The maintenance and repair of technical systems is important to ensure the highest possible availability. A loss of production of just a few hours can already cause a great deal of economic damage. A powerful maintenance management system is required to ensure that maintenance is carried out efficiently and at the right intervals. With Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), SAP offers a solution for its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). In this article you will learn about the benefits of SAP EAM and how a SAP EAM system works.
Beware of confusion: In addition to Enterprise Asset Management, Enterprise Architecture Management is also abbreviated to EAM. As described above, the former is used for maintenance management. The latter, on the other hand, describes the interaction of business processes and information technology in companies and helps them to keep track of their IT landscape.
What is SAP EAM and what are its benefits?
SAP EAM is a maintenance management system that companies at the Servicing and maintenance of technical installations and machines supports. It covers the entire life cycle — from capital planning, procurement and installation to operation and disposal of the assets. SAP EAM can reduce unplanned downtime and ideally prevent it completely. For example, it indicates in good time that a certain machine part has to be replaced because it has reached its intended service life. The tool then assists with scheduling and dispatching a maintenance technician and managing inventory to ensure parts and materials are available when they are needed.
The aim of an enterprise asset management system such as SAP EAM is one ensure maximum system availability and at the same time to enable the longest possible service life. It can also prevent personal injury and environmental damage that can occur in the event of a system failure.
Some of the benefits of SAP EAM include:
- central administration and monitoring of plants
- Proof of legal compliance
- Extension of the service life of machines and systems
- improved plant safety
- better utilization and less downtime
SAP EAM can be seen as an evolution of SAP PM (Plant Maintenance), which became part of SAP Enterprise Asset Management in 2005. The focus of SAP today is on the Business Suite S/4HANA, so that SAP EAM can also be found there as a module. It is called SAP S/4HANA Asset Management and forms the organizational units with the stored Basis for all master data and business-relevant processes. The functions known from SAP PM and SAP EAM are also represented under S/4HANA, but new features have been added.
How does a SAP EAM system work?
EAM systems are often part of an ERP system, since all business processes are fully covered. The core of any EAM system is a detailed database. All assets including their properties and history are stored in this. Based on this data, the systems can be managed, inspections planned and a predictive maintenance introduce.
Maintenance planning provides an overview of the available personnel and their skills. Based on the stored skills, work orders for maintenance and repair work are created and automatically assigned to the appropriate maintenance personnel. Additional modules such as supply chain management (SCM) ensure that sufficient materials and components are available to carry out maintenance and keep production going.
SAP EAM and S/4HANA
After SAP PM transitioned to SAP EAM, it also became a part of the SAP Business Suite with the introduction of S/4HANA. SAP S/4HANA Asset Management offers an extended range of functions such as Real-time analytics and remote monitoring. But predictive maintenance is also an important new function of the module. Artificial intelligence supports this in predicting undesirable operating states on the basis of empirical values. Plants can be maintained proactively instead of relying on fixed scheduled maintenance cycles.
What distinguishes SAP EAM from a CMMS?
A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is software for the maintenance of buildings and technical systems. The CMMS manages maintenance-related information in a database, which is also the core of the software. It supports daily work processes as part of maintenance and serves to optimize maintenance processes. It is somewhat similar to EAM, but focuses on maintenance during the operational phase.
An EAM system is on the Management of the entire life cycle of a plant aligned. It also includes the planning and acquisition phase as well as operation and maintenance and the final decommissioning or sale. EAM software such as SAP EAM is also integrated into various business areas and processes such as finance, production and compliance.
Fields of use of SAP EAM in companies
SAP EAM is particularly suitable for companies that need to monitor and manage many assets. The sectors predestined for SAP EAM include the oil and gas industry. The plants in this industry are often distributed globally and are located in different areas – sometimes close to the city, but often also in remote areas. For railway company the use of an EAM system is also suitable. After all, countless trains and a large route network have to be maintained in order to avoid breakdowns and establish punctual rail transport. The maintenance of the trains and the rail network can be mapped centrally with an EAM system and planned inspections and repairs can be carried out better.
Also the utility economy is an industry where an EAM supports the reliability-centric utility maintenance model. Among other things, it offers benchmark functions as well as continuous documentation and data management. However, SAP EAM is not only suitable for large companies, too medium-sized companies benefit from the applications of the EAM system. With these, companies can, among other things, increase plant utilization, make maintenance work more efficient and improve the use of spare parts.
SAP Enterprise Asset Management offers greater reliability through the central administration and monitoring of systems and machines. It extends the service life of machines and systems through optimized maintenance processes. A big advantage and difference compared to computerized maintenance management systems is that SAP EAM includes the entire life cycle and machines can be managed and monitored from planning to decommissioning.
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Niklas Ludwig has been Communication Manager at CONET since March 2020 and is responsible for the internal and external communication of the CONET group of companies.