By Eric J. Montes, VP/Head - Integrated Asset Management (IAM), Maynilad Water Services
1. In the light of your experience as VP, Assent Management of Maynilad Water Services, what are some of the challenges and pain points prevailing in the EAM space?
Explaining first the demarcation between CMMS and EAM to the organization is quite a challenge as this has been interchangeably used or misrepresented by users or vendors. There are existing standalone platforms or system running smoothly and meeting the business requirements, the time and efforts of explaining and convincing the users of the benefits (economic, business, and technical) of integrating them pose a pain in the EAM space. Integrating these systems seamlessly, efficiently, and effectively are a nightmare to the designers, installers, and implementers. We will need a change agent and excellent people manager in this kind of endeavour. And as they say, no matter how great and robust the hardware and software are, the key success factor will be the people. It is and will always be hard changing the culture and mind-set of the people who will be transforming to Enterprise Asset Management (EAM).
2. Security has become a primary concern for all players alike. What is your approach to address this aspect?We are continuously investing in the cybersecurity aspect of our facilities using the latest protections. Also not to be forgotten is policy, understanding by the users, as well as continuous monitoring of the network and industrial devices to make sure there are no intrusions or suspicious activities. Lastly, physical security is also an area in which we invest in using CCTV, proximity cards, etc. We were also one of the first companies to merge IT and OT under the same division and with a single head in charge of both, this enabled us (among other things), to look at security in a holistic way vs. a compartmentalized one, and apply aspects of IT security (which are generally more advanced) into the OT area.
3. What according to you is a viable strategy (or a feedback mechanism) to ensure that the existing system/ infrastructure in places promises to deliver to their full potential?
To ensure it delivers its maximum potential, assets must be monitored after the project and commissioning are finished, and this (for ITS assets) are mainly monitoring capacity, utilization, availability and performance, and tweaking policy and settings so as to maximize these assets.
It is and will always be hard changing the culture and mind-set of the people who will be transforming to Enterprise Asset Management (EAM)
4. Given the competitive and dynamic nature of the market, it is crucial for decision makers to rightly identify what is worth and what is not. As such, could you talk about your methodology to identify the right partnership/solutions provider from the lot?
Again from ITS perspective, a business case has to be built and presented, with ROI calculated wherever possible. As for finding the right partnership and product, we do our research and evaluate benefits vs. cost, in choosing a provider, we usually test them in a small way before making a decision to hand over a large project to them.
5. Could you elaborate on some interesting and impactful project/initiatives that you’re currently overseeing?
(Physical) Asset Management, in its real sense is new in our organization. Majority of our staff thought Asset Management is just all about maintenance and nothing else. So with this, you can just imagine the tremendous tasks, issues, challenges, etc. I will be facing in introducing and championing this new management discipline, practices, and especially mind-set change to the company. Also, I have to form and set-up my team first to help and assist me in rolling-out and implementing this project. The first six month is really a challenge as I don’t have any staff yet, so it is only me who must prepare and do the processes, plans, bar chart of schedules, and the materials for initial presentation and road shows to the management team and department heads. Good thing is in my two previous companies, I have done (being part of the Global and Regional Team and later as the Team Leader) this same work on Asset Management. It’s quite a challenge for our HR Team to recruit someone who is knowledgeable if not experienced in EAM.
Right now, my Integrated Asset Management (IAM) Team is complete and we were able to hold series of road shows and workshops on Asset Management and the Life Cycle Management Processes. We are currently more than half-way through with creation of Asset Registry and the Criticality Assessment of nine of the 60 plants/facilities. We have already created and submitted the User Specification for the Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) although we are looking into transforming it into an Enterprise Asset Management System (EAMS).
6. Can you draw an analogy between your personality traits, hobbies and reflect on your leadership strategy?
Almost all of my team members are millennial and this calls for a relatively different approach and appreciation as far as management and leadership are concerned. I can easily relate and immerse to the way they do, think, and act. Normally, I provide them the concepts and ideas in a challenging way and then solicit their inputs on how best we can execute tasks. We then discuss and challenge (providing my guidance and experience in the past asset management implementation) things to extract creative ways then come up with a final execution plan. This will give them ownership and responsibilities on the assigned task.
7. How would you see the evolution a few years from now with regard to disruptions and transformations within the arena?
Disruptions and major transformations are continuous in the technology field. One that is significant is IOT and the explosion of sensors and data, and its usage. We have prepared in this respect by establishing our own IOT platform from which we can monitor asset performance and operations.