It is vital that your organization's asset management program includes a clear vision for excellence or best appropriate practice (BAP).

It is important that we gain this understanding, sell the vision and get ownership for it throughout our organizations, from the staff who work directly with the infrastructure assets up through middle management to corporate management and ultimately to our elected or appointed policy makers.

Selling the vision and instilling ownership through all strata of staff could ultimately lead to success. The factors that contribute to success are:

Painting the Vision

In developing a vision, an organization needs to:

  • Determine a vision for the future asset management activities to match its goals and objectives. Using a gap analysis tool to highlight shortfalls and then discussing the findings with the lead management can achieve this.
  • Develop a "future vision" booklet that encapsulates the whole organization, while explaining the reasoning for asset management and the vision that the organization has adopted
  • Illustrate how the organization plans to identify the required improvements and then implement the programs to ensure that the vision is realized. Real examples of early "wins" may enhance this point.
  • Complete training programs for all levels within the organization including:
    • Elected Members or Directors
    • Executive Management Team
    • Business unit management
    • In-house service providers
    • External consultants and contractors.

Setting the Goals

It is essential that all asset management activities be firmly linked to the organization's key objectives.

In this phase it is vital to align the objectives and goals with the asset management vision and determine the key linkages between:

  • Business drivers or goals of the organization (see Life Cycle Processes and Practices - Strategic Planning)
  • Life cycle asset management functions
  • Individual actions associated with them, and how these key linkages impact on the business's value chain.

All these issues should be openly discussed and a sound understanding be developed across the entire organization to clearly show:

  • How this relationship works
  • The method in which BAP in life cycle asset management will support business drivers, value chain, objectives and goals.

Supporting AM Policies

A paradigm shift towards a more advanced asset management approach needs to be introduced and retained in the long term. Adopting advanced life cycle asset management policies within an organization's governance structure can establish and capture competitive sustainability. This approach may result in some cultural change in the workplace and the effects of this need consideration.

For best practice, competent managers control activities via policies and standards within a quality assurance mechanism. Soundly based life cycle asset management policies could significantly assist in the long-term sustainability of vital infrastructure service delivery for the communities.

Asset Management Quality Framework

Quality frameworks and guidelines establish the method in which a utility proposes to complete and monitor its asset management activities.

This could include:

  • Philosophy, logic and policies
  • Life cycle asset management processes, practices and strategies
  • Reporting requirements
  • Performance monitoring
  • Driving continuous improvement.

Best Appropriate Practice (BAP)

The importance for an organization to properly manage assets on behalf of their customers and extended stakeholders can be reflected in their economic value. Assets held by a typical service- oriented agency could be worth millions and in some cases billions of dollars. Quality of service delivery, cost of service and risk mitigation/management are all-important components in BAP.

Assets should be managed to maximize an organization's stakeholder value, irrespective of whether it is a utility, a public or private company. This can best be achieved through asset improvement and risk management. Consequently a balance between income generation and cost reduction could be established and measured.

The following diagram shows how this objective should be achieved.

To manage assets efficiently and effectively, organizations need to:

  • Apply best appropriate life cycle processes and practices, defined through the AMPLE Quality Framework process.
  • Acquire and maintain the data and knowledge needed by these processes
  • Store this data and knowledge in the most appropriate information systems
  • Establish the quality or "confidence levels" that are warranted to manage these assets.

This should assist the organization to clearly identify ways to manage its asset-delivered services.

An organization also needs to have a clear understanding of its long-term financial sustainability and the future levels of service it can deliver. This ensures any Asset Management Plan can be relied upon to the necessary confidence level(s).

Organizational Linkages

BAP in asset management means there should be links between an organization's business goals and its investments, and ultimately to action plans for programs.

These links are shown in the following diagram.

Service Levels

Future levels of service are a major factor contributing to strategic planning for assets.

Regulatory factors impacting on service levels include:

  • Environmental discharge controls
  • Building regulation changes
  • Occupational health and safety standards.

Non-regulatory factors include:

  • Public information
  • Emergency maintenance response times.

Life Cycle Asset Management

Life cycle asset management involves a complex set of quality elements. The key quality elements include:

It is vital for all asset owners, especially owners with large complex portfolios, to be able to paint a clear picture of their business performance. They need to be able to identify what they can produce and at what cost.

The organizations that can do this are the ones that have developed BAP in all of the key quality elements. They have reached a level of sophistication where they know how the complexities of asset management are matched together to form high quality outputs.

This life cycle asset management planning approach is shown in the following figure:

This approach covers the entire life cycle process.

This is relatively easy for a single asset, but when the organization owns a mature network or portfolio that consists of hundreds of thousands of individual assets, the task becomes extremely complicated.

Therefore, it is important to understand where assets are in their life cycle and what can be done about their future cost and performance.

The following definition for advanced asset management summarizes the philosophy and approach:

"To create, acquire, maintain, operate, rehabilitate, replace and dispose of assets at the lowest life cycle cost , at the required level of service, within acceptable levels of risk, for present and future generations."

Asset Management Plans

The relationship between the AMP and other organizational strategic plans is shown in the following diagram.

A key output from the plan is the ability to predict the future cost and performance of the asset portfolio, providing the strategies are followed. Therefore, there is a measurable impact on customers.

The AMP documents an organization's long-term asset management strategy, including anticipated financial outlays and the approach to asset management that has been adopted. The plan will generally have a financial projection of 20 to 30 years or longer. It will explain the adopted service levels, the options considered when arriving at these service levels and the means by which the services are to be delivered.

BAP in total asset management planning requires organizations to identify all appropriate inputs such as capital, recurrent and non-asset solutions, before committing to their future works programs.

Quality and Confidence Levels

The key stages in the development of quality asset management and the increasing level of sophistication in management are shown in the following diagram.

The percentages indicate the level of confidence in the decisions that can be made from the information and processes available. The more detailed the information, the higher the confidence level in decisions made with it.

FMECA -Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis

ORDM - Optimized Renewal Decision Making
TAMP's - Total Asset Management Plans

Confidence levels depend on the process effectiveness and the quality of data that was used in the process.

An organization's confidence in its asset management program or asset management plan is justified from the level of confidence in the single assets that make up this overall plan. It is the quality of the roll up from components to assets to facilities to systems and programs that provide a level of confidence.

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