Train Trouble: The Unique Enterprise Asset Management Challenges Posed by Locomotives

Trains are sometimes thought of as the technological ancestor of cars and trucks, but locomotives are considered more advanced than automobiles in a couple of important respects. Diesel-powered locomotives are far more fuel efficient at transporting heavy loads, and in some circumstances they can transport material more quickly than trucks or cars. The unique advantages offered by locomotives come with a unique set of challenges. If your company's operations rely on the availability of locomotives, then your strategy for enterprise asset management should include practices that account for your locomotives' needs.

Fuel cost tracking is a critical part of managing any asset that depends on an engine. Although diesel locomotives are far more fuel efficient than automobiles carrying the same weight, it is still possible for a poor fuel tracking system to run up unnecessary fuel costs. In order to make the most efficient use of your fuel budget, you will need to have information about how fuel costs vary by season, location, and the types of engines that will be consuming the fuel. Current events and technological advances can also affect the cost of fuel, so you will need to keep track of these elements as well. 

Just like a good meal starts with good ingredients, a high-quality locomotive is built of high-quality parts. Vendor tracking is a vital way to make sure that you can always get hold of the right replacement part at the right time and at the right price. To get an accurate picture of which vendors can provide the best parts and services at the best times, you will need information about your company's past history with the vendor as well as information about the kinds of parts available from certain vendors and the shipping processes involved with getting these parts. 

In addition to vendor tracking, maintenance tracking is needed if you want to ensure that you always have the right parts on hand. Many companies are painfully familiar with the process of dealing with a locomotive breakdown, finding the right repair services and replacement parts, and getting the locomotive back in use. Planning on maintenance ahead of time can prevent these costly breakdowns, ensure that you have your replacement parts when you need them, and ensure that your trains have access to the best repair technicians available. Preventative Maintenance tracking involves gathering information about the condition of your locomotives' components, the locomotives' workload, the rate of wear and tear you can reasonably expect from certain parts in certain conditions, and the schedule of each locomotive's periods of use. 

Diesel may be enough to keep your locomotives' engines running, but keeping a whole company running requires a vast amount of information about important assets like locomotives. Every kind of asset has its own unique maintenance needs and ideal strategies for cost-effective use. A smart enterprise asset management plan analyses this information and uses it to accurately predict where money can be best spent in the future.

Reduxo is committed to making the process of enterprise asset management easier for businesses across Australia. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have about the ideal maintenance software and strategy for your company's assets.

Just Did a Physical Asset Audit? Here are Three Reasons To Do Rolling Audits

Get the stamp of approval!

Get the stamp of approval!

You can't get the most out of your assets unless you know where they are, how they're being used, and what kind of condition they are in. Physical asset audits are an essential part of enterprise asset management, and the information in them must be up-to-date if your organisation is going to manage its assets effectively. Keep an eye out for these three events, which can throw your asset register off balance and require you to update your asset management information.

Additions to your asset base can be a good thing, but when managed incorrectly they can also cause serious problems. If an asset is acquired through an improper procurement channel, or if somebody along the line forgets to record its addition, then you might not be aware that it has been added to your inventory. By making sure to adhere to addition policies and processes and update your asset management information whenever items are added to your inventory, can avoid purchasing the same asset twice because of mistakes like these.

Disposals are another event that can throw your asset management data out of whack. Failure to properly track disposals can lead to an asset being unavailable because someone mistakenly thought it was still available. The resulting asset shortage can result in embarrassment as well as costly delays. You can be sure that assets are replaced after their disposal by updating your asset management information whenever an asset is disposed of.

Transfers of assets, especially between far apart work sites, are a third event which must be promptly and properly recorded. A large part of asset management is ensuring that assets are placed at sites where your organisation can get the most out of them. This is most effectively done when you know exactly which assets are at which site or in which department; it is very easy to skew this vital information by failing to record asset transfers promptly and accurately.

The best way to keep your organisation's physical asset management information up-to-date is to perform physical asset audits on a rolling basis. Not only is the audit process itself more cost-effective to conduct frequently rather than once every few years, but the data the audit yields will also be of higher quality and the basis of good asset management. Reduxo specialises in providing rolling physical asset audits; contact us to find out how we can make the process easier and more efficient for your company.

What Does it Mean to Put the "Asset Centric" in "Asset Centric Maintenance Software" or Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)?

At first glance, it might seem like all asset maintenance is asset-centric maintenance. After all, if it weren't for having the asset in the first place, you wouldn't need to be maintaining it at all!  When we speak about asset-centric maintenance as a distinct kind of maintenance, we aren't really talking about the maintenance you do when you need to modify this machine or repair that building. Rather, we're talking about an overall asset maintenance policy that helps you plan the maintenance of your assets before it's needed.

Asset centric maintenance can be distinguished from reactive maintenance. Many companies are familiar with this type of asset maintenance, where assets are modified, repaired, or replaced once they start to become a problem. You might think of it as a model where your company's assets must be adapted to fit your company's schedule. While this works well enough, anybody familiar with reactive maintenance can attest to the time, resources, and frustration involved in reacting to unexpected asset failures.

Reactive maintenance focuses on your company's scheduled plans, and tends to view asset failures as events that disrupt the schedule. Asset centric maintenance, on the other hand, acknowledges that each asset has a schedule of its own. Like a car that must get routine maintenance every 5,000 kilometres, each of your company's assets has an ideal schedule of repair, modification, and replacement. This schedule begins during the asset's design process and ends when it is sold or decommissioned.

