Arbela Blog
Back to Blog Index

Maximize your assets: Taking full advantage of Asset Management Module in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain

Author: Kenny Gunter, Senior Consultant, Arbela Technologies

If you’re in the supply chain management space, chances are not a day goes by when your mind isn’t on your assets – from fixed assets like buildings and machinery to moving assets, such as shipping vehicles and containers.

Why? Because these assets are a vital part of the circulatory system of your enterprise. Any malfunction, interruption, or failure of any asset impacts your supply chain and can result in decreased productivity or even a shutdown.

Yes, it’s the beating heart of a supply chain manager’s job to know what’s going on with each and every asset at any given moment, no matter where it may be. But for a business with more than a couple of trucks and warehouses — let alone a global enterprise with hundreds or thousands of each — it’s a huge challenge, every day.

Fortunately, “there’s an app for that.” Rather, a module called Asset Management that extends Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.


Using Asset Management to move from “break/fix” to “cognitive” maintenance

Wouldn’t it be great if we could move from reactive maintenance of assets to proactive maintenance? You can, and rather easily: simply keep all assets on a maintenance schedule and don’t miss a date.

On the surface, some people may think, “Well, I can just set a schedule with Outlook, right?” But managing assets, both fixed and moving, means managing far more variables than simply dates. Take asset utilization rates as an example.

You put two trucks on a 90-day maintenance schedule. One gets used only a couple of times, while the other is driven 11,000 miles during winter in Canada—these assets are being utilized in a dramatically different way, and will absolutely require different maintenance schedules and service. Simply setting a date in Outlook won’t be enough.

A strength in Asset Management is its ability to collect and deliver data — on usage, resource optimization (e.g., Is an engine running hotter than usual? Is a facility consuming more electricity than it should?), and more — that provides a far more accurate view of an asset’s “health” and help create a truly proactive maintenance schedule.

That’s just a start. Another strength in the Asset Management module is an “exponential leapfrog” over proactive maintenance. Here, we can skip over (or power through) predictive and prescriptive maintenance (which use IoT features such as reporting on “remaining useful life” for various assets) and get straight into cognitive maintenance.

In cognitive maintenance (enabled by the Asset Management module), actions may be taken autonomously to ensure maximum use and health of any given asset. This doesn’t necessarily mean an asset can repair itself (we’re not quite at that stage of robotics yet), but it does mean that an asset can, in essence, set its own maintenance schedule.

And when you’re dealing with a field service operation that has countless assets distributed in distant locales, this feature is not just a time-saver, it can be a literal lifesaver. (Imagine a fuel line in the wilderness that detects a hairline crack and sets up a maintenance call for itself…)

The Asset Management module can help conserve resources in other ways as well. Take, for example, warranties. When a work order is generated for an asset still under warranty, the module can create workflows that ensure maintenance and/or repairs covered under the warranty are handled by the warrantor, rather than forcing you to incur the costs. 

It also provides new windows into the overall condition of your assets. Through built-in analytics and reporting, the module makes it easy for a manager to both quickly understand the condition of their “asset ecosystem” and relay critical information to colleagues and stakeholders.

If you’re a Dynamics 365 user looking to optimize your supply chain through further automation, it’s time to take a deep dive into the myriad features and functions built-in to the Asset Manager module. Start leveraging the built-in reporting and analytics capabilities to optimize your asset management operations. Arbela can help you get started quickly.  

Want to know how to protect and maximize your assets? Watch our Asset Management webinar