Machinery, equipment and other physical assets are the foundation of industrial enterprises. Factories, plants and similar organizations depend on many pieces of equipment to support their day-to-day operations. Because of this heavy reliance on physical assets, unplanned downtime, outages and equipment failure can cause enormous setbacks for these organizations, resulting in decreased productivity and profits. It’s understandable that industrial enterprises strive to protect their assets to prevent equipment breakdowns and sunk costs.
Physical assets are a huge investment of time and money, and maximizing them for all they are worth involves proper equipment lifecycle management. Through strategic management of the equipment lifecycle, plants and similar organizations can optimize their assets for long-lasting performance and improved ROI.
What is the equipment lifecycle?
“Equipment lifecycle” describes the overall lifecycle of a physical asset such as a piece of machinery or equipment. An asset can be as small as a power drill or as large as a jet plane. Regardless of size, every physical asset plays a critical role in supporting the overall productivity of an organization. Therefore, enterprises that heavily rely on physical assets for their operations understand just how important it is to optimize these assets for success. Part of this optimization process involves maximizing the equipment lifecycle so companies can reap the benefits of their assets for as long as possible.
The equipment lifecycle consists of four phases: planning, procurement/acquisition, operation/maintenance and disposal. Each equipment lifecycle phase is critical in supporting the longevity and performance of an asset.
- Planning - The first equipment lifecycle stage is planning for replacing or acquiring a new piece of equipment. Proper planning involves assessing the organization’s needs and determining the most cost-effective strategy for procuring a new asset.
- Procurement/Acquisition - The second phase of the equipment lifecycle is procurement, which means acquiring or purchasing the asset. Before purchase, companies must budget for the asset and negotiate costs to ensure the purchase is as cost-effective as possible. Once the purchase is finalized, the asset is assembled and added to the company’s inventory.
- Operation/Maintenance - This next stage is, ideally, the longest stage of the equipment lifecycle. “Operation” means using the asset for its intended purpose, and “maintenance” means carefully maintaining an asset to support its performance over time. Strategic asset maintenance often incorporates tools such as CMMS maintenance software and predictive maintenance tools to manage and optimize the maintenance process throughout the equipment lifecycle. Organizations can further maximize the operation/maintenance stage by using an asset management solution such as EAM software to optimize equipment performance throughout the equipment lifecycle.
- Disposal - The final stage of the equipment lifecycle involves properly disposing of the asset. This stage cannot be overlooked, as many organizations are required to follow certain environmental and safety regulations when discarding equipment. The equipment disposal phase entails safely dismantling and disposing of the asset while adhering to important regulations to protect employees and the surrounding environment from any hazards.
Equipment lifecycle optimization for enhanced results
Thanks to modern technology, equipment lifecycle management has never been easier to harness. With tools such as enterprise asset management software (EAM software), CMMS maintenance software and other intelligent solutions, organizations can take better control of the enterprise asset management process to maximize equipment performance over time. Here are just a few examples of asset management solutions that help support asset lifecycle management:
- EAM software - EAM software supports the asset lifecycle management process by overseeing all phases of the equipment lifecycle. This powerful software aims to optimize the utilization and quality of assets throughout their lifecycle to improve uptime and decrease operational costs.
- CMMS software - CMMS software may be used as a standalone product or as a component of EAM software to support the operation/maintenance stage of the equipment lifecycle. A CMMS centralizes important asset information to streamline equipment maintenance and improve overall efficiency.
- Predictive maintenance tools - Tools such as sensors and gauges can be used in the operation/maintenance stage to detect warning signs of equipment malfunction. Companies can then analyze and apply this information to schedule preventive maintenance and reduce unplanned downtime.
Why equipment lifecycle management matters
For plants, factories and similar enterprises, the performance of their physical assets is directly correlated to profitability. The longer a physical asset can be used, the greater the return on investment. However, utilization only goes so far without optimization, which is where equipment lifecycle management comes into play.
Strategic asset lifecycle management requires analyzing equipment performance and making adjustments accordingly to optimize assets for results. By taking advantage of tools such as EAM software and other asset management solutions, companies can take a proactive, hands-on approach to asset management and gain a better understanding of how to effectively support the equipment lifecycle.
What is equipment lifecycle?
The term “equipment lifecycle” describes the lifespan or longevity of a physical asset, including equipment and machinery. Equipment lifecycle is an important factor in productivity and throughput because the longer a piece of equipment can be used effectively, the better its return on investment. Therefore, companies who rely on physical assets often prioritize maximizing their equipment lifecycle through strategic enterprise asset management.
What are the four phases of the equipment lifecycle?
The four phases of the equipment lifecycle are planning, procurement/acquisition, operation/maintenance, and disposal.
Planning entails preparing for making an equipment purchase. This stage involves assessing the organization’s needs and determining the best course of action to suit these needs.
- Procurement, which is also known as “acquisition,” involves acquiring or purchasing the asset. Companies must budget accordingly to ensure that the purchase is as cost-efficient as possible. Once the asset is acquired, organizations install or assemble the asset and officially add it to their inventory.
- Operation and maintenance is the longest stage of the equipment lifecycle. This phase involves using the asset for the purpose for which it was intended. Proper equipment maintenance helps prolong this equipment lifecycle stage. Proper maintenance is imperative for prolonging and optimizing the asset’s lifespan.
- Disposal entails properly discarding the asset. Many industries are bound by various safety and environmental regulations, and proper asset disposal means abiding by such regulations to avoid penalties and ensure the asset is discarded in a safe manner.