Coordinating the asset's ideal schedule with your company's ideal schedule can result in a much smoother, less frustrating asset maintenance process. Your company can plan for maintenance costs well before they are incurred and can prevent costly problems with forward-thinking maintenance policies. Well-maintained assets break down less frequently, and when they do, they take far less time and effort to repair than assets that are maintained through a reactive strategy.

Going with an asset centric maintenance policy can lengthen the productive life of your assets and eliminate most of the cost, hassle, downtime and unpleasant surprises that come with reactive maintenance. However, this is much easier said than done without asset centric maintenance software. Many companies that would benefit a great deal from asset centric maintenance have a large number of assets across several or many locations. Manually processing the data involved in determining the ideal schedule for each of your assets can be time-consuming, costly, and ultimately ineffective. 

Think of asset centric maintenance software as an intimate friend for each of your assets--it knows each asset's history and weaknesses, and it uses this information to determine what the ideal schedule will be for each one. Good asset centric maintenance software will track needed repairs, completed repairs, and part replacements while forecasting your assets' future needs. It will let you automate much of the work involved in asset centric maintenance, and it will let your company customise it to suit its individual needs.

Reduxo is pleased to offer maintenance software that puts your company's assets first so that you can focus on your core business to stay competitive. Contact us to find out more about programs like Sprocket that help you harmonise your assets' schedules with your company's schedule.

Think About the Strategic Value of Asset Stocktakes on Enterprise Asset Management

The marketplace is a constantly shifting environment, where survival requires the ability to adapt quickly and adapt well. 2013 saw more and more companies using tools like big data analytics or business intelligence to measure where they stood in their marketplace and how their customers went about making purchase decisions. The reason for collecting and analysing huge amounts of customer data is simple--the more one knows about the demands of one's marketplace, the better one can adapt their business to suit those demands.

While measuring data generated by customers is certainly important to a company's strategy, it's also essential to keep track of data regarding internal processes.  This is especially true of companies in capital-intensive industries like utilities, mining, IT and manufacturing, where a company's assets are a large part of what makes it function. For these companies, enterprise asset management is not just a way to minimise the overall cost of owning an asset: it's a way to collect important data that shows how a company is standing up to market demands.

Like the reams of data generated by customers, collecting and analysing the data involved with a strategically sound enterprise asset management policy comes with its challenges. Effective enterprise asset management requires frequent and accurate stocktaking, which is both laborious and nearly impossible to accomplish with paper records systems. Like the companies that require giant data warehouse systems to analyse customer data, companies that benefit from enterprise asset management require well-designed software and electronic asset tracking systems to minimise errors and speed the process of stocktaking.

Investing in an effective enterprise asset management policy is one step a company needs to take in order to adapt to the demanding environment of the marketplace. Strategically sound enterprise asset management can be a challenge, and your company may well find it most economical to bring in a team of experts from time to time when asset data must be collected efficiently.  Reduxo specialises in efficient, effective enterprise asset management; contact us to find out more about how we can help your business adapt.

Do You Know Why Maintaining Medical Equipment In The US Relies On The CMS And A CMMS?

The simple answer is money.  However, the question, why maintaining medical equipment relies on a CMMS, (Computerised Maintenance Management System) is too complex for just a one word answer.

CMS is the acronym for The Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the US, which is the agency responsible for establishing requisite conditions that hospitals must comply with in order to receive federal Medicare funding. Currently, the rules are fairly stringent and straightforward - Hospitals must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance on each individual piece of medical equipment as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Reports began surfacing in July that CMS is proposing a change in the requirements for maintaining the equipment. Specifically, CMS would allow hospitals in the US to deviate from the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines. The proper maintenance of medical devices is a critical component of patient care and safety, as well as a standard security practice required in hospitals.

Many medical organisations support the current CMS guidelines, which were issued in 2011. These groups have been voicing their concerns to CMS about the potential dangers of the proposed changes.

In a letter to CMS in July, the president and advocacy committee chairwoman of the Society for Vascular Ultrasound wrote "The new standards will weaken the safety requirements that protect Medicare patients by allowing hospitals to forgo the manufacturer’s maintenance standards." Adding that "The correct use of properly maintained and serviced ultrasound equipment not only saves Medicare dollars, but also ensures appropriate health care and reduces the risks associated with other more expensive or invasive imaging modalities, which may present more significant morbidity and mortality risks."

More recently some Members of the House have gotten involved in the battle by reaching out to CMS, who has still declined to comment on the speculations about changes in requirements. 

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa) said, "Weakening of equipment maintenance standards could have some severe consequences for health and safety." Murphy was one of five members of Congress who wrote to the CMS this week warning that the change "may put patients and healthcare personnel at unnecessary and avoidable risk."

Prior to issuing any official deregulation of the current maintenance requirements, Congressional Representatives basically requested that CMS go through a formal process to establish new rules, which should include a chance for public comments.

The necessity of having a CMMS system to ensure that medical organisations are adhering to the current and future rules is indisputable whether here in Australia or anywhere in the world.  Numerous companies worldwide already utilise a CMMS, which is a cost-effective, proven asset management tool allowing medical facilities to streamline workflow processes to save thousands of dollars in unnecessary maintenance and operating expenses as well as ensuring they provide their core business, that is, attend to the health of our society. 

To learn more about the benefits of a CMMS and share your thoughts about , please contact us.