You didn’t read the title of this blog incorrectly!  To improve the quality, accuracy, and trust in your organization’s asset data,  it is key to make asset data integrity ‘EASY’ for all stakeholders.  EASY refers to your data being:

E-Essential
A-Accurate
S-Structured
Y-Yours

We use this acronym to illustrate tenets of why this endeavor is a worthwhile necessity for your organization.   The precursor to EASY Asset Data Integrity is to clearly define what system(s) your data will reside; the fewer the better will lead to great levels of data accuracy, retention, and real time informed-based decision making.  Success requires your data to be:

Essential

The data must be such that all end users enter their data into the system of record for the organization.  When we say all data that means everything; commit to ending the use of external spreadsheets, squirreled away documents, and other informal means for document retention.  Today’s asset-centric systems (CMMS/EAM) are fully capable of capturing all necessary data elements in a single repository and create a direct link to controlled documents stored within a formal document management system.  The more your data is kept here the greater reliance and trust you and other end user stakeholders can begin to have on this information to make consistent, repeatable decisions.

Accurate

Not only does all of the data need to be in the system it must also have a high degree of accuracy.  Accurate and complete data provide confidence to the organization that they can rely upon it to perform analysis and make informed decisions.  When we say the data must be accurate that also means that updates to data elements happen in a  timely manner.  This applies to master data (fixed assets and their characteristics) as well as transactional (work management related) data.  In all industries, processes change due to upgrades, process improvements, and the laws of physics.  As such the speed at which these changes occur should be accounted for and captured in the system.  Some industries utilize formal Engineering or Management of Change (MoC) programs to execute change while some use informal means.  You should assess how your organization deals with change and ensure that the data elements impacted are captured correctly and timely in the system based upon these parallel programs and processes.

Structured

Next to not having any data in your CMMS/EAM is not having any data structure.   Create a define means for how physical, fixed assets will be captured in your system.  Having a clear and defined hierarchy for ‘parent-child’ relationships between plants, systems, process streams, locations, equipment, assemblies, and bills of material provide all users the ability to find and locate data points of interest in a repeatable fashion.  Equally important to hierarchy structure is how physical assets are named in your system.  A uniform, consistent taxonomy creates value benefits for users to find the correct data to leverage for generating action (i.e. writing work requests), analyzing problem areas (reliability reports for multiple assets of the same type), and making management decisions (appropriating funds for upgrade projects).

Yours

The first three elements create benefit for the most important.  Now that your system has structured, essential, and accessible data, extensive efforts must be deployed by the organization to ensure the data is used.  The data, when properly understood and grouped forms a powerful toolset that fosters informed, sound decisions based upon facts rather than conjecture.  The goal is to ultimately deliver value to the organization based upon sound data; creating ownership and sound data integrity provide the initial base toward this aim.

The asset data and information must be driven to the end users that input results and findings into the system. Equally important are the managers, equipment owners, and technical resources that need access to the information to understand issues and make decisions.  Access runs the gambit from proper security permissions to the ability to call up information for approval and report query results on mobile devices during travel.

A few words about Training – Provide intensive training specifically geared to each group within your user base.  The training package delivered to Operators and Technicians should be different from that of Managers that call upon the data to provide information.  Equip users with well-defined fit for purpose materials before the training begins.  In addition, canvas users for what their perspective of what data and information they need before creating the classes and materials.  This type of interview process can unearth improvement opportunities in the data gap between perception and reality in how business is conducted (information, decision making, assumption paradox).

Finally, encourage end users to make use of the data and present it to them in a manner that forms the basis for the what, how, when, where, and why business gets done on a daily basis.  Caution should be taken to present the data in an evolutionary, contextual manner such to not overwhelm end users.