Physical asset management is a strategy for implementing efficient and effective upkeep of a manufactured item or property throughout its entire lifecycle. Activities facilitated by physical asset management include maintenance, repair, upgrades, and end-of-life disposition of the asset. Also called service asset management, this strategy is often applied to equipment, machinery, devices, vehicles, and other complex assets that are characterized by relatively long product lifecycles. The purpose of physical asset management is to increase the performance, efficiency, and life of assets during their operational use. Both manufacturers and owners/operators rely on physical asset management to optimize service activities.
Physical asset management is typically carried out by asset management software, which is part of a service lifecycle management (SLM) system. Asset management software connects service activities with an asset’s history, operational status, unplanned downtime, regulated maintenance requirements, current configuration, and more.
Physical asset management software gathers and maintains updated asset-specific information as services are performed. It also provides service technicians with up-to-date asset configuration information, service materials such as parts and kits, and the technical documentation the technicians need to perform rapid, right-the-first-time service. The software also provides an open ecosystem visible and accessible to OEMs, customers, and third parties involved in delivering effective service of managed assets.
Critical to physical asset management is a comprehensive, actionable digital twin, which is a virtual representation that contains the up-to-date physical structure of the managed asset. This digital twin comprises all the mechanical, electrical/electronic, software, and associated document-related components of each asset as well as the status and history of their operational use.
Service asset management is most effective when it is supported by a managed view of the service materials requirements, bridging ongoing engineering changes and upgrades of the product to the specific asset physical structure requirements. This managed view is known as the service bill of materials (sBOM). Without an integrated sBOM, significant discrepancies may emerge between ongoing change processes and the physical asset, and service impacts of changes may not be fully considered.
Implementing an integrated service BOM links physical asset management to the current engineering definition and provides a clear and accurate understanding of what parts must be tracked and maintained for ongoing service activities.
The service BOM can be used to:
Define additional characteristics critical to service
Expand the definition of purchased assemblies to include required serviceable items
Define service kits
Create and manage service assemblies
Define service specific items that may be required to perform service tasks
Manage specialized tooling required for service
Manage compatible upgrades
By implementing physical asset management as part of a service lifecycle management system, stakeholders gain up-to-date visibility of serviced physical structures. This enables them to develop optimal service strategies and improve asset uptime and performance in the field.
Early identification of material or logistics issues
Greater assurance that compliance requirements are met
Reduced inventory costs and reduced scrap rates of unneeded parts
Improved efficiency in developing and maintaining parts catalogs
Improved traceability and clarity of service impacts across the enterprise
CIMdata highlights the need for modern Service Lifecycle Management solutions coupled with product lifecycle management (PLM) to successfully address the planning, design, production, and operation of long-life assets.