Last week, ASUG hosted its event focused on enterprise asset management (EAM), ASUG Best Practices: SAP for EAM. Over the course of two days, this virtual event featured thought leaders, customers, and SAP experts sharing insights on best practices and innovations in the EAM space. Here are three highlights from the event in case you missed it.
1. Shifting Customer Requirements and Market Dynamics
Patrick Crampton-Thomas, VP of asset management and service for SAP Digital Supply Chain Solution Manager, kicked off the conference with a keynote address examining some of the key themes SAP is observing in the EAM space. Crampton-Thomas also focused on the SAP strategy in this particular field, as well as on the software company’s priorities for 2022.
“One of the major themes we do see is the change of business model,” Crampton-Thomas said. He noted that SAP customers’ desire to grow revenue through service is spurring this shift. Additionally, he said that SAP is seeing more of its customers outsource maintenance, along with trying to move “from reactive maintenance to prescriptive maintenance.” This last notion was a key theme throughout the entire conference, with thought leaders, SAP experts, and customers underlining the importance of creating more agility and predictive enterprises.
Related to this emphasis on agility, Crampton-Thomas also discussed customers’ need for digitization, which will help them be less reactive to asset maintenance. He also underscored that unplanned events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have played a role in organizations’ focus on predictive, agile maintenance. Crampton-Thomas discussed the use of automation to “get more out of less,” which will allow organizations to react to unplanned disruptions more efficiently.
2. Standardizing Work Processes
ASUG Best Practices: SAP for EAM also featured several SAP customers who led attendees through their EAM and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) projects. Lynnanne Catron, AVP IT for Norfolk Southern Corporation, detailed how the freight transportation and railroad organization leveraged SAP S/4HANA EAM and geographic information system solutions to improve its ALM capabilities.
Norfolk Southern owns approximately $40 billion in total assets and spends about $3 billion to maintain those assets. To manage, the organization has developed an EAM and linear asset management “blueprint.”
“One of the key outcomes of any effective asset management program is allowing you to move from reactive to proactive work,” Catron said. She explained that since Norfolk Southern owns so many long-standing assets—assets the corporation expects to leverage for several years—the organization needs to “get the most effective maintenance work that we can.”
The organization is working on asset health, work management, data management, operations enablement, and inventory safety and health.
“We need to bring standardization into work management and work execution,” Catron said. This would allow Norfolk Southern to have concise, accurate data along with centralized planning activities. She also emphasized the importance of keeping end users in mind.
“We have to focus on process and people and then the technology,” Catron said. She noted that Norfolk Southern is considering organizational change management as it defines its strategy and even chooses a partner for this project.
3. Leveraging Mobility Solutions
In another customer-focused panel, Laura Musgrove, program manager for Freeport-McMoRan, discussed how the organization implemented the SAP Asset Manager mobility solution.
“There is a lot of ‘new-ness’ that comes with going digital,” she said, underlining many unknowns that Freeport McMoRan had to define (and that organizations hoping to replicate a similar rollout will need to address), including Wi-Fi access points and the process of deploying a tablet to an end user.
The project helped Freeport-McMoRan improve many processes, including bolstering communication between roles in the maintenance process, recording specific data, and attaching photos of an asset in the field to a report. She said that while SAP Asset Manager has great out-of-the-box functionality, organizations will need to plan and have proper resources. Musgrove encouraged organizations to discuss topics such as data preparation, wireless infrastructure, and change management to successfully implement SAP Asset Manager.
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