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by Taylor Short,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: November 29, 2016


Enterprise asset management (EAM) software offers businesses a way to manage maintenance, spare parts inventory and asset tracking across an enterprise. In terms of functionality, EAMs are related to traditional computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS)—but EAM software goes further, helping manage the entire life cycle of equipment and other assets.

In this guide, we’ll describe the common capabilities of EAMs, the benefits they provide and a comparison between EAM and CMMS software. This can help buyers determine the right system for their needs. We’ll cover:

What Is EAM Software?
Common Functionality of EAM Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?

What Is EAM Software?

An EAM system is sometimes described as a “CMMS on steroids,” but this is a bit of an oversimplification. As a starting point, however, let’s review the common functionality of a CMMS:

These tools help users manage the maintenance of assets and equipment, from generating work orders to using reports to identify areas of improvement. Many EAM systems will offer CMMS functionality. But an EAM takes it to the next level, adding complete life cycle management functionality to help users realize the full return on investment in assets.

EAM systems emerged in the 1990s, as tools to take advantage of computer networking via the Internet. Instead of using isolated CMMSs at each facility, companies could adopt just one EAM system and standardize with it across the enterprise.

Today, several CMMS vendors have morphed their product into an EAM system, added features or marketed their system as handling both. So, while the distinction is blurry, the rise of EAM gives larger companies robust tools for their enterprise maintenance goals.

In short, companies will want to use an EAM when taking a more holistic, analytical view of operations. A CMMS is a repository for data—but an EAM system can facilitate data-driven decision-making.

The chart below shows some basic differences between CMMS and EAM functionality:

CMMS
EAM
Track and store machinery and spare parts Track and store machinery and spare parts as well as broader asset categories, including IT assets and facilities
Analyze data about machine downtime, work order completion rates and maintenance costs Analyze data about all types of assets and financial information for departments and locations at a high-level
Schedule and track maintenance through work orders Schedule and track maintenance; plan and follow capital projects through completion

Common Functionality of EAM Software

EAM applications expand the scope of a stand-alone CMMS beyond maintenance management, in order to maximize the useful life of assets. These applications can include:

Asset hierarchy. Forming an asset hierarchy helps keep track of several pieces of equipment across multiple locations. For example, a company may want to group CNC (computer numerical control) machines separate from manually controlled machines, both under the umbrella of “plant machines.” Going further, each CNC machine can be separated into its individual components, giving management a full view of all assets, their component parts and how they are related. In addition, users can assign owners to assets, which helps keep things organized when scheduling work.

Purchasing and procurement management. These tools can help with ordering spare parts, requesting quotes and logging other vendor information. Many systems will remind users to order parts based on established minimums or dates, and can store information about vendors, such as average delivery times and pricing. With this information logged, management can more efficiently manage inventory by generating reports and analyzing data.

Project management. This allows users to generate projects and organize budgets, assets and employees from start to finish. Project management tools can display various metrics and key performance indicators, such as expected finish dates and planned versus actual costs. For example, EAM users may want to track the progress of an equipment overhaul in a particular department, or monitor the construction of a new facility.

Infor EAM Project Management Metrics

 

Project management metrics as shown in Infor EAM

Condition monitoring. This application can be found in both a CMMS and an EAM. It offers maintenance personnel a way to monitor an asset’s operating conditions by streaming real-time data, collected via sensors, into the system. This allows for the most accurate readings, so problems are identified as early as possible.

Safety management. This helps management stay on top of all policies related to fostering a safe workplace environment. In it, users can store related documents, define procedures and establish responsibilities for employees in case of workplace hazards.

Inspection management. Manage occasional inspections on equipment, and automatically generate work orders when inspection results fall outside established ranges.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Before evaluating systems, determine which type of buyer you are:

Small-business maintenance manager. At many companies, a maintenance manager is primarily focused on completing work orders in an appropriate time frame, reducing labor and inventory costs and maximizing the availability of critical equipment. A traditional CMMS can meet these needs, and the extra functionality found in many EAMs—including project management or inspection management—may go unused.

Maintenance manager with multiple locations or facilities. Midsize to large companies are more likely to realize the full value of an EAM’s wide range of functionality. Managers who will be tracking and maintaining assets across an enterprise, with multiple locations and departments, can use an EAM to dissect data and make informed decisions and projections. And, of course, you’ll still get all the benefits of core CMMS features.

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