Asset Maintenance Systems: What is It and Do You Need It?

Assets come in two major forms: physical and intangible. 

Physical assets include buildings, equipment, and supplies typically used in day-to-day business operations. Intangible assets include human capital, intellectual property, or goodwill. 

In this article, we will focus on the importance of maintaining physical assets, how you can improve asset maintenance, and how to choose the best system for your asset maintenance needs to improve workplace safety, productivity, and cost-efficiency. 

Before we dive deep into these objectives, let's first cover the differences between inventory management, asset management, asset maintenance, and maintenance inventory management to avoid common confusion around the subject. 

Clearing the Common Confusions 

Inventory Management

Inventory is composed of products actively on the market and available to be purchased. Inventory management is about keeping track of orders, products, projected sales, production, and supplies to ensure you have optimal inventory to meet the sales demand while cutting back on unnecessary costs in production, storage, and transportation.

Asset Management

The asset management process overlaps with inventory management in many ways, especially when keeping track of the number of assets that a company owns. This contributes to the valuation of the company and other business operations such as insurance. 

Asset Maintenance

Asset maintenance is a key component of asset management. The main purpose of asset maintenance is to ensure smooth day-to-day operations and create a safe working environment. Quality asset maintenance will also make sure you get the most value from the assets your business invests in.

Maintenance Inventory Management

Maintenance inventory management is managing the inventory of tools, materials, and supplies needed for asset maintenance. The objective is to help facilitate a smooth asset maintenance process at the lowest possible cost. 

Why is Quality Asset Maintenance Important?

Quality maintenance of physical assets can benefit a company in five key areas:

  1. Reducing minor and major downtime
    Downtime caused by inefficiency or a breakdown of equipment can lead to significant production losses of business operations. A study by Oneserve in collaboration with British manufacturers found that machine downtime costs UK manufacturers £180bn a year.

    Well-maintained equipment operates efficiently and is less likely to break down, maximising day-to-day productivity and minimising costly downtime.

  2. Reducing asset repair or replacement costs
    It goes without saying that well-maintained equipment reduces the frequency or necessity of buying new equipment or replacing broken parts. This helps you to save costs by minimising major repairs and prolonging equipment life. 
  1. Ensuring a safe working environment for employees
    Well-maintained equipment and property assets such as stores, buildings, and facilities are less likely to be the cause of incidents. Thus asset maintenance contributes to upholding workplace safety.

  2. Reducing costs associated with workplace injuries.
    A safe working environment can reduce the losses associated with workplace incidents in direct and indirect ways. Firstly, it helps reduce the direct costs of non-fatal workplace incidents, such as medical care and employee leave. Indirectly, a safe working environment boosts productivity, attracts top talent, and improves retention rates, all of which translate to profit-boosting and cost-saving benefits.
  1. Creating a safe retail environment for customers
    Upholding the safety of any retail environments that your company operates can prevent incidents that could cause harm or injury to the public and your customers. This can save your organisation from negligent-based litigations, not to mention protecting your company’s reputation too.  

Maintaining assets is thus an essential part of any company. It is especially important for asset-intensive industries such as retail, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, fishing & forestry, oil & gas, power & energy, and water & wastewater.

The Components & Processes of Quality Asset Maintenance

Asset maintenance is not a simple task. It includes keeping records of past maintenance, scheduling future maintenance, handling repairs, conducting safety inspections, keeping an eye out for incident or hazard reports involving equipment or property, and initiating the appropriate corrective and preventive action as and when necessary.

Below are some common procedures involved in asset maintenance.

Risk assessments

A risk assessment can help identify equipment with high safety risks. Once identified, the appropriate maintenance schedule can be adopted.

Regular risk assessments can also help identify equipment that isn’t functioning as optimally as it should and needs to be repaired or replaced. 

Audits

An audit is a type of inspection reporting that provides an objective record of a facility or equipment condition. These reports are generally required before work can be resumed on any item or area.

The frequency can also range from daily to weekly, monthly, or annually according to a specific equipment’s safety requirements. Some companies may need to conduct audits more than once a day, such as when drivers inspect their vehicles before every shift.

Incident reporting

An incident is any event or accident that leads to personnel injury or damage to equipment or property. Incident reports record the facts related to an incident on the worksite.

Hazard reporting

A hazard report system is a proactive measure to identify potential hazards, whether or not these hazards are visible in the workplace. By identifying hazards, you can initiate preventive action before they cause incidents.

Maintenance schedule

A maintenance schedule is a predetermined schedule for physical assets—such as part replacements or upgrades. Maintenance schedules can vary for different assets according to manufacturer’s recommendations, health and safety policies, legal requirements, or other influencing factors. 

Why You Need an Asset Maintenance System

Asset maintenance involves many types of procedures that can quickly get overwhelming if you still rely on manual processes. 

Dealing with paper trails is time-consuming. You have to physically collate pen-and-paper inspections and reports, organise them with a manual filing system, or convert them into digital records. Worse, it creates delays. 

Since pen-and-paper inspections and reports are not visible in real-time, it can take hours or days before the equipment that needs repair gets the urgent maintenance it needs. This delay can lead to an incident that could have been prevented if the process was not so time-consuming.

Furthermore, manual records make it difficult to spot trends or view the entire maintenance history of an asset. This, too, can compromise your ability to take proactive action to optimise asset maintenance, promote productivity, and improve health and safety in the workplace.

Managing Asset Maintenance in a Digital World

A cloud-based asset maintenance system provides organisations with a digital solution to manage their asset maintenance on one cloud-based platform. 

The most immediate benefit of digitising your asset maintenance processes is that everyone—from the workplace floor to senior management—will spend less time completing or managing paperwork. 

Having your digital records submitted onto a cloud-based platform allows for real-time reporting. This makes it easier to keep assets in their best condition, save costs, and enable a proactive safety culture. A cloud-based platform also streamlines how employees complete inspections, audits, and asset maintenance tasks, helping you to boost workplace productivity.

Should You Take the Leap?

There can be much resistance to new technology, and not every employee may be keen to let go of legacy systems. So how do you know if making the shift to a cloud-based asset maintenance system is worth the financial and time investment? Here are a few things to consider. 

  1. Are you spending more than 2-3 hours a week managing paperwork related to asset maintenance?
  2. Do you or your team spend a lot of time compiling maintenance reports? 
  3. Do your employees find it tedious to complete audits and reports?
  4. Do you find it difficult to follow up on or keep track of corrective actions for asset maintenance?
  5. Are you in charge of asset maintenance across multiple locations?
  6. Is your company in an asset-intensive industry such as retail, construction, manufacturing, agriculture, fishing & forestry, oil & gas, power & energy, and water & wastewater?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, then moving to a cloud-based asset maintenance system is worth the investment. The time and costs you’ll save from streamlining asset maintenance will give you back your ROI multiple times over. 

Choosing the Best Asset Maintenance System for Your Needs

When choosing a digitised asset maintenance system, consider the following criteria:

  1. Does the system help you digitise all of—or at least your most critical— asset maintenance processes?
  2. Is it easy for your employees to access the system on the go via mobile?
  3. Is it user-friendly to encourage technology uptake?
  4. Does it have integrated task management that streamlines following up on corrective and preventive actions?
  5. Is it flexible to evolve with your changing business needs?

If you’d like to explore some market-ready options, check out Workflows by Vatix. Our solution is a digital inspection and audit system with integrated task management. An intuitive interface makes it easy for your team to make a smooth transition into a cloud-based asset maintenance system. 

Contact us for a free 14-day trial or a free consultation to discover how our suite of solutions can help you create an employee-led safety first-class safety culture in your workplace. 

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