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Key Takeaways from the 2019 SAP EAM & SCP Conference in South Africa

The Mastering SAP Conferences include some of the most important SAP-events on our calendar, and the 2019 iteration of the SAP EAM & SCP Conference showcased a number of speakers working in a wide range of SAP-related fields. It also brought together thought leaders, partners, and SAP customers, each bringing a unique perspective to the table.

The Mastering SAP 2in1 Conference included two days of presentations and networking opportunities, split across two events: Enterprise Asset Management and Supply Chain and Procurement. Each speaker provided insight into the most effective utilizations of SAP software, especially Asset Strategy and Performance Management.

While there’s no way to reduce an entire conference to a single article, we’ll explore some of our most important takeaways from the event. Continue reading for more information on some of our favorite presentations and what we learned about the latest trends in Enterprise Asset Management.

The Benefits of Mobile Asset Management

Arend Theron of the City of Cape Town spoke on “Critical Success Factors (and Mistakes to Avoid) when Developing and Implementing Your Mobile Strategy.” The presentation began with an overview of the city’s water and sanitation department, which included 20,000 kilometers of pipelines and 35 treatment plants. The distributed location and large variances in asset age and technology as well as the many stakeholders involved creates a complex environment which necessitates a strategic approach to any asset management project.

The Benefits of Mobile Asset Management

Theron identified several pain points that contributed to the city’s need for a mobile asset management system, including a need for better data and work planning. Mobile implementation was a key enabler for better performance throughout the city’s assets.

Cape Town used the SAP Syclo Agentry Work Manager to add mobile asset management on Android to their existing practices. The presentation also covered a number of important hardware considerations such as battery life, size, water resistance, and protection against theft, damage, and loss.

They used a blended learning approach to train city employees, integrating everything from fieldwork to traditional classroom instruction. The training process emphasized the need for employees to buy in to the new system and adjust their behavior and skills to support implementation.

Theron emphasized the importance of change management when implementing new practices in a large organization, eventually leading each member to internalize the behavior and view it as a common practice. In other words, the goal was to have each employee think that “this is the way we do things here.”

Finally, Theron noted the top three challenges for digital transformation initiatives:

  • Low digital literacy or expertise among employees and leadership
  • Digital transformation is viewed as a cost centre
  • Company culture

An intuitive interface was therefore identified as a crucial element in onboarding employees and getting them used to the application. They also released regular updates based on employee feedback and noted pain points within the application.

Regardless of the technology or tools involved, the presentation concluded by saying that strong leadership and employee engagement are the most important factors in implementation. In short, “collaboration between different departments and functions are the real differentiators of a leading asset management organization.”

Forecasting and Budgeting for Maintenance Cost

PG van Deventer from Exxaro also gave an incredibly informative presentation detailing the groundwork necessary for a successful implementation. He claimed that many businesses overlook basic factors that can derail an otherwise successful project and discussed how organizations can avoid these mistakes.

The Grootegeluk coal mine contains over 63,000 maintenance significant assets and more than 115,000 total functional locations. Its total annual maintenance budget is more than R1b, making efficient maintenance a key priority throughout the organization.

In order to achieve maximum control over standards and integrity, they started by defining and measuring the most relevant information. This seemingly simple step helped them avoid overspending and have a strong understanding of the organization’s goals and current situation.

Forecasting and Budgeting for Maintenance Cost

Grootegeluk’s implementation has already seen impressive results, and van Deventer closed by identifying some of the most important items from their SAP roadmap:

  • Ensuring all Business Units reach the same level of maturity
  • Moving to the cloud
  • Investigating the possibility of implementing an SAP solution like Asset Cost and Lifecycle Management

van Deventer underlined the importance of a strong foundation and beginning with the basics before moving on to more advanced tactics. Their integration started with an emphasis on processing standards, planning integrity, and data integrity, setting them up for long-term success.

End-to-end Solutions

Herman Coetzee and John Sherriff gave a presentation titled “Augmenting EAM Efficacy and Extending Asset Life Through “End To End” Cutting Edge Condition-Based Solutions.” They focused on “providing asset condition assessment and in-time monitoring solutions integrated with IIoT technology.” This was a great presentation for anyone interested in how the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) can be leveraged for the best possible results.

