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Critical Success Factors in EAM System Implementations

Author: Pragma Managing Director Ronnie Taljaard

EAM system implementations hold various important benefits for an organisation. It provides an integrated system to track and manage assets and a system to manage maintenance work while enabling cross-disciplinary business processes such as planning, resource coordination, performance reporting and decision-support. Often, success is defined as completing the implementation, on time, on budget and with a satisfactory Return on Investment (ROI).

To implement an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system successfully, in line with the full range of asset management activities (and not just maintenance management), the following critical success factors has been acknowledged by Pragma in alignment with ISO 55000, the international standard for physical asset management implementation and certification.

1 Top Management Support

Top management support is being identified as the most important success factor in EAM system implementation projects. Top management has to provide leadership by establishing an asset management steering committee with participation from selected representatives of the various discipline involved in asset management at the organisation. The role of the steering committee includes an understanding of the capabilities and limitations within the organisation, establishing reasonable objectives for the EAM system, exhibiting commitment, and communicating the asset management strategy to all employees within the organisation. It also entails providing the necessary resources and funding for the project. Furthermore, the steering committee should provide direction to the implementation teams (technical committees) and monitor the overall progress of the project.

2 Asset Management Plan and Vision

A clear asset management plan and vision are needed to guide the asset management function within the organisation. It is thus essential to assess current maturity in the related key performance areas of asset management to develop a future vision for asset management within the organisation. The asset management improvement plan should highlight the importance and priority of the EAM system in support of the overall asset management plan. The primary stage of the system implementation should begin with the conceptualisation of clear project goals and possible ways to achieve these goals. One of the biggest problems EAM system project leaders face comes not from the implementation itself, but from the expectations of top management, senior staff and other key stakeholders.

3 Project Management

EAM system implementation is a set of complex activities thus organisations should have an effective project management strategy to control the implementation process. Project management activities include all the stages of the project from initiation to the final stages of formally closing the project. Project planning and control is a function of project size, experiences with technology and project structure. The project champion is one of the most important factors in the implementation of EAM systems. Project champions should own the role of change champion for the life of the project, and should understand the technology as well as the business and organisational context.

4 Change Management

The EAM system implementation will not only result in changes to systems but also to process and organisational changes. A change management team and an effective change management plan are necessary for the organisation to deal with the impact on the business. The size and composition of the team will vary depending on the size of the project and the amount of changes required.

5 Defined Business Processes

Clarity and sign-off on the essential asset management business processes (asset identification, asset register administration and maintenance, maintenance work planning and control, asset care plan development, work feedback and data capturing, etc.) are essential to ensure the success of the EAM system implementation. Organisations should be willing to make small changes to their businesses to minimise the degree of customisation of the software system. Business process (re) design plays a significant role in the early stages of the implementation and is also very important to facilitate final acceptance and completion of the project.

6 Teamwork and Composition

The EAM team should involve the best people in the asset and maintenance management functions of the organisation. The success of the project is related to the knowledge, skills, abilities and experience of the project manager as well as the selection of the right team members. People from the functional departments of operations, engineering, maintenance, finance and information systems should be made part of the team responsible for the system implementation. The sharing of information and leadership from the implementation partner is essential to ensure success and requires partnership trust.

7 EAM System Selection

The selection of a suitable EAM system is a challenging and time-consuming process. The market offers various EAM systems, all with similar functionality and integration capabilities, but with slightly different designs. Criteria to be used for system selection can broadly be stated as flexible, user-friendly, applicability, integration, adaptability, upgradeability and cost-effectiveness. The availability and experience of a suitable implementation partner often play a major role in the selection process.

8 User Involvement

User involvement is one of the most important critical success factors in EAM system implementation projects. The involvement of craftsmen and operational staff is essential to increase user satisfaction and acceptance by developing realistic expectations about system capabilities and performance. User involvement improves perceived control through participating in all the stages from the definition of the organisation’s system needs to being part of the implementation phases.

9 Education and Training

Education and training users to use the EAM system effectively is essential to the overall success of the implementation. However, education and training should not be limited to training on how to navigate and use the system, but should also include overall training in the principles of asset management business processes applied through the system. It should also highlight benefits for individual job roles (what is in it for me) using the system and the organisation.

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