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On Guard: A Primer on EAM Safeguards

Primer on EAM Safeguards

How can your organization set up solid EAM safeguards?

Downtime risk aversion is a natural antithesis to cost efficiency in the world of enterprise asset management.

When industrial businesses adopt EAM tools and develop proactive and preventative maintenance strategies, they seek, in theory, to lower operational costs while raising operational excellence. In practice, however, many facilities find these two elements in constant, inextricable contention. In a traditional sense, austere cost-cutting measures only increase a company’s risks because such initiatives usually involve less oversight. Inversely, striving for greater OEE has almost always meant shelling out more resources and increasing opex.

“Safeguards help business leaders visualize their total risk profile.”

If your facility finds this back-and-forth between operational risk and operational expenses dizzying, perhaps you need to pay closer attention to your safeguards. These valuable tools help business leaders visualize their total risk profile with clarity and accuracy so availability and cost management achieve ideal alignment.

How do we define safeguards?

Simply put, a safeguard is any application or process put in place to reduce inherent risk. Safeguards range from general, like environmental metrics from an HVAC unit or roof integrity checks, to the specific, like uninterrupted power systems for key assets and clean steam generators.

Be aware, however, that while most safeguards are purchased outright, their management must be customized by EAM adopters through CMMS and next-gen asset management tools. Otherwise, these pieces of equipment only expand risk instead of working alongside adopters and toward consummate reliability.

What is a good safeguard comprised of?

In short, information – both accurate real-time data and verifiable historical data into past performance and operations – as well as channels through which to access and share findings with the right people.

But information requires a standardized method for organization. We’ve identified seven categories all safeguards fall into and, when utilized properly, dramatically improve total asset management:

  • General facility management/maintenance.
  • Asset operator care.
  • Asset operator setup.
  • Asset operator training.
  • Asset performance management.
  • Proactive maintenance optimization.
  • Spare parts analysis.

Each of these categories will consist of separate subcategories, or elements, according to what assets and operations individual businesses possess and implement. Facilities management, for example, includes elements like pest control and physical security, among others.

Asset adopters should also attribute exact data sources to each safeguard, otherwise known as safeguard criteria. Criteria may be anything from exact values in performance reports to the results from routine team reviews.

Lastly, safeguards should each have a safeguard ID, of perhaps no more than five or six characters in length, identifying the safeguard’s designated category and a unique numerical. For example, since your pest control assets aid in general facilities management, you may give it the ID “FAC01.”

“Safeguards must regularly undergo checks for robustness.”

What is safeguard robustness?

As with every tool and asset under an adopter’s purview, safeguards must regularly undergo checks for robustness. Safeguard robustness relates to users the health of current safeguards and evaluates their efficacy as determined by particular safeguard criteria. We encourage users to adopt a safeguard robustness evaluation scorecard model to clearly visualize robustness and organize information.

An SRE scorecard uses a three-tiered color-coded scoring system to determine safeguard efficacy: full evidence, partial evidence and no evidence. SREs should also include a total score, a percent out of 100 illustrating safeguard adherence to assigned criteria.

How does optimal safeguard management improve operational excellence?

When your asset management strategies move away from reactive models and toward proactive ones, your team will require tools to adequately gauge inherent risks, identify trends in equipment deficiency, prioritize maintenance accordingly and mitigate residual risks.

Well-maintained safeguards even have the potential to enhance prescriptive maintenance recommendations, which further push asset management into the realm of data-driven autonomy where manual inefficiencies cannot impede progress.

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