They leveraged the Pragma Enterprise Asset Management Roadmap to integrate their real-time monitoring solutions with technology from the Industrial Internet of Things. Over time, their monitoring system identified trends which made it easy to notice abnormal asset conditions and trigger the right corrective actions.

Martec achieved these results using four strategies:

  • Identify Required Sensors and Technologies
  • Implement Communication Platform
  • Leverage Commander Dashboard
  • Use a built-in analytics and maintenance action plan that can link to SAP

Data from IIoT sensors was automatically transferred to the commander dashboard, which in turn acted as a trigger for workflows and notifications. Over time, this allowed them to avoid catastrophic failures along with the costs that come from downtime.

Coetzee and Sherriff compared the process of moving to a predictive maintenance approach to the sections of an iceberg. Reactive maintenance is the visible section, while preventive strategies are right below the surface. Predictive maintenance goes a layer deeper by identifying trends and using them to predict asset failure.

Risk-based Maintenance with SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Management

The SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Management (ASPM) tool is a key part of the SAP Intelligent Asset Management suite, and Dean Fitt from SAP detailed some of the ways he improved a client’s asset management practices.

SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Management offers a number of unique business capabilities:

  • Continuously monitoring the performance and effectiveness of maintenance strategies
  • Implement the recommended actions in the maintenance management system
  • Using existing instructions to recommend preventive or corrective tasks
  • Ranking assets by criticality and risk, then using this data to inform further analysis

Ranking assets is a particularly important aspect of effective asset management. By identifying critical assets and determining a risk score for each asset based on a range of information, Fitt was able to use maintenance resources more effectively and prioritize assets depending on their criticality.

Risk-based Maintenance with SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Management

With stronger asset management processes and the Asset Strategy and Performance Management tool, Fitt achieved a number of positive outcomes including reductions in safety incidents, maintenance costs, and unplanned outages.

He also explained the role of SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Management in upscaling assessment and operation in reliability-centered maintenance. This gave the client visual workflows and clear templates to streamline their asset management practices. ASPM also enabled them to identify important issues more quickly. Their ASPM strategies were divided into six steps:

  • Define systems and assets to analyze
  • Identify critical assets
  • Perform analysis
  • Develop recommended actions
  • Implement maintenance strategies
  • Monitor and improve

The Internet of Things informs predictive maintenance and allows businesses to improve their asset management practices. In contrast to preventive maintenance which leads to higher costs and over-maintaining of assets, IT-driven predictive maintenance reduces the total number of maintenance actions. Fitt’s presentation was a perfect example of how SAP works with emerging technologies to offer users the most advanced asset management capabilities.

Asset Central Foundation

The SAP asset central foundation is a reusable registry used by all five tools in the SAP Intelligent Asset Management suite. This shared information gives each application the data it needs to work effectively, allowing for full digital representation of assets and real-time data. As you’ll see below, up-to-the-minute asset information is critical for a successful RCM3 implementation.

What Is RCM3?

RCM3, or (Risk-based) Reliability Centered Maintenance, is a key concept in contemporary asset management strategy development and an important topic at the conference. It builds on many of the ideas found in RCM2 to provide even better asset performance and risk management.

The strategies behind RCM3 were recently described in a book by Marius Basson titled “RCM3: Risk-based Reliability Centered Maintenance.” RCM2 was developed by John Moubray and applied by the global Aladon Network of experts starting in 1991, while RCM3 is based on Moubray’s work dating back to 1986 it provides a much more comprehensive methodology for identifying inherent risks and risk mitigating strategies. RCM2TM and RCM3TM are trademarks of Aladon. The entire approach is too complex to describe accurately in a single article, but we can focus on a few key concepts.

The Basics

Rather than a simple set of tactics or practices for asset management, RCM is described as a philosophy involving a new way of thinking about your assets. Basson states in the preface that it “allows users to fully understand and quantify the risks associated with owning and operating assets.” He presented with Theuns Koekemoer on the benefits associated with 4th generation maintenance and asset risk management. RCM3 aligns the organizational objectives for risk and reliability management and maintenance management with the ISO standards for Risk and Physical Asset Management (ISO 31000 and ISO 55000 respectively).

