People Issues

This element looks at how the organization manages the people associated with best practice asset management.

Skills and Age Profiles

The organization's knowledge of its individual staff skills and the age profile of staff within the asset management area.

It assesses how the organization matches its resource needs to its asset management plan and the way in which succession planning is addressed as a key risk to the business.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization has a clear Human Resource process in which the knowledge, skills, experience and retention characteristics of individual staff members in the asset management area are known.

Succession planning and staff risk assessments have been completed.

The organization has assessed the knowledge and information held by specific staff members and harvests/recovers the data and records it in a central system.

Attitude and Culture

The general demeanor and attitude of staff throughout the organization and the way in which staff work as a team to ensure the most appropriate outputs.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization has encouraged the right demeanor, attitude and culture of staff and monitors this in various ways at regular intervals.

Change Management Activities

The organization's attitude to change and how it assists staff in:

  • Multi-skilling
  • Process re-engineering
  • Introduction of new information systems
  • New work practices
  • Commercialization
  • Use of contracted services.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization has adopted a change management style that facilitates work process redesign and other innovative practices.

Appropriate Skills

The adequacy and relevance of asset management knowledge and skills and their distribution throughout the organization. The links to the current or future asset management activities.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization's asset management knowledge base and resource management tools are sufficient to ensure that staff have appropriate skills and resources to match the work likely to be encountered.

Appropriate Resources

How the organization has justified the numbers of staff in various positions. It also looks at the way in which the organization is able to predict future staffing needs and its approach to retraining and resource re-allocation.

Best appropriate practice includes:

Resource management practices are adequate to ensure that appropriate resources in the form of staff, systems and equipment are available to the organization.

Training Programs

The training available to staff about life cycle asset management and how these training programs are integrated into the professional development programs for individual staff.

It also assesses how the organization blends in-house and external training opportunities.

Training programs related to the implementation of new processes and practices are completed as part of the initial implementation. Ongoing training relates to the way in which the organization sustains its skill levels through induction and promotion of staff.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization has a regular training program that addresses:

  • Induction training
  • Software system training
  • Basic asset management
  • Advanced asset management
  • Specialist asset management activities (such as condition assessment, risk analysis, failure analysis).

These training programs are linked to the resource management structure of the organization, so that the right staff get the right training at the right time.

The organization incorporates a wide range of training techniques including classroom, "over the shoulder" mentoring and case-based studies.

Corporate Knowledge Management

How the organization manages and harvests the knowledge held by individual staff members.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The organization has a corporate wide knowledge management system (process and practice models) where all staff are encouraged to store knowledge of assets gleaned from all life cycle asset management activities (planning, design/acquisition, operations, maintenance, customers).

The knowledge management policy ensures that information is transferred and kept in the corporate knowledge database.

Equipment and Support Systems

How the organization provides equipment to support the asset management activities and how best practice is identified and implemented in this area.

It also assesses the information support systems necessary for the various staff.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The asset management information systems and strategic planning activities identify new practices or efficiency improvements using new technology and specialized equipment.

The organization has a cost reduction process which systematically identifies efficiencies that reduce life cycle costs while sustaining required performance levels and ensures that relevant technology is made available to staff.

 

Case Studies Australia

Configuration Management

A team goes out to do a job, shuts off three valves, re-opens two once the task is done but gets called away to another emergency and leaves the third valve still shut.

The paperwork is not done till the end of the week, by which time, the still closed valve has been forgotten.

Later on, they are called to a job where the shut off is thought to affect only 4,000 – but because of the forgotten closed valve, it actually affects 20,000 and there are major problems with the Regulator.

Configuration management is about getting this fine detail right so what we think we know about the system is reliable.

This requires careful mentoring and training of field staff.

More Imagination Succeeds Where Money Demand Failed

How many times do we grumble when our ‘first solution’ (generally a ‘more money’ solution) is rejected? Take heart – there is quite often a better solution around the corner. It just requires a little thought – and an integrated approach; as demonstrated here in an example from the Seppelt Champagne fields in Australia.

There are two methods of removing stalks and bits of grape skin from wine. The old fashioned method, with which management was comfortable, was to use settling tanks. The newer centrifuge method however was quicker and had been in use for a number of years but always with the idea that, if necessary, it could revert to the older settling tank method. What no-one had noticed was over the years the size of the vintage had steadily grown – it was now too large for the old settling tank method to manage with the tanks available, which made the winery in effect completely dependent for its production on the efficient running of the centrifuge.

Therein lay the problem, for the centrifuge had a habit of throwing its bearings about every other vintage. The last time it happened, it took about 2 weeks to get these specialized and expensive bearings from Europe. If this happened again the unit would be unable to handle the amount of grape and there would be a shortage of "bubbly" by the following Christmas.

Solution?

The proposal to Head Office that a spare set of these bearings be purchased was rejected as being too expensive. The unit was allowed to order them if the bearings did fail but then they would have to wait the two weeks and lose production. To avoid the lost production the unit came up with an idea. If they could not hold a spare set of bearings, maybe somebody else could? The unit rang its local agent to ask how many of these centrifuges there were in the country and how common was this bearing fault. "Not many, not often" was the reply. Nevertheless the unit suggested that the agent might hold a set or two of these bearings here in Australia and they agreed. Furthermore, the storage site would be in the nearest capital city. The unit then devised a "break glass - turn key" approach whereby, for a premium, the agent would immediately courier the bearings to a halfway point.

Not long into the vintage, the centrifuge threw its bearings - at 4 pm on a Friday afternoon. Realizing that a courier would be impossible, the local agent personally brought them to the agreed spot. Bearings and paperwork were swapped and the unit’s man headed back whilst the maintenance crew were stripping the unit. The centrifuge was back on line in 6 hours - and stayed on line for the whole vintage. And the agent never did charge the agreed premium.

Roles & Responsibilities

The agency had long decided that condition data was needed to better evaluate their capital works investments. They made the decision to get over $300,000 worth of assessments completed and the budget was approved.

However a year later in their CIP review process it was noted that this work had not been done.

“We didn’t think that it was our job” said the engineering group, and “we didn’t” said the maintenance team “because the project sponsor was the operations group”.

A clear definition of who does what, at what time in the asset’s life cycle is critical fro good asset management capital team.

This issue of data standards, data flows, roles and responsibilities are planned as part of the next AMPLE upgrade – see AMPLE Proposed Future Developments for more information. Also have your say about what is done next by using the feedback icon on every page of AMPLE

We See What We Have Been Trained to See

The South Australian Housing Trust found that plumbers tended to find plumbing problems and painters found painting problems. It was not that they were ”drumming up work for themselves” but rather that they understood these areas better.

The same was found in the UK.

”The inspecting officer found considerable savings in the field in which he himself was expert, that is, on work involved in maintaining mechanical and electrical engineering plant, but found very little wrong on the bricks and mortar side of the depot's activities. The essence of his recommendations was that we could save about 15-20% of the directly employed labor force.”

The Office subsequently sent a building specialist out and that specialist found similar levels of savings in the building area.

After that they were sent out in teams and savings averaged about 30% overall!


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