Emmett Cooke is an asset management industry-veteran and retired Senior Sales Consultant for IBM now living in Atlanta, Georgia. Mike Petrusky asks Emmett to share his experiences and stories from his years in the world of enterprise asset management software sales working with leading companies like GE, GM, Ford, Comcast, Penn State and Universal Studios Orlando. Understanding the rapid advancement in technologies related to preventive and predictive maintenance begins with the history of asset management strategies and the leap from analog to digital data capture and analytics. Emmett takes Mike on a journey through his career while sharing real world stories and business advice that will inspire future asset management leaders!
Connect with Emmett on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmett-cooke-8914849/
Connect with Mike on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikepetrusky/
Learn more about the iOFFICE Asset Division and explore more interviews at: https://www.assetchampion.com/
Share your thoughts with Mike via email: podcast@iOFFICECORP.com
Read the full transcript:
Emmett Cook (00:01):
Without historical data, you aren’t able to find out what you discover with the data, which is that five of those units we’ve repaired three times more than the other units. So what do you do about that? That’s the kind of decisions that come out of the historical data that can make a real difference to the bottom line.
This is the Asset Champion Podcast, where we talk with facilities maintenance and asset management leaders about the industry trends and technologies impacting your organization. This show is powered by the iOFFICE Asset Division, delivering easy to use maintenance management software tools to help you drive powerful asset performance.
Hey everyone. And welcome to the show. My name is Mike, and this is episode nine of the Asset Champion Podcast, where the adventure continues for another week as we explore the many facets of asset management together. I have learned so much already and I continue to be amazed as I have the privilege of meeting and interviewing such incredible guests each and every week here. Today, I am excited to share with you my conversation with Emmett Cook, an industry veteran, who was kind enough to chat with me about some of the history around the rapid evolution of asset management strategies and technologies, and he shared his perspectives on how you can be an asset champion based on his many, many years of experience working with well-known companies like GE and GM, Ford, Comcast, Penn State, the list goes on, Universal Studios Orlando. He shares a great story about the real world implications of reliability and uptime. I really enjoyed my time talking with Emmett and I just know that you’ll enjoy this also. So let’s get right to it.
Calling in today on the Asset Champion Hotline. I am excited to welcome from Atlanta, Emmett Cook, welcome to the show.
Emmett Cook (02:09):
Thanks very much. Thanks for having me.
Emmett, you have had a long career as a sales consultant and you have dealt with this world of asset management. So I’m excited to hear more about your experiences and some of the stories you have to share. Tell me a little bit about who you’ve worked for and how you got to where you are today.
Emmett Cook (02:26):
Well, I was very fortunate to have joined IBM in the ’80s and it’s hard for many of your listeners probably to understand it but at that time, hardware was kind of king. Big data systems and water cooled mainframes and that kind of thing. And most of the software was accounting software and big data processing for HR and payroll and things like that. There really was no system wide software for asset management. Asset management, by the way, was not called that. It was probably called maintenance like if you ran a garage for a fleet of trucks or buses. You would probably just call it maintenance. And at the time it was, oh, my truck broke down, bring it into the garage. And if it’s broke, fix it. That’s what that was. That was kind of what asset management was in the beginning. Software changed all that.
Well, I look forward to learning from you here. I am new on this journey to discover the world of asset management, but before we get too far, Emmett, I like to get to know the personal side of my guests and the best way to do that is to ask you about music. So what kind of music gets you excited?
Emmett Cook (03:33):
Probably my grown daughters would roll their eyes if I said it, but a lot of the music that I enjoy is still from the classic rock period. So folks like Billy Joel and Pink Floyd, Woody Blues, Queen. And more recently, The Avett Brothers, I think they’re fantastically talented and I love the voice of Sam Smith and his songs. And Lyle Lovett, a man from Texas. We’ve seen him in concert many times. So he’s a great guy.
I love it. You rattled off a lot of the classics certainly. I don’t think anybody on this show, and at close to 200 interviews, no one’s ever brought up Billy Joel before. I mean, that’s unbelievable. The Piano Man never made it.
Emmett Cook (04:13):
Right. Well, I was born and raised in New York area so Billy Joel is near and dear to my heart.
Emmett Cook (04:21):
So, if you’re from Jersey you like Bruce. And if you’re from Long Island you like Billy, but you can like both of them too.
Absolutely. I grew up in all parts of New Jersey and certainly during my teen years it was the ’80s so Bon Jovi even had a place among the legends of New Jersey.
Emmett Cook (04:35):
Yeah. And they have their big followings and all of them put on fantastic concerts. I saw Bruce Springsteen in Atlanta, I think I was in the third row and he put on a four hour show with no breaks.
Emmett Cook (04:49):
That guy’s Amazing. Well, usually we do something called podcast karaoke here, Emmett, you want to sing along with some Billy Joel with me? It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday. The regular crowd shuffles in. Sing me a song you’re the piano man. (Singing).
Emmett Cook (05:09):
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant was the best.
