• Novice
  • Aware
  • Competent


This guideline aims to help make sure that the assets:

  • Are operated to support the organization's objectives and service delivery requirements
  • Meet the physical, functional and financial requirements over their effective life.

It covers the process that asset managers use to:

  • Develop 5 - 10 year strategic operations plans
  • Prepare annual operations plans for inclusion in the capital works program
  • Implement and improve the operations program.

What is the asset operations program?

An asset operations program:

  • Outlines the activities and resources involved in managing and implementing operations
  • Includes measures against which actual performance can be monitored.

Why it is used?

  • Operations strategies help make sure that the asset:
  • Meets its functional requirements
  • Is operated to deliver its service function and value to the community
  • Meets all statutory and technical requirements for health, safety, security and reliability
  • Achieves and sustains defined levels of physical, functional and financial performance , throughout its life.

An asset operations program aims to:

  • Ensure that the assets achieve specified performance levels
  • Help manage risk
  • Ensure the needs and expectations of users are met
  • Protect and enhance the interests of the asset owner
  • Complement the organization's portfolio management objectives.

When is it used?

The operations program is used throughout the life of the asset, because the benefits and risks occur whenever the asset is operated.


The potential benefits of an effective operations program include:

  • Effective risk management
  • Extended asset life
  • Reduced operating and maintenance costs
  • Compliance with statutory obligations
  • Provision of a healthy and safe work environment
  • Improved performance of asset systems
  • Investment predictability through a life cycle approach
  • Asset performance aligned with users' expectations of productivity and service delivery
  • Improved user satisfaction
  • Enhanced community perceptions.


An inadequate asset operations program can result in:

  • Asset loss or systems failure, including consequential financial loss
  • Reduced asset life
  • Breach of statutory obligations
  • An unhealthy or unsafe environment and consequential liabilities
  • Inefficient systems performance
  • Unpredictability of performance and expenditure demands
  • Loss of esteem in the community.

One of the key areas of risk involves operational errors.

For many years the trend has been to reduce risk through:

  • Greater automation of system control
  • Better equipment and assets
  • In-built protection in equipment
  • Inherent fail safe designs
  • Better maintenance.

In recent years however many organizations have experienced a rise in operational errors. The reasons for this are not readily apparent, however two key causes have been identified as:

  • Errors of judgment
  • Errors of ignorance.

These problems have coincided with the commercialization and privatization processes in many infrastructure service organizations.

Restructuring, right sizing, multi-skilling, contracting out etc. are common to these organizations.

Restructuring has often resulted in the placement of staff into asset management who do not have adequate skills or expertise to carry out this role. Restructuring is often accompanied by a reshuffle of existing personnel and transfers of experienced staff members into new and better positions. This results in a loss of expertise in relation to the assets for which they had been responsible.

Rightsizing has resulted in many older staff being offered redundancy packages. In some cases it has resulted in over 50% reduction in staff and 75% reduction in employee knowledge and experience.

Multi-skilling and mobile work teams means that all staff are regularly working on assets.

Contracting out means that many tasks are now undertaken by contract staff who often change and replace the in-house multi-skilling mobile work teams.

previous home next
Operate   Operating Procedures