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Ten Questions to Ask Yourself about the Efficacy of Your Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Programs

David Aldrich

Senior Manager, Oil & Gas Consulting
Blog
  • Energy & Utilities

Operating an upstream or downstream oil and gas facility is a challenge. Maintaining a high level of operational performance throughout a facility’s lifecycle is a task that can keep the most seasoned of operations managers up at night. Advances in mobile technology, enterprise platforms and data capture have enabled significant improvements to equipment reliability, operating costs, process safety and employee training, all of which contribute to the efficacy of a facility.

However, it can be difficult to realize tech-enabled benefits if the foundation beneath an enterprise asset management (EAM) program—the people, technology, data and processes—are not well-orchestrated. Here are ten simple questions that can be used to uncover the condition of EAM activities in your facility and can apply to any piece of production equipment (motors, pumps, tanks, even entire systems). The focus of the exercise below applies to a Pressure Safety Valve (PSV). 

Data

1. How many PSVs am I currently maintaining?
The answer should be straightforward, but are you confident that it is accurate? Is the number of active equipment records in your CMMS the same as your asset register? The correct number should be reflected across all platforms—and if not, it’s time to examine your data model and ensure that it has been designed to integrate all of your asset management systems and related applications. 

2. What information must my team have when they create a new PSV record in our CMMS?
Do you need a failure profile? What about manufacturer, serial number or spare parts? What are the physical attributes (flow diameter, operating pressure, etc.)? Mature organizations have comprehensive data standards that are enforced across global facilities and functions. Without robust data quality control, your teams might generate very different data sets in terms of completeness and accuracy. Having robust data requirements ensures that your data model contains accurate and standardized asset information.

3. How many PSVs do not meet my current data standard?
Harnessing the power of big data to yield actionable insights is dependent on data quality—you can’t maintain your data model and data requirements without monitoring their health (accuracy, completeness and consistency). Your team must implement a governance process and tools that enable continuous improvement. Protecting a solid data foundation enables your organization to leverage new big data solutions like predictive analytics, intelligent automation and digital twins.

Technology

4. Where can I view the results of a PSV’s most recent function test?
The answer to this question often reveals the state of your technology platforms. Do all stakeholders know where to easily access this information or do they need to pull data from multiple sources? While it’s not necessary to ensure every single task be systematically integrated, it’s important to review the most frequent data requests and ensure that the technology in place supports your team’s performance.

5. How long does it take for my technician to record the results of the function test?
Is it seconds, minutes or hours? Technology can make our operations quicker, safer and more efficient at capturing information. However, it’s a mistake to invest in technology just for the sake of ‘being digital.’ Ensure your technology strategy is logical for technicians in remote locations as well as office personnel. If it takes your teams longer to use a tablet or wearable than a desktop, it’s time to re-examine your strategy.

Process

6. Are my PSVs all being maintained the same way?
Have your preventative task lists, procedures and spare parts lists all been reviewed since the PSV was commissioned? Your equipment is most likely in a different stage of its lifecycle than when it was first installed. Verifying that your preventative maintenance activities and inspections align with current practices can save hundreds or thousands of hours of costly downtime, or allow you to stand-down old routines and free-up time for other activities.

7. How long did the last preventative maintenance activity on a PSV take and does that equal the planned hours?
Capturing data accurately is not only critical for analysis, but also important for actioning the resulting output. Ensuring an efficient and accurate feedback loop is vital to continuous improvement. EAM programs change constantly as new systems are installed and new procedures and regulations are introduced. Simple activities like adjusting planned durations, adding or removing 15 to 30 minutes on high-frequency activities can result in thousands of hours of difference in annual forecasted labor.

People

8. How are my technicians being trained on PSVs?
Are you using training materials and proven instructional techniques, or does the quality of instruction depend on individual team leads? Facilities are becoming increasingly complex, and the maintenance workforce is getting younger and less experienced. It’s critical to ensure that you have effective learning and training programs that can instruct employees across the globe regardless of their location.

9. How many days did it take my team to plan and schedule the last preventative maintenance activity on a PSV?
The answer should never be more than a few days. When focused on solving challenges that technicians face, it can be easy to neglect planning and scheduling processes. Routine maintenance should require very little planning effort. The workplan should already be a best practice, the materials clearly listed, and the durations fully understood. If your teams must research spare parts lists, consult about durations and double-check procedures, it’s time to invest in your planning and scheduling teams.

10. How long did the last corrective order raised against a PSV take to be executed from notification to closure?
Has it been days or weeks? A quick response to high priority corrective orders requires teamwork, correct data, effective technology use and process adherence. While your operations may be diverse from plant to plant, high performing organizations establish common goals across facilities. For example, ‘clean backlogs,’ ‘effective work prioritization’ or ‘elimination of bloat’ are crucial goals to developing a culture of improvement. These goals should be applied equally to your data, systems, procedures and team dynamics.

Conclusion

A successful EAM program has the potential to add measurable business value by reducing unplanned downtime, increasing the safety of employees and facilities, and extending the lifetime of expensive assets. If your operations have some room to grow, consider which areas have the most potential for improvement. A good rule of thumb is to start is with safety and reliability. You can start by building a roadmap that standardizes EAM practices across facilities and strengthens the core of your business. The tools and processes that ensure the right work is done at the right time, by the right people, continue to evolve from there. Now, more than ever, it’s critical that the foundations behind any EAM program—the data, the technology, the processes and the people—are organized in an intentional and sustainable way to enable long-term success.

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