8 tips for implementing asset management

8 Useful Tips for Implementing Asset Management ISO 55001


You have assets, so you already do asset management, but…

If your organisation is managing assets, you are already applying asset management. However, you may be concerned that the existing practices are not delivering as well as they could be — for example:

  • Some of your asset portfolio is ageing and deteriorating, but you can’t afford to just replace everything – how should you prioritise?
  • Fault and failure levels are affecting costs, operational performance and service levels.
  • Maintenance costs are rising and difficult to control — how can you decide what’s over-maintained, what’s poorly maintained, and what would save you money if you just replaced it?
  • Your corporate risk information is showing that you could experience business-critical asset incidents, but it’s not clear how you can justify expensive interventions to handle the risk of events that would be very significant but seem to have a low probability.
  • Capital investment is available, but it’s difficult to know if you are spending the money on the right things — the list of potential projects is bigger than the capital programme can support.
  • People who shout loudest get the most resources, but there’s a feeling that this isn’t giving the best outcomes in terms of achieving your organisation’s objectives.
  • It’s difficult to compare the need for expenditure between different sites, plants, or assets because they all have different types of risks and costs.
  • Internal and external stakeholders want reduced risk and improved performance but at the same time they want to control costs. How can you handle this “trilemma”?

Here’s a good model to help improve things

You can use ISO 55001 as a model to address these issues and make asset management deliver real results. You can also demonstrate to important stakeholders that you conform to the internationally-accepted standard of asset management good practice. Using ISO 55001 is going to help you to bring everything together and make sure it is all properly aligned with your organisation’s objectives.
Most organisations already have about 40% to 60% of the governance, systems and processes that are going to be needed. Using our approach will allow you to build on these. You don’t need to replace all your asset-related practices, or create a whole new layer of bureaucracy. But you will address important issues of risk handling, governance, investment prioritisation, and optimised asset-related processes.

If you already have other management systems in place

You may have already established formal management system(s), perhaps based on any or all of ISO 9001, ISO 55001, OHSAS 18001/ISO 45001, ISO 3100. If so, you already have a lot of the management system elements that are required, plus the confidence that you can implement and maintain an asset management system. You can build on these and also take the opportunity to integrate asset management with the other disciplines, to get a seamless and effective business management system.

Top management must be committed to the project

Top management (person or group of people who directs and controls an organisation) have to understand the benefits that will be realised — in terms of their own priorities and objectives. They have to own the project and be ready to support it with decisive interventions and proper resourcing.
The organisation is embarking on a programme that impacts on every part of the organisation and will never end — you should aim for successive achievement of milestones, and greater levels of system maturity over a long period of time. This will need the commitment and leadership of top management.

ISO 55001 is part of the journey – but not the final destination

If you are planning to get ISO 55001 certification as part of the process, don’t be too daunted. You don’t have to achieve world-class asset management straight away to be awarded a certificate — it’s not expected, because it’s not realistic. You just have to show evidence of what you are doing in order to comply with the clear and sensible requirements that are stated in the standard. The journey to increasingly good practices and outstanding performance continues after certification.

It’s a team effort

Don’t try to do everything yourself. You may be the person who was given the task of establishing the system or achieving certification, but it’s definitely a team effort. The more you get to understand asset management, the more you realise that real value comes from increased alignment of both strategy and everyday activities with the objectives of the organisation, and this requires understanding, co-operation and embedding of asset management principles in every part of the organisation. It’s a project that will transform the business and touch everyone in it.

Take it step by step

Implementing an asset management system is a significant project, and some organisations find success with a “big bang” approach to the whole business. On the other hand, our experience with many clients over several years is that it can also start with initial steps, often with a pilot project team, in a selected area of the organisation. Over time it can build momentum as the benefits become visible and understanding grows. In most of our clients, asset management has been fully accepted when it becomes part of the DNA of the whole organisation, embedded into the normal business processes in every area and at every level.

Have a plan

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” — Benjamin Franklin
The process of implementing a management system needs to be properly planned. You have to avoid getting off to a shaky start, with contradictory messages, false starts, or key steps out of sequence. These can cause cynicism and confusion that are difficult to recover from. Follow our suggested approach to build confidence, understanding and co-operation. Contact us to get a copy of our useful guide “implement asset management – 7 steps to success”.

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