What is asset lifecycle management?

Asset lifecycle management (ALM) aims to maximize the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of assets throughout their lifespan to maximize the return on investment (ROI). Every asset in a manufacturing plant has different stages throughout its lifecycle, from before it’s placed on the production floor to beyond its usefulness within production.

What is the lifecycle of an asset?

The lifecycle of an asset is precisely what its name entails—it's the different points of an asset's running life. It typically includes the following stages:

  • Planning: Involves identifying the requirements, selecting the appropriate asset, and determining the financial and operational feasibility.
  • Acquisition: This stage involves purchasing or leasing the asset and ensuring that it meets the specifications and requirements of the organization.
  • Deployment: This stage involves installing, configuring, and commissioning the asset to ensure it operates as expected and is integrated with the organization's systems and processes.
  • Operation: This involves the day-to-day use of the asset to perform its intended functions and meet the organization's operational needs.
  • Maintenance: This involves the ongoing maintenance and repair of the asset to ensure its reliability, availability, and safety while minimizing downtime and costs.
  • Retirement: Involves the disposal, sale, or decommissioning of the asset when it is no longer needed or has reached the end of its useful life.

What are the stages of asset lifecycle management?

1. Pre-usage: Entails the designing, building, and delivery of an asset

Design: Planning how the asset will function

Build: Creating the asset and its components

Delivery: Getting the asset to its intended users

2. Core use: Entails the setup, use, and maintenance of an asset

Set up: Customizing or otherwise getting the asset ready for use

Use: Getting the intended outcome from the asset

Maintenance: Making sure the asset is functioning properly, safely, and efficiently

3. End of life: Entails the decommissioning and retirement of an asset

Updates and evolutions: Modifying the asset for optimal ongoing performance

Decommissioning: Removing the asset from workflows when it is no longer helpful or is replaced by a more efficient asset

Steps to implement asset lifecycle management at your facility

Implementing asset lifecycle management at a production facility involves a comprehensive approach encompassing multiple stages, from asset acquisition to disposal. Here are the general steps you can follow to implement ALM:

  1. Asset identification: The first step is identifying all the assets involved in your production processes. This includes machinery, equipment, tools, and vehicles, among others.
  2. Asset acquisition: The next step is to acquire assets that meet your production needs. This could involve purchasing new equipment, leasing equipment, or repurposing existing assets.
  3. Asset deployment: Once you have acquired the assets, you must deploy them to the production floor. This involves setting up the equipment, installing the necessary software, and configuring the machinery to meet your specific requirements.
  4. Asset monitoring: After deployment, you must monitor the assets regularly to ensure they perform as expected. This includes tracking usage, performance metrics, and maintenance schedules.
  5. Asset maintenance: Regular maintenance is critical for ensuring the longevity of your assets. This includes preventive maintenance to catch potential issues before they become significant problems and corrective maintenance to address any issues.
  6. Asset replacement: Eventually, all assets reach the end of their useful life and need to be replaced. This could involve disposing of the asset or repurposing it for other uses within your facility.
  7. Asset disposal: When it is time to dispose of an asset, you must ensure it is done safely and responsibly. This could involve selling the asset, recycling it, or disposing of it in compliance with applicable regulations.

Following these steps, you can implement an effective asset lifecycle management program at your production facility. This can help you maximize the value of your assets, reduce downtime, and improve overall operational efficiency.

How can maintenance extend the useful life of an asset?

Below are some tips and tricks to keep in mind to extend the life of an asset:

  • Keeping accurate records of failures on similar assets can improve asset reliability by eliminating common flaws before they even exist. Asset tracking includes tracking the cause, effect, and fixes or common asset failures. Maintenance data can also inform an asset lifecycle management plan for procuring maintenance resources (i.e., parts and supplies) well in advance.
  • Conducting preventive maintenance. With fewer breakdowns comes higher production capacity and higher quality of production. Maintenance data can also inform the proper usage of an asset so organizations can limit operator error, which is a primary cause of downtime and asset failure. This data should be digitally documented for easy search and reference, which can be done in asset lifecycle management software.
  • Modify assets for continued usage or when to decommission and replace an asset. As production needs change (for example, volume, SKUs, etc.), the maintenance department continues adjusting the machines to stay efficient. As equipment gets deeper into its asset lifecycle, tracking maintenance frequency and costs allows companies to spot trends in asset performance. When asset performance degrades to offering diminishing returns, the company can make sound CapEx decisions by decommissioning the asset.

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The benefits of asset lifecycle management

  • Improved asset performance: Asset lifecycle management ensures that assets are properly maintained and optimized for maximum performance, which can lead to improved production efficiency, reduced downtime, and higher output.
  • Increased asset lifespan: Asset lifecycle management ensures that assets are properly maintained and managed throughout their lifecycle, which can help to extend their lifespan, reducing the need for frequent replacements and lowering costs associated with purchasing new equipment.
  • Better cost control: Asset lifecycle management provides greater visibility into the total cost of owning and operating an asset, allowing facilities to make more informed decisions about maintenance, repair, replacement, and disposal and ultimately controlling costs more effectively.
  • Regulatory compliance: Asset lifecycle management helps to ensure that assets are maintained in compliance with relevant regulations, reducing the risk of penalties, fines, or legal liabilities.
  • Improved safety and reliability: Asset lifecycle management can help to identify potential safety hazards and prevent equipment failures, improving workplace safety and reducing the risk of accidents.
  • Enhanced asset tracking and inventory management: Asset lifecycle management provides greater visibility into asset location, usage, and maintenance history, helping facilities to manage their inventory more effectively and improve asset tracking and management.

Asset lifecycle management provides guidance for maintenance teams to extend asset life

Asset lifecycle management is not just about creating a plan for managing your assets, but also about creating a plan for maximizing the life of your assets. When you manage your assets through an asset lifecycle management process, you can better predict when to replace or repair them and how much it will cost. This will help maintenance teams extend the life of their assets and keep costs down.

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