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Awaken your assets with Intelligent Asset Management

Xavier de Toca Andreu
July 22, 2020

You’ll probably notice that your fridge is space consuming and dispenses food when you need it. It may still be an expense in your bank account, or it once was. You are aware that you pay the electricity bill and that it will not work in case of a power failure. You clean it and use it correctly, but you still sometimes access the instructions when it starts beeping. You may even have your home insurance repair or replace if it breaks down, but you hope that this doesn’t happen. But when it does, you assess whether it costs you more to buy a new one or to fix it and keep it for just one more year. Today, we already understand that an asset can “perceive” and “feel” more and better. Increasingly accessible sensorization can detect humidity, vibrations, number of openings, or temperature. And, we also know that all this information is more treatable today than ever before, that future behavior can be predicted through evaluation and analysis. If we think of the refrigerator as an asset capable of perceiving and “thinking” (if we believe it can be “intelligent”), our mindset will change.

The refrigerator can also be “someone” who interprets your perceptions and makes intelligent decisions based on them. Someone who recommends the healthiest recipes and ingredients among those things we like the most. Someone who warns us that it is better to eat what is going to expire sooner or who sends us an email with the shopping list while we are at work. But it also warns us that it seems to be getting sick. It is not something entirely inert and linear. It is rather a multi-faceted being and much more autonomous “someone” who helps us in its area of function and physics.

Moving this into an industry, petrochemical, transport, retail, warehouse – any productive activity with hundreds and thousands of assets that operate, produce, consume, and cost, you can begin to imagine where we are going – all the sensors collecting information at every second, without human supervision, without the usual health and safety risks.

The challenge and why SAP

It’s exciting, isn’t it? If you think now that you must implement it, in your own home, in your own business – all that excitement turns into panic. And then questions come up like, is there anyone in my country who has already implemented it? Will I be able to define what I need, or will I even be able to handle it/understand it? Will I understand my refrigerator when it talks to me? Will I be able to tell it that I don’t like what it does and ask it to change, or will it be beyond my control? I’m sure you recognize this technological paralysis every time you buy a device you can’t seem to understand.

To tell the truth, there are companies that have already taken this path. And in a far more difficult way, with completely customized tools, longer and more expensive definition processes, and with a very high dependence on specialized personnel.

Capgemini’s approach using the SAP IAM (Intelligent Asset Management) solution portfolio is an accelerator, and at the same time an easy, firsthand approach. This portfolio allows us to involve those less experienced or completely unfamiliar with the technical environment in the most innovative processes and tools from the earliest stages. The IAM tools already have predefined machine learning (ML) algorithms, ready to be trained:

  • SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service (PDMS) provides auto ML functionality that can suggest models best suited to the evolving data, from available predefined models.
  • The mobility experience of SAP Asset Manager can be experienced from the start, it is plug and play, with very interesting functionalities out of the box. The standardized user experience is optimized for processes already deployed in SAP PM (plant maintenance).
  • SAP AIN (Asset Intelligence Network): The experience of collaboration and applying the main international standards of definition of asset attributes only requires the categorization and selection of the assets and information to be shared.
  • SAP ASPM (Asset Strategy and Performance Management): The reliability analyses, root cause, decision trees, or questionnaires frequently used in maintenance engineering are predefined and have a native integration with SAP systems.

Do I need to have SAP ERP implemented? No, it is not a prerequisite to start working with these tools.

They are applications that work “stand alone.” The integration is optimized with ERP and the shared data model makes it easy to use and even recommended. If you are considering migrating to ERP in the future, the experience will improve.

“I work at ECC, but I’m not ready to move to SAP S/4HANA.” No problem, all applications can be integrated with ECC systems from EHP7 onwards.

But, warning to seafarers, innovation has a very long learning curve. Having tools and early processing of information does not mean that it is completely usable from the beginning.

With our experience and the experience of the product owner, we have been able to identify several levels of maturity (from 0 to 4) in a company, to identify exactly which tasks need to be focused on and to take advantage of the efforts to build a solid solution that provides improvements and that is closely linked to the concept of the “Renewable Enterprise.”

We generally recommend starting with small steps as soon as possible. Involve the maintenance experts of each company from the beginning in a transformation challenge that it is imperative to address with patience, overcoming resistance to change, with an open mind and being very flexible, reflecting on the progress and errors at any minimum progress and being willing to redirect the strategy or schedule to achieve a greater and more ambitious goal. It is advisable to start with sessions of design thinking, proofs of concept, and pilots before considering the tools implemented. Start with what can provide more value with less transformation effort but consider it as a continuous transformation and learning effort. In short, be agile.

Co-authors and people to contact:

  • De Toca Andreu, Xavier
  • Ibañez Mari, Salvador: Email-
  • Quinza Perez, Paula: Email-