Evolution of Asset Inspection and Maintenance
Inspections are an integral part of Asset up keeping and monitoring for any potential defects and degradations. Overtime the methodology and tools for Asset Inspections has evolved:
Paper based inspections were prevalent, used for compliance, regulatory and tracking purpose. However, it has its own limitations when asset intensive industries had a need for Enterprise solutions.
These paper-based inspection results and measurements were there used on a primitive whiteboard for tracking and other maintenance work scheduling.
The next evolution was when asset intensive industries started to adopt Enterprise Asset Management solutions to manage their asset maintenance. However, it still required the organisations to translate and maintain inspection data records against the asset in EAM. An additional challenge was having to use industry or asset specific inspection apps with little or no integration with EAM systems.
As a next evolution where industries envision digitalising their enterprise solutions, mandates having a connected ecosystem of solutions bringing in better user experience and ease of use.
Next-gen digital inspections integrating with SAP EAM
The next-gen digital inspections are driven by 3 major building blocks.
Dynamic Forms Management
Dynamic Forms are managed via a set of applications on BTP (Business Technology Platform). These applications help design, configure and publish Form templates for use in inspection work.
The Form builder application provides the ability to create and design Form templates suitable for various work streams. There are various controls that can be used, enrich it with validations, formulas, create dependency etc. It also has the ability to manage the lifecycle of the Form with versioning. You can also create library sections and reuse it in various forms.
Along with Form builder, there are a set of applications which support better reusability and help creation of bulk forms with limited effort, thereby resulting in quicker implementation of high-volume Forms.
Allows you to manage drop-downs and their values. Allows reordering and sequencing of values, and also assign them to questions. Any change in picklist can be published to templates, there-by making it easier for mass changes.
Allows you to manage checklist question library for different data types and inspection types. The where used section can be used to track the usage of the question in various modules and templates.
Allows you to manage modules and group questions for modularisation of inspection checklist activity. You can order the sequencing of questions and also manage various conditions and validations against each question to reflect in the Form template.
Allows you to manage Form templates, assign modules and reorder them. A generate function can be used to create the structured form in the Form builder automatically.
Asset Inspection and Work Execution – Dynamic Forms and SAP EAM in S/4HANA
Once the Form templates are created and published, they are available to create instances to perform actual inspections. Since inspections in SAP PM are typically carried out by means of a Work Order, it is imperative to associate Forms with Work Order.
In order to enable association, the solution makes use of defining rule sets via BRF+ in S4/HANA. You can define rules against Work Order information and associate Form Templates created in BTP.
Whenever the Work Order gets dispatched, the Form template is identified automatically via pre-configured BRF+ rules and is associated with the Work Order operation.
Mobile and offline Inspections – Forms, SAP EAM in S/4HANA and SAP Asset Manager
SAP Asset Manager is a mobility solution that helps transform how maintenance and field operations professionals help prolong the life of Assets. For more details, refer.
SAP Asset Manager works as an offline first application, which enables field workers to perform their job even in areas where there is limited network availability.
With Dynamic Forms, the solution has been extended to support offline inspections, by enabling Forms to be available offline so that the field workers can carry out inspections in remote areas with limited connectivity.
Dynamic Forms have a very easy to use and intuitive design that enable field inspectors to perform inspections efficiently.
In certain cases where there is a requirement for field inspector to report incidents or associate adhoc forms that were not pre-determined, field users can associate a form with a maintenance notification.
Inspection Process overview with Dynamic Forms and SAP Asset Manager
SAP Asset Manager coupled with Dynamic Forms provides a very intuitive and easy way to operationalise inspection work. It provides easy way for business users to design forms with absolutely low or no code. Its ability to integrate with SAP PM/EAM (S/4HANA / ECC) work execution process makes it even more powerful and ready for business use in various asset intensive industries that spend considerable resources, both in terms of capital and man-power on regular inspections.
From a future perspective, the Vision is: Evolve into “intelligent” asset inspection
Let us know what you think. Happy to listen.