This is the fourth post in our blog series, 9 Reasons EAM Implementations Fail (And How to Fix Them).

Too often, companies purchase an EAM software system without bothering to identify goals, articulate a strategy, or get everyone on board. This lack of alignment is guaranteed to derail the EAM implementation.

Generating reliable and actionable EAM information on a sustainable basis requires organizational buy-in. Everyone has to get on the bus. Since lots of folks impact data quality, it’s best to take a top-down approach that creates organizational alignment between the execs and the techs—and between employees and objectives.

Achieving Organizational Alignment in Enterprise Asset Management

“Organizational alignment” is a big term, but it really boils down to two things: direction and buy-in. To achieve ROI with any EAM software system, your EAM implementation needs a clear direction and your team must buy in to that direction. In other words, you must:

  1. Identify the mission (i.e., your enterprise asset management goals and strategy).
  2. Get everyone on board (i.e., working together to realize those goals via that strategy).

Both of these tasks require documentation. You can’t articulate your direction without documented policy, objectives, and strategy. You can’t get everyone aligned without documented roles and responsibilities. (Documented processes and procedures also play an important part in this effort. We’ll discuss those in a future post.)

Think about it for a moment. If you don’t have an official, documented strategy, how are you going to keep everyone on the same page? If you haven’t established objectives, how will you know what you’re trying to accomplish? If you don’t have clear roles and responsibilities, how will your people know what to do and when to do it, or what part they’re supposed to play in improving asset management?

Organizational Alignment
A successful team knows their objectives, their game plan, and the part each team member is supposed to play.

When the asset management organization isn’t operating as a team, with a well-defined structure and clear direction from upper management, it’s impossible to generate the information needed to make smart business decisions regarding the company’s physical assets.

Planning Your EAM Software Implementation

Documentation is essential for aligning your organization. You have to articulate the mission and structure for your enterprise asset management operation before you can communicate them to your team. Creating the necessary documentation should be a key part of the planning process for your EAM software implementation.

To achieve organizational alignment, you’ll need two key sets of documents: policy, objectives, and strategy (sometimes referred to collectively as a “strategic asset management plan,” or SAMP) and roles and responsibilities.

Asset Management Policy

The asset management policy is a mandate from the executive team on how your organization will manage its physical assets. It connects what’s happening in asset management to the delivery of corporate objectives. Like a safety policy or environmental policy, your asset management policy should be short and broad, describing overall drivers and approach without going into detail. One page is ideal.

Asset Management Objectives

Objectives bring laser-like focus to your EAM implementation. They should be specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, targeted (SMART) goals that are tied to the business drivers identified in your policy. For example, let’s say your policy identifies “reliability” as a key business driver for asset management and includes “increase uptime” as a goal under that driver. In this case, one of your objectives might be “increase MTBF by 5% over the next 18 months.” Objectives also provide a foundation for performance measurement, which we’ll talk about in a future post.

Asset Management Strategy

The asset management strategy is your game plan. It lays out a step-by-step program for achieving the objectives you’ve established. Your strategy document should describe initiatives and timeframes for each stage of your EAM implementation, taking into account things like organizational context and potential implementation challenges. The asset management strategy is your basis for action.

Asset Management Roles and Responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities are how you organize your organization to be successful. By defining and documenting them, you ensure that everyone knows their jobs and works together smoothly to accomplish the same objectives. You should establish clear roles and responsibilities for all of the business functions involved in managing the company’s assets. This includes not only maintenance but also reliability engineering, MRO materials management, and MRO procurement.

Work Completion
Responsibilities matrix for maintenance work completion. (Sample from SwainSmith’s SynergyTM model for maintenance management.)

Aligning Your Organization for EAM Success

An EAM/CMMS software system doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Organizational context plays a huge role in the system’s performance—both the quality of the information it generates and the overall value it delivers. If you want to see real ROI from your EAM software, you have to identify your goals and get everyone working together to achieve them. Align your organization for EAM success by developing and communicating your asset management policy, objectives, strategy, and roles and responsibilities.

In our next post, we’ll talk about master data and coding structures, two of the most crucial yet most often overlooked elements of an EAM/CMMS implementation. Come back next week to read about EAM Pitfall #4: Corrupt Data Foundation.

Tracy Smith

Tracy S. Smith has been helping organizations implement successful EAM software systems for 20 years. He is the president of SwainSmith, Inc., an EAM solutions company. He also offers complimentary 30-minute EAM consultations. No sales pitch or a pesky follow-up call. Just straight answers to your questions—and an objective, experienced assessment of your issues and goals.

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Checklist

EAM/CMMS Implementation Checklist

Evaluate your asset management software implementation with our self-guided EAM/CMMS Implementation Checklist. Our checklist covers all of the critical areas for EAM/CMMS success, including business process, software capabilities, master data, and performance management.