Physical assets – from manufacturing machinery to medical equipment, industrial kit to simple computers – often make up a hugely valuable portion of a company’s overall infrastructure. They’re costly in themselves, expensive and often complicated to repair and replace, and they play a critical role in day-to-day operations. A problem with a physical asset might render your business unable to manufacturer any products. And because physical assets are so often tied together in a complex, symbiotic web, if one asset fails it may leave you unable to use others, even if there is nothing wrong with them at all.
A massive amount of the business value, therefore may be tied up in those physical assets – which means they’re worth looking after.
Asset monitoring is one of the best ways of doing so. This involves using sensors data from equipment across your company – even if it is unmanned or remote – and then transferring it digitally to a centralised system that stores and processes it. In other words, that equipment becomes IoT-enabled, with data on anything from oil levels to production speed collected and monitored centrally in real time.
In turn, that data is processed into value trends, machine statuses, alarms and other services, depending on the precise needs of your business – it’s very flexible. That information is automatically centralised and communicated to you via a dashboard or similar system. If a value or status exceeds a pre-set value or sets to a particular condition then you can receive an immediate alert – or you can proactively ‘zoom in’ and check on a particular asset at any time to check that all is running as expected.
So that’s what asset monitoring actually involves. Here are three key ways in which such asset monitoring could benefit your business:
1. Trend spotting
The data generated by an asset monitoring system is continually updated, continually building on itself – which means that you can very rapidly identify trends in the use and performance of different equipment. Such trend maps are useful in myriad ways. They can help you identify which processes within your organisation are more effective than others, and which could be improved. They can provide additional intelligence on product popularity and buying patterns – which in turn can feed into product development, sales and marketing. They can help you predict busy periods, and provide extra resources to cover them if necessarily.
2. Stretchy scalability
The beauty of a cloud-based system is that it can easily stretch and flex as your business grows. There’s no need to make a hefty capital outlay at the beginning that then might need replacing if your business has a successful few years. You can choose whether to enable all or just some of your physical assets with such monitoring technology, and add new assets to the system as and when you choose.
3. Sweated assets
‘Sweating your assets’ means maximising the useful lifespan of your equipment through clever maintenance – which means both maintaining your assets before they fail altogether, and scheduling that maintenance at the most appropriate time of the day/week/month. The intelligence generated by an asset monitoring solution will help you make both decisions.
Clearly, IoT enabled enterprise asset monitoring is critical to the health of an organisation. When handled correctly, it provides insight into all enterprise assets, their conditions and work processes. It is key to continued operations in times of reduced budgets aiding better planning and control. Asset management can also help extend the useful life of equipment, improve return on investment and defer new purchases.