Standard practice

April 10, 2013 // By Kevin Price
The evolution of asset management is gathering pace. Once restricted primarily to maintenance management and the repair of faulty equipment, modern day asset management is proactive and focused on achieving cost savings, improved profitability, better service levels and customer satisfaction, improved health, safety and environmental performance; and adherence with corporate and social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

With vast benefits there for the taking, effective asset management is a win-win. So with this in mind, why isn’t everyone doing it?

First and foremost is that it is not straightforward. Described as “Systematic and coordinated activities through which an organisation optimally and sustainably manages its assets and asset systems, their associated performance, risks and expenditures over their lifecycles for the purpose of achieving its organisational strategic plan” (Institute of Asset Management / British Standards Institute PAS 55: 2008), it is a potentially complex discipline which requires buy-in from senior management, different stakeholders, departments and requires a variety of skillsets and expertise.

In fact many organisations struggle to establish a benchmark from which to build an asset management strategy on the basis that basic information, in asset management terms, is difficult to source. Such information might include:

  • -do we have a register of assets down to a significant level?
  • -do we know the physical location of these assets?

-do we know how many?

-do we know what condition?

-do we know, or are we able to report in the future, the life cycle costs?

-have we assessed and determined a risk profile for these assets?

One of the key reasons organisations fail at providing this basic information is that many of the people responsible for contributing information are not fully bought-in to the agenda and as a result, don’t see the value in it.

In order to overcome this, a number of standards and guidelines have been developed to help organisations establish a framework to achieve buy-in from all those who need to be involved, establish a business case and approach asset management in a structured, proven manner.

Raising standards

The first such guidelines appeared in the form of ISO50001, a specification created by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving energy management. However while this was welcomed by the industry as a key