• Novice
  • Aware
  • Competent

Knowledge of Assets

This element assesses how the organization acquires and maintains knowledge of its assets - how well do we really understand our assets?

This question relates to an organization's "data standards" and especially to its minimum data standards. Data standards are the rules governing the collection, organization and maintenance of data about assets.

Good data is critical to making sound decisions - and the confidence we have that the decision being recommended to a policy board is in fact the right decision at just the right time.

High confidence is related to having best appropriate practices throughout the organization and good data.

The graphic below shows the:

  • Confidence created by developing data standards at the "maintenance-managed item (MMI)" level
  • Effect of rolling up within each of the businesses (for example, treatment versus disposal) to a whole-of-organization confidence level.

The further down the organization that good data exists, the higher the confidence we can have in our decision-making.


The key sub-elements assessed are:

Hierarchical Level Structure

The depth to which an organization can access information on assets is vital to its overall AM performance.

Best appropriate practice includes:

  • The lowest hierarchical level should be "maintenance managed item (MMI)", which is the lowest level of an asset's physical structure that is recognized by an asset register that is structured as a nested hierarchy of physical assets.
  • The information should be capable of been aggregated up to reflect assets, facilities, sub-systems or entire service programs.

Typically, an MMI is set where an asset is individually maintained or where management decisions to repair, renew or replace are made. For example, if an entire pump is replaced upon failure and is never opened for maintenance of bearings, etc., then the pump would be the MMI . However, if the pump is routinely opened and the separate internal components maintained, then each of those components would be a MMI.

Data Standards, Data Flows, Roles and Responsibilities

This looks at how the organization manages its data and knowledge. The priority levels of asset data are as follows:

  • Basic physical attributes
  • Detailed information on the construction of the assets, their manufacture and other similar factors
  • Secondary data such as maintenance records, detailed condition and performance
  • Tertiary level information including risk, maintenance plans, detailed renewal decisions and overall strategies
  • The mapping of the total data flows required to manage the assets and the required service delivery, including all input data, stored data, decision process activities, and the outputs required to cover the whole life cycle
  • The way the organization manages this data flow, particularly clear roles and responsibilities allocated for each of the key elements.

Best appropriate practice includes:

A detailed asset register policy that includes connectivity and hierarchical depth that can be varied to suit the complexity and needs of the individual asset systems. The asset register should record:

  • Basic asset information
  • Special physical attributes
  • Manufacturer details
  • Condition assessment
  • Performance data
  • Utilization in terms of capacity or quantity
  • Predictive outputs e.g. condition decay
  • Hierarchical Structure and MMIs
  • Minimum Attributes
  • Location and Dimensional Plans
  • Operational Data
  • Roles and responsibilities for data acquisition
  • The QA system that is employed to verify these standards.


Case Studies Australia

Knowing the Condition of Assets

The utility manager was very proud of the fact that he could show how the organization understood the condition of all its assets on a 1 to 10 rating scale. He produced fantastic graphs of the condition profiles.

However until he matched it to the age of the asset and used this to determine the rate of decay or deterioration of the asset, he was only telling half the story.

Once he had the rate of decay, he could estimate the residual physical life of the assets and then plan their rehabilitation or replacement.

Now he had the funding cash flow the organization required and he realized that just having the data was not the key- doing something with it is essential.

Understanding Asset Performance Reduces Renewal Costs

An improved understanding of the rate of decay and intervention strategies for country roads enabled better projections and management policy on replacement of roads, resulting in savings of $20m annually to the Roads Department.

The Department carried out research into new road replacement technologies and management techniques that resulted in implementing improved pavement management systems and re-assessing the appropriateness of current road standards.

By adopting more appropriate and cost effective standards for country roads, the Department reduced the amount of replacement required and postponed / deferred the time of peak replacement demand. Whereas past practice was to replace roads at around 35 years it is now possible retain many rural roads past the age of 60 years. The benefits of this are equivalent to an annual saving of 0.5% of the total asset stock, which equates to in excess of $20m annually.

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