preparation and a solid look at costs, you can create a believable master plan to provide guidance for your company.
Upkeep is key
It may seem obvious, but routine preventative maintenance is often ignored, which becomes critical when neglected maintenance causes production downtime.
A significant part of asset management, and therefore master planning, is risk minimization. Being proactive with planned outages can help minimize impact on production.
Let’s revisit the arc flash study example. Assume an organization has 75 locations, with a wide age range of electrical gear. Many of the MCC rooms are not in current code compliance.
An arc flash study was initiated to identify single point-of-failure issues and confirm factory reliability. Once each site was surveyed by an arc flash contractor, the reports were reviewed, which allowed issues to be identified by risk factor. Projects were funded to design replacements, and corrective actions were taken, as needed. It was determined the arc flash reporting needed to be scheduled on a five-year rotation, so a budget was assigned. This cost then became part of the companywide master plan, all now tracked in an asset management software platform.
Sum of the parts
Knowing your assets, planning for risk minimization, and utilizing the tools at your disposal will help determine capital spending on an annual basis. It may take some time up front, but implementing personalized asset management that has employee buy-in can help your company make important decisions and minimize risk.
Mr. Pagel is responsible for client relations, contracts, master planning, and resource planning. He is a seasoned senior project manager and process engineer with experience in all phases of capital project management from conception to startup. His experience in the food and agribusiness processing industry includes capital improvement projects, on-site construction supervision, development and execution of facility master plans, and bulk material handling.
Connect with Ron on LinkedIn or send him an email if you have questions or comments for him.