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The Importance of Actionable Data and KPIs in Asset Performance Management


by Katherine Sanchez

Actionable data and key performance indicators (KPIs) are pivotal instruments for decision making and ensuring continuous growth. They provide insights to support asset managers towards realistic targets and informed decisions, thus transforming opportunities into tangible improvements. This article discusses the significance of these tools, the criteria for selecting effective KPIs and the role of CMMS/EAM systems in data management. The importance of KPIs and actionable data is illustrated with a real-life example from a global pharmaceutical company.

Setting the Stage with Actionable Data and KPIs

Actionable data and KPIs are critical in setting quantitative measures of success. They transform abstract objectives into measurable goals, facilitating progress tracking. These tools also replace opinion-based decision-making with fact-based strategies. By setting realistic goals and establishing KPIs, a company is set up for improvements in efficiency, reliability and asset performance. So, KPIs support continuous focus on those goals, which allows an organization to track progress to sustain success.

Selecting the Right KPIs for Success

KPIs strongly depend on the company context and many other factors; KPIs should be chosen to fit the situation. An important precondition is to make KPIs standardized across sites. This will ensure consistency and accuracy on a multi-site level. When selecting KPIs, another important piece of advice is to understand the data’s origin and to validate its feasibility and integrity. Otherwise, inaccurate or unreliable data can lead to misguided decisions. Another thing to keep in mind is that the selection of KPIs should not be arbitrary. In other words, just because you can measure it, it doesn’t mean that you should. The selected KPIs should reflect the business objectives and support the story of a business’s journey towards sustainable success. To boost this outcome, make KPIs actionable, have a good mix of reliability, maintenance, and management KPIs and include lagging and leading KPIs to come to a good selection. In this context, lagging indicators show a trend in performance that has already been achieved where as leading KPIs predict performance and targets.

Data Management with CMMS/ EAM Systems is Key

Effective data management in a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or enterprise asset management (EAM) system is essential. It should act as the single source of truth. The process of data entry into these systems must be consistent and accurate across sites. This involves removing bottlenecks, regular audits for data validation and establishing KPI dashboards. These dashboards provide a repeatable and efficient method for tracking KPIs, ensuring that data management is not only effective but also adaptable to changing business needs.

Case: Global Pharmaceutical Company Improves OEE

A multinational pharmaceutical company sought to enhance its overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and standardize KPIs across sites for better and informed decision making. For the first phase, six sites across the world were selected. This would ensure feasibility and scalability. The approach started with determining the current state of KPIs and EAM system usage at each site, assessing the quality and quantity of available data and setting realistic short and long-term objectives that align with the company’s business goals. The next step was the implementation of a cross-site KPI dashboard. These are regularly discussed in cross-site meetings to analyze and act on deviations and to ensure continuous improvement.

Figure 1 Selected KPIs for a Global Pharmaceutical Company

Figure 1 Selected KPIs for a Global Pharmaceutical Company

A key factor for success is change management. For the successful implementation of a cross-site KPI dashboard, this pharma company consistently measures growth. It is imperative that all employees, from the work floor to top management, understand these goals and how it will impact their roles. This helps drive willingness to participate in the steps required to achieve the company's objectives. The pharmaceutical company offered a robust learning program on KPI management and coupled this with coaching, stakeholder management and continuous communication about progress. Such an approach ensures that the transition is not only accepted but also embraced across the organization. While the project is still underway, the company has already shown significant improvement in cross-site collaboration and improved transparency and decision making. This is expected to be reflected in KPIs and growth results.


The selection of KPIs requires a strong understanding of the goals and what data is available and accurate. Setting realistic KPI targets are essential; they should motivate and empower, rather than overwhelm. The implementation of a CMMS/ EAM system dashboard and automatic reporting facilitates a repeatable and efficient approach to tracking progress. Key to success is robust change management to get internal buy in and active participation throughout the organization. This is also illustrated by the case of the global pharmaceutical company. Overall, by integrating actionable data and effective KPIs into their operations, businesses can significantly enhance their asset performance. This approach not only leads to better-informed decisions but also ensures that improvements are sustainable, fostering a culture of continuous growth and staying ahead of the competition.

About the Author: 

Katherine SanchezKatherine Sanchez is a maintenance and reliability professional with over 12 years of experience in operations, engineering, asset reliability and continuous improvement. She has developed business continuity plans for operational, maintenance and management teams. Additionally, she has established asset care programs for multiple industries, focusing on failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) and reliability-centered maintenance (RCM). She also has hands-on experience in implementing and deploying EAM systems. Katherine is a managing consultant at MaxGrip, which is a consultancy firm specializing in asset performance management.