Metaldyne, a global supplier of metal-based components, has deployed J.D. Edwards’ enterprise asset management (EAM) product as part of its overall manufacturing and supply chain — and, to a certain degree, CRM — strategy.
“What we are finding is that within our supply chain, our time is becoming less and less — less time to market, less time for upgrades, process changes and material changes,” Steve Zimmerman, Metaldyne’s director of supply chain systems, told CRM Buyer Magazine.”So, with a supply pipeline that is continually shortening, the ability to maintain our main resource — which is the machinery — is crucial to meeting market and customer demands.”
Into the Enterprise App Fold
To be sure, EAM has been in existence for a number of years in one incarnation or another. Point solutions of this sort are sometimes known as “CMMS,” or computer main management systems. However, this particular category has undergone a change in positioning, as well as an upgrade in tool set, over the last few years — a change reflected in Metaldyne’s deployment. Long a discrete application that basically keeps track of the uptime and maintenance needed for equipment in manufacturing operations, EAM is increasingly being folded into ERP (enterprise resource planning), supply chain and CRM applications.
For example, through its EAM implementation, Metaldyne will be able to link utilization and operational information about its manufacturing assets with their book value, depreciation, and revenue and cost streams, according to the company.
Equipment as Customers
Just as important is the incorporation of CRM techniques in the newest generation of EAM features, Zimmerman said. “They basically allow me to treat a piece of valuable equipment as I would a customer… ‘When did I last meet with this piece of equipment? What were the issues raised? When will I have to visit again?'”
Perhaps the most ubiquitous use of EAM in the CRM family of applications is in field service. “EAM provides the core background functionality of a CRM field service offering,” Jim Upton, product marketing manager of J.D. Edwards’ EAM product, told CRM Buyer.
Indeed, “field service is a critical yet often overlooked part of an overall ERP or CRM deployment,” says Michael Maoz, vice president of CRM strategies at Gartner. “It is through the field engineer that a field service company meets its customers face to face and at a moment of truth — when a product is in need of repair.” The seamless transfer of information between the back office, front office and the field has become a competitive differentiator for a lot of companies, he added.
This merging of once-discrete applications into enterprise suites is an ongoing trend in the IT space — in part due to the ever-growing complexity of supply chains, and in part due to marketing and vendor positioning.
Oracle, for example, has been folding several applications only tangentially related to customer service into its CRM and e-business suite, including collections, warranty, lease and contracts management.
Another example is SAP, which last year introduced a new product that basically integrated its mySAP CRM and mySAP Utilities. Given the industry’s infrastructure, this app naturally has a heavy emphasis on EAM.
J.D. Edwards ERP 8
Then there is J.D. Edwards, which added new functionality in enterprise asset management, as well as workforce management, project management and real estate management in its ERP 8 application, released earlier this spring.
Features include a module called “resource assignments,” which uses human resources calendars to select and assign staff to projects based on their availability, current backlog, priorities and workday schedules.