Yes, that’s a classic. Starts off real mellow, then it gets into the (singing).
Emmett Cook (05:15):
That’s right. The Scenes From An Italian Restaurant was kind of an homage to growing up on long Island.
Very cool, very cool. Good stuff. All right. Well, how about an inspirational quote? We like to inspire our audience. Do you have a favorite?
Emmett Cook (05:31):
Well, I don’t have any specific thing right now. I think I’d say that leaders at all levels of business typically can achieve more from 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM than most others will accomplish between nine and five. And so I would say just be the early bird because it’s just, when people are still making their way in through the traffic and all and if you’ve been there for a couple of hours, you can get your whole day organized and get an awful lot done. And I think you get ahead of the game because you’re proactive.
That’s great advice. When I’m up and at ’em, getting things done early, it’s before the disruptions of the day start kicking in and it’s taking me off into side tracked areas and I get so much done in those first couple hours. Great advice. I thought you were going to break into an army commercial from the ’80s. Remember the, “We do more before 7:00 AM than most people do all day.”
Emmett Cook (06:24):
That’s true. It’s also one of those things about the book I mentioned to you is The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. And a lot of that is listening before you talk but also being proactive and prepared. And you have to have a win-win relationship with your customer. So if you have customers that are looking at asset management, a lot of these people are betting their jobs on your software being successful.
Well, listen, as we get deeper into this topic of asset management, I want to really make sure we define it correctly. And I’m asking all my guests to do this for me. How would you define the broad topic of asset management? What does it mean to you, Emmett?
Emmett Cook (07:04):
Well, asset management is, okay I started talking before briefly about how it used to be all done on legal pads and people calling on the phone saying, this is broken you got to come fix it. But asset management really is all the activities around business processes that are utilized to most effectively and efficiently manage all assets, which contribute to your finished products or services delivered with safety for the employees and the highest quality to the customers.
So, that’s the broad definition there. And one of the things I’d like to just make a note of is that assets can include so many things. I’ve mentioned from IT assets, to vehicles, to plant floor manufacturing and building complexes, IT infrastructure. And then all the spare parts and tools and equipment are used to maintain them. But one of the things that’s important for your listeners, for example, if you have listeners that are looking at buildings and grounds or buildings and complexes to manage, you have to make choices about your asset and build an asset management plan.
Because for example, you’re not going to make a management plan for light bulbs. There’s just no return. So the light bulbs are out. Guy goes around on a route and places them. But if you manage buildings, I mean, air handlers are hugely important, air conditionings, hugely important, safe fire and safety is hugely important. So you want to put together what they call a, it combines preventative maintenance and predictive maintenance. So that this plan will do as many things as possible to prevent breakdowns, not just fix it when it’s broken. So all the elements of asset management evolve break maintenance or overhaul maintenance and then predictive and preventive maintenance.
Excellent. That’s very helpful and great kind of overview of where we’re headed here and what I’m trying to understand and learn. What are the most significant trends in the marketplace today?
Emmett Cook (09:09):
Well, it’s a phrase that IBM used to like to think they came up with, but I’m not sure they were, but IOT is internet of things, which you’ve probably heard, and the technology has enabled so many processes that in the past you could only dream of, okay? So it’s that interconnectedness of assets. So for example, if you’re talking about an office complex or a college campus, you may have assets like the power plant on the site. So let’s say Penn State University was one of my customers and they had a very large power plant in the main campus in Happy Valley. And that’s the kind of thing that you want to put instruments on or you want to put an instrumentation there that’ll burp at you whenever something goes wrong and you’re getting an alarm that goes off saying, you got to fix this soon or it’s going to fail because they can’t afford to have that out of service.
But other things, for example, like we mentioned before, air conditioning units and fire and safety and the campus police and so on, their equipment might be something that’s, some of it you’re going to have instrumented and the rest of it you may not. So every door in the campus, or smaller departments where you do maintenance on different assets, you may not have a plan for that. But the internet of the things, really the whole idea is that now you’re actually having the man machine interface. So it’s pushing information on a real-time basis to an interface that will then analyze it and then tell the people with an alarm that this is something you need to look at. Before we ever got to the internet of things, it was just a collection of historical data. And I can’t stress that enough so, no matter what the asset is, if you don’t have the historical data to see when the equipment broke down, why it broke down, what was the root cause of why it broke down.
And you’re not able to see which, let’s just call it air conditioning units in the building. If you have 38 of them in a complex, and they’re all the same size, they’re all manufactured around the same time when the building was built. And then you don’t know, without historical data, you’re unable to find out what you discover with the data, which is that five of those units, we’ve repaired three times more than the other units. So what do you do about that? You have to do an analysis which says, we would save money if we replaced these instead of repairing them. And so that’s the kind of decisions that come out of the historical data that can make a real difference to the bottom line.
So you’ve seen the evolution of the manual spreadsheets to the first inputting into a computer and then now this AI and analytic tools that are able to really crunch the data so fast and help companies, help managers make more predictive decisions. That happened pretty fast didn’t it?
