Maintenance Best Practices for Asset Management - Part 1

5 minutes

Part one: a strategic focus on asset management at the implementation stage

Managing assets effectively is essential to maximise budgets and resources. However, the complexity and unknowns inherent in managing assets can stand in the way of optimal asset management. It’s important for asset managers to clearly understand asset management best practices so they can deliver the required outcomes for their organisation.

The asset life-cycle starts during the design, configuration and implementation phase, continues through maintenance and rehabilitation, and ends with retirement. For example, the selection of assets is a crucial function when needing to maximise return on investment; a cheaper initial outlay could result in much higher maintenance costs and shorter asset service life, while spending slightly more upfront could lower ongoing costs and extend the operating life-span of the asset. 

Starting the asset’s life-cycle with a best practice approach will set your organisation up for sustainable service delivery. To help achieve this, there are five key questions asset managers need to ask before implementing an asset management process: 

1. Is the configuration and implementation well-supported by the executive leadership team and resourced with appropriate project management, testing, training, and support resources?

Assets can only deliver a strong return on investment if their management processes are strongly supported by executives and business leaders, and given the resources required for optimum performance. It’s important to secure this buy-in prior to configuration and implementation to ensure that the asset will be appropriately supported throughout its life-cycle.

Being able to demonstrate the projected return on investment and total cost of ownership of the asset in easy-to-understand terms is essential. This should be based on provable, accurate data and projections so that the team understands exactly how the asset will perform as this will be critical in securing support and continuing momentum through all stages of the implementation. As well, identifying and assigning a dedicated project manager to drive the implementation and track progress will go a long way to achieving a successful and purposeful configuration and implementation.

2. What are the desired outcomes from the asset management program? 

It’s essential to establish exactly what the asset needs to achieve, and the different programs, roles and responsibilities needed to help fulfill the assets potential. Extending the useful operational life of the asset as efficiently and cost effective as possible should always the main objective, but there may also be other objectives to consider. These could be safety related as per industry regulations or be contractual obligations as agreed with the Asset Owner.

This means to give the Asset Management program the best chance of overall success, you should not only be thinking about how much value the performing asset could bring but also how much time, money and effort it will require to enact these processes. Identifying and documenting these outcomes through robust and definitive configuration will set you a path to success.  

3. Have you identified the right resources to consult regarding configuration variables to meet these outcomes? 

Stakeholders should provide input into what information is required for work orders so that you can establish mandatory fields for a consistent minimum amount of information. These fields can be used to capture and track important information that will help drive future asset maintenance and management decisions. Working with the field maintenance and asset management teams for each asset type prior to implementation will be invaluable.

Understanding key metrics such as failure modes, causes, and remedies is important so that you can configure the Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) and support reporting outputs. Consider engaging an external asset management consultant to help with maintenance configuration and implementation to ensure the best possible outcome.

4. What needs to be in place to ensure the asset program achieves those outcomes? 

Once you have defined what you aim to achieve, it is then essential to implement processes that are as simple, consistent and as relevant as possible, in order to ensure that once they are implemented, they continue to be followed as intended. 

These processes will be reliant on accurate, punctual and consistent data, as it will be this data that will then drive future asset management decisions. Organisations will need to understand where the data is coming from and how often, what data is mandatory to ensure downstream processes and reports stay relevant, and whether the data collection can be automated or otherwise made more efficient to reduce touch points and human error factors.

You will need to consider critical success factors such as personnel and their competencies, the use of technology to replace outdated, manual and inconsistent tasks and the possible use of external resources to utilise specific skill sets.

5. Have you engaged all relevant stakeholders and decision makers? 

Thinking forward to post-implementation should be an important part of the process. The people interacting with the assets daily will need to have input into the decision-making process to ensure they’re “on board” with the choices made. These stakeholders are ideally placed to provide perspectives on how the asset might perform, including potential risks, opportunities for efficiencies and improvements that may not be immediately apparent. Gaining a well-rounded set of views is invaluable before making a final decision, so consider including asset owners, end users, work/maintenance supervisors and crews and even financial teams.

To learn more about best practice asset management throughout the entire asset life-cycle, contact the Brightly team today. 

Check out part two of this blog series: A tactical focus on asset management throughout the asset’s life-cycle.