Energy Efficiency Isn’t Just for the “Big Boys”: How SMBs Can Also Benefit with EAM

As of late, I have been taking a closer look at the area of energy efficiency and how this sector could possibly benefit from Enterprise Asset Management…and the resulting information and statistics have been eye-opening, to say the least.

In the past, organizations boasting major facilities practiced EAM for years, but in recent times this landscape has shifted dramatically – today, successful companies are relying more on technology and smarter asset management, because it seems to be a requirement for staying competitive within:

• An uncertain economy
• Growing global competition
• Added regulatory pressures
• An aging infrastructure

In the realm of energy efficiency, this approach is no longer relegated to the “big boys,” as even small-to-medium-sized businesses in this sector are benefitting from Enterprise Asset Management. You see, EAM has grown to include sustainability that focuses on energy efficiency, and companies boasting plants, facilities and equipment are now facing a daunting reality: Energy consumption seems to be eroding profit margins. As escalating energy costs continue to grab a larger part of the maintenance and operating budget, corporate suits have to focus on the challenge of managing energy use, in addition to growing public and governmental concerns regarding carbon emissions and other pollutants.

To meet this challenge head-on, software enterprises – i.e. companies such as IBM and its Maximo asset management solution – have been stepping up to the proverbial plate to provide advanced tools for monitoring energy consumption at asset level, with the goal being to support maintenance, replacement and process control decisions and even behavioral change. What is the result when these tools factor energy demand management with traditional asset management functions?

• The elimination of waste for better operational efficiency
• Lower energy costs
• Improved regulatory compliance from lower carbon emissions

While we will cover the actual energy costs of not integrating with an EAM in a separate article, it’s important to note here that asset management systems – and the companies behind them – are striving to facilitate continual improvement in energy performance. The challenges that face such companies run the gamut from figuring out a way to combine people, processes and technology that support energy policy to strategic planning which will provide visibility for monitoring, measuring and analyzing asset performance. The systems would also need to identify nonconformities, corrective actions and preventive measures, adding auditing capabilities for conformance.

Since we touched on the “tools” asset management firms have been experimenting with for the purpose of monitoring energy consumption at asset level, let’s take a more in-depth look at what those tools can actually offer enterprises:

Asset sustainability fuses energy management with existing EAM functions to proactively identify, optimize and automate maintenance, thus comparing assets’ performance with their energy usage across the enterprise. Best-in-class EAM products, like IBM’s Maximo, provide tools to help organizations gather information from all their energy-consuming assets to support better decision-making about how and when to maintain, replace or alter assets based on all relevant costs. With best-in-class asset sustainability solutions, enterprises can:

• Maximize Maintenance Effectiveness – Streamline the maintenance process to extend the lifecycle of assets and improve productivity.
• Reduce Inventory Costs – Avoid unnecessary inventory by utilizing tools to monitor and control inventory levels while automating purchasing and inventory management.
• Increase Warranty Recovery – Track repairs eligible for warranty claims.
• Boost Equipment Uptime – Improve asset performance and extend asset life to avoid production or service operations downtime, all by forecasting failures and recommending alternatives.
• Improve Reliability and Risk Management – Forecast and mitigate asset reliability and regulatory risks by performing asset profiling, tracking changes to data and attributes and foreseeing performance against key performance indicators (KPIs).
• Reduce Energy Consumption – Improve asset performance via the incorporation of energy into the maintenance decision process at the asset level to eliminate inefficiency and reduce operational cost.

Companies that have jumped on the energy consumption component bandwagon with regard to their asset management have realized big reductions in energy usage, a quick return on investment and improved environmental conditions – to say nothing of increased shareholder value and fresh new market opportunities.

Are you ready to lower your energy costs?

It’s no secret; effective Enterprise Asset Management can help lower your organization’s energy costs and get back on track with regulatory compliance. But that’s not all; there are countless other benefits to managing your assets with top-quality EAM software. Contact us to learn how EAM can start benefiting you today.

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About the Author

Craig Mackenzie

Craig Mackenzie is a Principal Consultant at Ontracks Consulting with over 16 years of Maximo, Asset Management, and EAM experience. Craig focuses on project management, best practice consulting and solution architecture for medium and large Maximo clients in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has delivered Maximo solutions to the Oil & Gas, Mining, Pulp & Paper, Transportation, Facilities Management, Manufacturing, Government and Healthcare industries. Craig is an IBM Maximo Certified Deployment Professional for versions 5, 6 and 7.x.