Power and utility companies' future depends on extracting higher value from the infrastructure of asset management.

FREMONT, CA: Asset management deals with the whole lifecycle management of an organization's physical assets to maximize value. It is a discipline that encompasses fields such as project development, procedures, equipment maintenance or replacement, and much more. For utilities, maximizing the value of utility assets is a strategic approach. Asset management programs, if implemented correctly, are powerful tools. Here is a look at the major challenges faced by utilities during the implementation of EAM.

• Retaining or Handling Assets

A primary challenge facing utility asset management teams is to obtain executive support for anything they do about retaining or handling assets. Asset management is not considered to be a critical part of the business most of the time. As a result, operations and maintenance leaders are struggling to get the rest of the organization's respect. But leaders in the management of utility assets can gain respect when fixing assets or performing preventive maintenance.

• Managing Assets

There are two technology types that utilities use to manage assets. They are systems of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM). The output from these systems is required for asset-intensive utility firms to increase asset quality and reduce costs. Yet, the choice of technology is a major challenge for most utilities. EAM is the most useful asset management program among ERP and EAM. Considering that asset quality has a significant impact on revenue generation, it is of utmost importance to choose the right EAM system

• Obtaining Required Input Data

Many utilities invest in asset management systems without getting the required input data. Management systems for utility assets can provide drill-down information to help utilities determine the most common and expensive causes for equipment failures. This output requires precise master data records, hierarchies of equipment, problem-failure mapping systems, assigned responsibilities, and more as their inputs. To ensure optimum performance and total ROI, a quality information system approach is necessary for the utility asset management system.

Most utilities realized the importance of EAM systems in keeping track of their capital assets and maximizing resource utilization. It is therefore highly recommended for utility companies to implement EAM applications.