Emmett Cook (12:07):
I think so. For example, asset management systems that I sold. Their limitation was, as sophisticated as they were in being able to do maintenance and track maintenance and organize work and have work orders and all that, there was still no capability of tying it to real time data coming from instrumentation. They were like different animals. So you go into a power plant, then you’d see all these equipment that are all tied to these Siemens and ABB equipment and have big control panels and so on. But then they discovered how they could translate the analog to digital, because most of all that instrumentation, all that equipment was all analog. So they’re bringing in hundreds and hundreds of points of data every second. But most of it was throw away stuff, right? But then when something went wrong, they get an alarm.
Well, the technology finally bridged the gap where they were able to make the change from the analog to the digital. And once you had digital data in our system, we then could attach it to the assets. Let’s say we have a asset record for that generator and or pulverizer in a coal plant. We’d have an asset record on our side. Siemens or ABB would do what they did to control it. But anytime their readings came over to us, which indicated a hiccup, we would be able to flag it and then take action to do something. So that’s what really made the difference. That’s when we started seeing the ability to tie everything together with the internet of things.
Obviously I hear the terms, reliability and uptime. Is that the biggest challenge that asset management professionals are facing these days?
Emmett Cook (13:48):
Sure. I mean, the example I gave you is, it’s kind of a fun one because it’s Universal Studios in Florida, which was one of my favorite customers. I-
Does you get a free pass when you would go down there? A free ride pass?
Emmett Cook (14:03):
Yeah well I got discounts.
I’m doing my job, people. Explain that one to your wife and kids. I’m doing my job, I’m back at Orlando doing my job.
Emmett Cook (14:12):
I did. I took my wife and kids and it was after a sale and they were appreciative and I was appreciative, but yeah, there are good people there. But an interesting thing is people don’t think of the theme parks this way, but Disney is the same, all of them the same. That reliability is so important to them because first of all, those rides are extremely complex. They have everything from avionics to robotics and light machines and sound machines and [crosstalk 00:14:44] all that stuff, and those are all hydraulics and so on.
Well, anyway, the other thing about it is this is not standard, it’s not like you have a truck engine where everybody knows, follow the manual to repair it. Well, they built these things from scratch. So they’re the ones that wrote the book. So, keeping that stuff up, I guess the best example is the reason why reliability, their aim is 99.9% of having uptime at the park, is because imagine you took your family for their every three year vacation to Universal Studios and Harry Potter’s main rides were down for three or four hours while you’re there.
Some sad kids.
Emmett Cook (15:28):
And all the kids start complaining to you.
That’s right. This is real world.
Emmett Cook (15:32):
The CIO once told me the most important thing he said is people have finite number of dollars they come to spend at Universal Studios. And the worst thing for them is that when someone goes back home and tells 25 people how bad their experience was at Universal Studios, all because they didn’t have Harry Potter’s ride gone. So it’s a,
Emmett Cook (15:55):
It’s a real world example of how those things can make a difference.
Awesome. Well, Emmett you’ve had a tremendous career, a long history of success, and I wondered if you could share some advice for up and coming asset management leaders. If you were starting over again, Emmett, what would you do starting out in your career today or in the early years of your career? What advice would you give?
Emmett Cook (16:17):
I think I would’ve been a buyer instead of a seller.
That’s good. That’s good.
Emmett Cook (16:22):
Well, what I know now, of course, no, I think it’s just like anything else. My wife and I would love to say a lot to our two daughters with their kids, because we’ve already been through it. And in a similar way, I think it’s true with people that are coming up is that, you can learn lessons from those around you that’ve been through it. So sometimes it’ll be a sales consultant or software consultant or a meditation consultant. But I don’t know if I’d do anything differently. It’s just that you learn a lot as you go along and hopefully you develop mentors and rabbis along the way, and that’s always helpful. Don’t try and go it alone.
Good advice. Absolutely. Well, this has been educational and inspirational. So Emmett, I do appreciate you taking time to be on the Asset Champion Podcast.
Emmett Cook (17:13):
Thanks a lot for having me.
There you have it folks. Emmett Cook sharing some great advice and inspiration for us based on his years of experience working as a sales consultant with IBM among several other companies, now retired and enjoying time with his family in Georgia. I cannot thank him enough for the time we spent together. So thank you, Emmett. And I also want to thank you, our listeners, for tuning in here of course and I hope you will take a moment to share this podcast with a friend or colleague who may benefit from hearing it. And if you really want to make my day, please head over to Apple Podcasts and leave us a rating and a short review as those really provide the fuel to my fire here and all of us at iOffice Asset Division, as we put in a lot of hard work to create content each week that is designed to encourage and inspire you to be an asset champion. Peace out.
You’ve been listening to the Asset Champion Podcast. We hope you found this discussion beneficial as we work together to elevate asset management success by improving efficiency, reducing costs and building best practices. For more information about how the iOFFICE Asset Division can boost the performance of your physical assets by providing comprehensive enterprise asset management software solutions, please visit asset champion dot com.