Over the past decade, the enterprise asset management (EAM) landscape has changed dramatically. As intelligent technologies have steadily improved and seem more and more implementations across all industries, the ways organizations track, maintain, and fix their assets have steadily morphed. Earlier this week, ASUG hosted ASUG Best Practices: SAP for EAM, a virtual conference series dedicated to the SAP EAM portfolio of solutions and customer stories.

“Welcome to the new age of asset management. Converging technologies are making capabilities—once thought to be science fiction—possible,” said Paul Kurchina, ASUG evangelist and one of the event’s hosts. “Maintenance folks, it’s time to learn to use these new tools in your toolbelt: AI, ML, IoT, sensors, and drones.”

Attendees heard from SAP experts and customers about the changing EAM field and what the future holds moving forward. Here are four highlights from the event.

The SAP Road Map for EAM

One of the main topics throughout the conference was the direction SAP is taking its intelligent asset management portfolio and what the road map for this line of solutions looks like. In the first session of the conference, Tom Kurtz, global solutions lead for intelligent asset management at SAP, and Dieter Haesslein, SVP of global assessment management at SAP, walked attendees through the software company’s road map for EAM solutions. The two emphasized the importance of maximizing the return on an asset.

Haesslein laid out the five main themes that SAP is focusing on that will help customers as they go about trying to set up an intelligent asset management system: a closed loop of maintenance strategy and execution, connected assets with Industry 4.0, business partner networks for asset management, embedded environment health and safety capabilities (EHS), and mobile and augmented reality.

Later, Kurtz discussed opportunities in asset service and maintenance that SAP is trying to take advantage of, including integrating dynamic asset performance management with maintenance data, connecting assets with Industry 4.0 for predictive and prescriptive maintenance, and integrated EHS policies. He also walked audiences through the new updates and capabilities SAP is building into its EAM solutions, including SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Management, SAP Asset Intelligence Network, and SAP Mobile Asset Management.

In a later session, Patrick Crampton-Thomas, global head of Digital Products and Asset Management at SAP, went through some of the new capabilities SAP is introducing to some of its EAM solutions in 2021. For example, SAP Asset Strategy and Performance Management will see integration with SAP S/4HANA maintenance and service operations this year, while SAP Asset Networks and Collaboration will see enhanced asset data with SAP S/4HANA, along with collaborative work orders, governance for shared objects, and integration with the SAP Business Network.

Customer Story: Agrana Fruit

One of the many customer story sessions from the conference focused on Agrana Fruit’s deployment of SAP Plant Manager, SAP Asset Manager, and SAP Intelligent Asset Management. Norbert Schmitt, head of IT U.S. and strategy officer of Agrana Fruit USA, was joined by Ez Yaqub, principal consultant of Evora IT Solutions, to discuss the company’s deployment story.

According to Schmitt, Agrana is using these SAP solutions to improve some of the company’s EAM capabilities and reporting across its four production sites in the U.S. SAP Plant Manager will be used for inspection, predictive maintenance, and repairs. The solution is already being used by some of the company’s European affiliates. SAP Asset Manager will be leveraged to help with work order management, including managing notifications, time, parts, and measure readings while integrating with geographic systems. Additionally, the solution is being used because of its cloud-based deployment options, mobile capabilities, and flexibility on the back end.

Agrana was already making the move to SAP S/4HANA and using some SAP solutions, including SAP Materials Master, SAP Warehouse Management, and SAP Sales and Distribution. Initially, the planned go-live for the SAP EAM solutions was supposed to be in May 2020. However, due to COVID-19, the date got pushed back to March 2021. Currently, SAP Asset Manager, SAP Intelligent Asset Management, and SAP Plant Manager are live in an Agrana location in Ohio. Moving forward, the company hopes to do a rollout of the solutions in North America before expanding across its global operations. Schmitt also mentioned Agrana is planning on implementing and leveraging digital twin technologies in the future.

State of Automation in the EAM Market

Today, automation and intelligent technologies are at the heart of EAM strategies and solutions. During his opening session, Haesslein emphasized the need for solutions that allow customers to do “predictive and prescriptive maintenance” on assets. This allows customers to tackle issues with their enterprise assets before there’s a problem. This inherently leads not only to improved and streamlined work processes, but it also improves the health and lifespan of enterprise assets.

Romeu Sciotta, EVP, partner, and co-founder of Sigga Technologies, lead a session on the future of automation in the SAP EAM market. At the beginning of that session, he went through some of the industry trends he’s seeing. Off the bat, the sensor market is incredibly active and profitable. According to Sciotta, it exceeded over $20 billion in revenue last year is expected to grow to over $30 billion in 2026. While the industry is growing, it’s certainly not without its challenges, including hurdles with sourcing quality sensors along with power management, security, and processing issues.

Sciotta also went through some of the challenges that organizations must contend with when implementing EAM solutions and trying to become a part of “Industry 4.0.” Companies need to digitize their workflows, while reducing costly customizations. Additionally, they are trying to lower TCO while also accelerating their ROI.

Leveraging Intelligent Technologies

In one of the last sessions of the conference, Simon Lee, solution manager at SAP, discussed predictive maintenance using intelligent technologies such as IoT, ML, and digital twin.

“For the last two years, we have seen a real uptick in terms of customer interest and adoption,” he said.

Lee noted that SAP customers are telling the software company that they “want to be more data-driven” and also want to “take advantage of the data they are collecting.” Right now, many companies are leveraging these technologies to plan maintenance events, decrease downtime, and lower maintenance costs. Lee said that the “next level” of using these technologies is leveraging digital twin solutions to simulate asset statuses and bring advanced warnings to asset downtime and maintenance.

Lee also broke down the advantage SAP Predictive Asset Insights can bring customers. The solution brings together ML, AI, and IoT to help customers “detect anomalies” and “gain insights.” The solution also makes use of sensor data, helping customers get a holistic, 360-degree view of their assets and how they perform.

ASUG hosted ASUG Best Practices: SAP for Supply Chain on May 11 and 12. ASUG hosts multiple events regarding SAP for Supply Chain throughout the year. Make sure you are free and register for our events.

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