The Asset Lifecycle

Information systems should control every aspect of the asset lifecycle.

Firms in resource-intensive industries such as utilities, manufacturing, and transportation, need to be able to optimize assets while minimizing capital expenditures. Savvy companies are utilizing asset lifecycle management (ALM) applications, such as Oracle E-Business Suite, to maintain all data related to acquiring, operating, and retiring enterprise assets. Such applications help firms to monitor the performance and health of assets in an efficient and proactive way.


Learn how Alcoa, the aluminum giant with 130,000 employees and manufacturing facilities in 39 countries, is benefiting from a comprehensive enterprise asset management (EAM) strategy that leverages a single source of EAM data to share information across applications. Alcoa uses Oracle Enterprise Asset Management to more closely match its maintenance strategy to production requirements.

Cabot Electronics Corporation, a leading developer of sophisticated polishing compounds, also depends on Oracle Enterprise Asset Management for improved asset management. The company reports that the application has been a critical tool for performing and documenting preventive maintenance activities. In addition, Cabot Electronics has improved record keeping and achieved impressive cost savings with its EAM strategy.

In resource-intensive industries such as manufacturing, transportation, and utilities, effective use of assets can mean the difference between profit and loss, compliance and noncompliance, and leading the market and falling behind. Companies in these industries operate a broad range of asset types, including warehouse facilities, vehicle fleets, process control equipment, packaging facilities, and treatment plants. To make the most of these assets and minimize capital expenditures, they need information systems that control every aspect of the asset lifecycle, from procurement through retirement.

Once asset information is properly collected and stored, enterprise applications such as Oracle E-Business Suite monitor the health and performance of those assets. Commonly called asset lifecycle management (ALM) applications, these applications maintain all information related to acquiring, specifying, operating, and retiring enterprise assets, making them available to all pertinent users throughout the enterprise.

"Ultimately, the information itself becomes part of the asset, a library of data governed by a series of workflows and triggers on that data," explains Stephen Slade, director of applications and marketing for Oracle's service and maintenance product line. "The ERP [enterprise resource planning] system then knows what action to take at any particular time regarding maintenance, inspection, or any type of service protocol, so companies can take charge of asset management activities."

According to Slade, although most companies have been capturing asset information for decades, they have not been making optimal use of the data. It's often a simple problem of visibility: Maintenance histories, for example, are typically tracked in isolated spreadsheets managed by asset operators and unavailable to the rest of the enterprise. This isolation makes it difficult for a purchasing manager to plan and budget, or for a compliance officer to respond to a quality-control audit.


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