October 21, 2015
Asset Management and a Facility Manager's Role
Asset management is one of the most important roles in a facility manager"s mile-long list of duties and responsibilities. Without proper asset management, a whole slew of issues can quickly build-up and before you know it, you have a shutdown on your hands, or worse.
When some reliability professionals think of asset management, they put the phrase in a box and only think of it in terms of spare parts or replacement pieces. Truth be told, asset management is much larger than that. Simply defined, assets are any item or piece of equipment in your inventory. If you want to really get technical, you can even include your staff as part of your assets as well.
Looking at it from this perspective, you can see how controlling your "inventory" can quickly become an issue. Because of this, you need some method to keep track of all of your assets. If you are still relying on a spreadsheet (or worse, a filing cabinet full of notepads), you may want to consider a different approach. Computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) have many functions, but perhaps one of their most important is the ability to let you enter all of your equipment into a database, alongside any information about those assets, and then manage it appropriately.
One mistake we can make (and one that can become very costly) is failing to keep good data on all of our inventory. It is not enough to just know the product name and its location. We also need to know other information, such as life expectancy, vendor info, any warranties and the details of said warranty, handling procedures, and technical data, where applicable.
The reason this is important is that without it, you may find yourself stuck in a situation where you have to scramble around for the information, which can lead to equipment failure, plant shutdowns, or if a shutdown has already occurred, an extended waiting period. All of this can be hugely expensive. Always have vendor and warranty data close at hand so you can get up and running as quickly (and cheaply) as possible.
When discussing employees as an "asset," we should always think in terms of time management. Are we well-staffed? Are we overstaffed? Do we have coverage if someone takes a vacation or gets a sudden illness? Keep the time of year in mind as well, particularly if you are in a seasonal industry where you have peaks of productivity.
Another great thing about asset management software or a CMMS is the fact that you can create all manner of reports based upon the data you enter into them. For instance, you can look at previous time periods to see what sort of maintenance equipment was required and what parts were needed. Using this information, you can accurately predict inventory needs and order appropriately. This helps avoid over-ordering and lowers your department"s overhead. In turn, you will help your company increase profits and earn yourself a reputation as a profit center instead of a resource drain!