Whether large or small, it's imperative for companies to efficiently manage the information generated by their assets, operations and maintenance, says Sid Snitkin, vice president and general manager of ARC Advisory Group.
What is asset information? It's all the information that's needed to install, operate, manage, maintain and improve assets. In addition, such information usually includes the history of an asset - how it has been used, for what purpose, and by whom over a certain period. In isolation, that kind of data on one small asset may not seem like much, certainly not something that demands management technology. But in the aggregate - a manufacturing facility may have hundreds of thousands of assets - the scope balloons to the point that management is essential to avoid chaos. "For each one of those assets," Snitkin says, "you may need documents, sets of instructions and other data as well."
Asset management is not something that only large companies need be concerned with, he says. Even small companies need to ensure that anyone who touches an asset has the information they need. That requires, first, that the information be of sufficient quality to actually be useful. Second, the information needs to be relevant to the user. People use assets in different ways. For example, operations, engineering and maintenance may have completely different needs for the same asset, and view it entirely differently. Information concerning that item must be meaningful to each of those sets of users.
Manufacturing is hardly the only industry that can utilize asset information management. The "logistics and supply chain industry" involves itself with many capital assets and enormous amounts of equipment, says Snitkin. "It's completely relevant to the logistics industry. The same would be true of construction, utilities, and in defense."
Do you need this type of technology if your company already has implemented customer information or product information management solutions? Yes, you do, says Snitkin. While managing data, documents and relationships is common to all of these technologies, ultimately their concerns are very different.
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