Risk-Based Reliability Centered Maintenance

In addition to updating some of the strategies involved in RCM2, RCM3 makes the system more flexible than ever and includes compatibility and alignment with modern ISO standards 31000, 14224, and 55000. The program was in testing and development for over ten years and has been tested and proven to be robust and reliable.

The Aladon Asset Management Strategy Development is a wholistic approach including methodologies such as Reliability Centered DesignTM (RCD). Their presentation stated that RCD determines “the most cost effective and safe design of physical assets including their operating, maintenance and other risk management strategies to meet and sustain the organization’s business objectives.” While RCD is applied during design, RCM3 is an extension of the design qualified through RCD to develop the minimum required safe amount of maintenance and operational strategies to achieve the business goals as defined during the RCD process.  RCM3 is also applied on operating assets and the objectives are to develop “the least amount of safe maintenance, engineering and other risk management strategies to ensure assets continue to do what the user wants them to do in their present operating context”.

Some of its advantages include:

  • Lower risk and cost
  • Better information management
  • Improved data quality
  • Involvement of all stakeholders
  • Defect elimination through rigorous evaluation
  • Documented operating philosophy at start up
  • Cost-effective maintenance and failure management

P-F Intervals

The P-F interval is one of the core innovations of John Moubray and RCM2, but it can be difficult to leverage effectively. A P-F interval measures the gap between a potential failure, or something that could cause downtime, and functional failure, meaning ineffective operation or the downtime itself. This moves companies from a reactive to a proactive approach to maintenance. Understanding this concept is crucial for setting condition monitoring task intervals and the identification of implementation of digitalization for IIOT.  It ensures that the correct data is captured at the correct points to enable decision making and development of predictive maintenance.

With a large enough P-F interval, businesses can identify potential failures far enough in advance to remedy them before they lead to functional failures. Quickly noticing potential failures requires reliable real-time information about asset conditions, making the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) a crucial component of effective reliability-centered maintenance. Businesses are always looking for innovative new ways to monitor their assets.

Failure Patterns

With that in mind, identifying the failure patterns associated with different assets helps decision-makers understand the most likely ways assets can fail in and the P-F intervals. From there, it’s much easier to determine the perfect time to perform maintenance on every asset based on its previous failure patterns and likely P-F interval.

RCM focuses on six common patterns of asset failure for managers to keep in mind when considering their own assets:

  • Bathtub curve: The bathtub curve applies to assets which are most likely to fail at the beginning and end of their lifespan.
  • Wearing out: Assets follow the wear out pattern if they see a rapid jump in failure rate at the end of their lifespan, allowing managers to statistically determine likely failure times.
  • Fatigue: Like wearing out, assets in the fatigue curve see a higher failure rate as time goes on. By contrast, their failures gradually increase over time rather than at a single predictable interval.
  • Break-in period: Assets that are broken in are unlikely to fail at the beginning of their lifespan and then experience a relatively consistent failure rate after that.
  • Random: As the name implies, the random curve is for assets which are essentially equally likely to fail at any time.
  • Infant mortality: This pattern describes assets with a high early rate of failure followed by a decrease to a consistent rate for the rest of their lifespan.

Asset and Risk Prioritization

The Eventful Group Keynote Credit: The Eventful Group

It’s nearly impossible to utilize your assets to their fullest potential without a comprehensive asset management strategy, and RCM leverages asset and risk prioritization to determine which risks are tolerable and which need to be addressed.

Aladon’s Asset Risk and Prioritization (ACAP) takes into account the environmental, safety-related, and operational costs and benefits of each course of action and comes up with a relative risk figure for each asset. This makes it easy to optimize your predictive maintenance strategies and be confident that you’re making the right decisions because you are managing the risks most important to your organization.

Rapid Content Delivery

SAP states that Rapid Content Delivery, also known as RCD, enables customers to “import the latest content updates for various SAP Solution Manager functions, such as Monitoring and Alerting, Guided Procedure, and Customer Usage Provisioning.”

With Rapid Content Delivery, users can set their SAP systems to update automatically as new downloads become available. This ensures that you’re always using the latest version of each SAP tool.

If you were fortunate enough to be in South Africa for the 2019 Mastering SAP Conference, you know that there were countless engaging presentations that presented innovative new ideas and strategies. These are just a few of the most exciting features we saw at the conference, each one enabling decision-makers to be more effective in their asset management practices.

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