Latest Trends In Mobile-based Asset Management
Guest author: Kerry Doyle
How mobility and workforce optimization are converging to increase business value
Smart Systems in field service are on the rise. These new structures leverage embedded computing and networking technology to provide new modes of machine-to-machine (M2M), machine-to-people communications and service delivery. Companies in every sector are adopting these systems, from heavy industry (mining, construction, energy exploration, etc.) and utility companies to the service sector and healthcare. Mobile-based asset management helps reduce both capital and operational-related costs, improves asset utilization and enhances performance while extending equipment life. In relation to the energy industry, for example, the use of such software can make a critical difference for gaining accurate measurements, data streams and field conditions as they pertain to high-level exploration machinery, not to mention improving the performance of field service personnel. The benefits of asset management solutions include the following:
- Life Extension: Physical assets can be used for a longer period of time. That’s because web- or cloud-based mobile solutions can track asset performance and maintenance ensuring that the right field service worker with the right skills and parts gets to the right place in time. It means that equipment and machinery can be used for a longer period of time before it needs to be replaced.
- Optimization: With mobile-based optimization, product managers can access detailed records related to equipment performance. Then, managers can configure machinery to function at the highest level of output. To optimize configuration, a range of information needs to be taken into account, including service background and performance information, possible accident history, malfunctions and more.
- Increased Maintenance Speed: Asset management software is crucial to facilitating the speed at which certain types of equipment are repaired. In general, such work has required equipment to be taken offline incurring significant downtime expense. The longer a piece of equipment is offline, the more money the repair ultimately costs. Faster repairs minimize downtime, increase usage and maximize profit.
In the current wireless environment, a mobile-based structure can be considered an effective system for tracking, locating and monitoring a range of equipment, from heavy-duty machines such as bulldozers and cranes to utility-based equipment or even health diagnostic tools. The goal is to figure out in advance, using a condition-based service and management structure, the status of a component and act before a breakdown occurs.
This introduces a predictive and preventative approach to maintenance, rather than letting a piece of equipment fail in a critical environment. Moreover, additional value resides in not only extending the life of capital equipment, but avoiding unplanned downtime or interruptions. Mobile-based asset management often incorporates the cloud because the upfront cost for these services is relatively minimal in comparison to on-premise, customized software solutions.
Organizations that rely on the pay-as-you-go concept can quickly scale out as necessary. That’s because cloud services offer fast-to-implement, agile environments for a range of industries that offer services which must expand and contract according to demand or environmental factors, such as storm-related events or increased medical need. When cloud-enabled ‘smart systems’ are in place, companies can track assets, communicate changes, determine status, gather data, schedule maintenance and make more money with their equipment, all in real time.
The rise of ‘smart’ physical infrastructures means that increasing numbers of businesses are investing in complex environments that are interconnected and reliant on operational technology. These organizations are turning to enabling processes, such as mobility and even app-based asset management, along with data integration during the lifecycle of their assets.
In relation to these remote field assets, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags offer an important means for keeping track of equipment and inventory. Such tags include native global positioning system capabilities that enable real-time asset tracking and represent a major global trend across all sectors. Mobile-based asset management is a concept and approach that involves running an organization’s physical machinery in such a way that maximizes that equipment’s potential. It enables through-life management and maintenance of geographically dispersed physical assets, increasing value by ensuring peak performance.
These are just a few of the key aspects of mobile-based asset management. In Part Two, we’ll be exploring the importance of mobile-based workforce optimization and its increasing relevance for a variety of field-service organizations.