There are two tools that organizations fall back on to manage reliability strategy for their equipment.

One, the EAM system they already own. The other, Excel … because everyone has and knows how to use Excel, right?

Yet these are not the right tools for the job. Here, we explore their limitations and take a look at a tool that is expressly designed for reliability strategy.

Limitations of Excel and EAM systems

No matter how much time you spend creating templates and using macros, you inevitability hit a wall when trying to turn Excel into a reliability strategy management tool. There is only so much that Excel can do.

Aside from its limitations, Excel also comes with other problems. Typically, there are several disparate Excel workbooks all over the organization – each just a little different to others. This is because any updates to the Excel template cannot be pushed across to all existing Excel files. They are disconnected, yet contain much of the same content in each and every file.

Plus, using Excel, there is generally no formal approach to reliability strategy decision-making or management. There may be just one or two experts in the Excel files across the organization – the entire process is uncontrolled, inefficient and ineffective.

Other organizations attempt to use their EAM system to manage reliability strategy decisions. The most common approach is to create a fictitious, generic asset within their hierarchy structure. For example, if a site has many conveyors, they create a fictitious conveyor within their hierarchy and then go about attaching generic maintenance plans to the fictitious conveyor.

The intention is that every conveyor can use the generic plans by applying common task lists within the system, or just copying and pasting.

There are three main problems with this approach:

  1. EAM systems are not structured to manage the content required to make effective reliability strategy decisions. The justifications, approval and management of the reliability strategy decision over time are lost. All that resides in the EAM system is the resulting maintenance plan.
  2. Using a common task list approach is ineffective because typically even similar assets have minor differences that require adjustments to the maintenance plans.
  3. If the copy and paste approach is used so that minor adjustments can be made, it means that the actual maintenance plan becomes disconnected from the fictitious asset plan and any updates need to be manually repeated across all assets instead of just one modification pushing to all assets. It becomes very difficult to know which asset used which generic content.

It’s clear that both EAM systems and Excel are ineffective tools for managing reliability strategy decisions and supporting an ongoing Asset Strategy Management (ASM) process. They are simply not structured or designed to perform the ASM function.

Of course, both tools have their value. An EAM system is designed to support the Work Execution Management (WEM) process. It houses the maintenance plans that are created during the maintenance strategy development process and uses that content to feed the WEM process. But it is not an effective system for developing, reviewing or managing the reliability strategy content.

Excel, of course, is a powerful spreadsheet tool. Yet its files are disparate, unstructured and disconnected – meaning that the content cannot be managed effectively. Reliability strategy decision-making and management is not a typical template or use case for Excel.

So what’s the answer for reliability strategy?

A dedicated ASM system provides security, governance, and rigor around the management of the reliability strategy decisions and resulting maintenance plans. With a dedicated ASM system in place, you can deploy generic content wherever it is relevant and vary the content based on the specific or local operating context.

The benefit? A connection is always maintained so that any future updates and changes can be deployed to the entire asset base quickly and easily.

Choosing a tool that’s fit for purpose will pay off. ASM is expressly designed to make the task of managing reliability strategy easier.

Are you ready for Asset Strategy Management

Take this 12-question ASM maturity assessment to see where you stand and receive a report with recommended next steps.

Take The Assessment