Open-access content Tuesday 4th June 2013 — updated 3.30pm, Tuesday 26th May 2020
Kevin Price looks at how the British Standards Institute's (BSI) PAS 55 is helping organisations across the world to improve risk management and compliance.
23 May 2013
The evolution of asset management is gathering pace.
Once restricted to maintenance management and the repair of faulty equipment, modern day asset management is proactive and focused on achieving cost savings, improved profitability, better service levels and customer satisfaction, improved health, safety and environmental performance. It also now has a significant role to play in an organisation's corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
With major benefits there for the taking, effective asset management is a win-win.
With this in mind, why isn't everyone doing it?
First and foremost, asset management is not necessarily straightforward. It has been described as the following: "Systematic and co-ordinated activities through which an organisation optimally and sustainably manages its assets and asset systems, their associated performance, risks and expenditures over their life-cycles for the purpose of achieving its organisational strategic plan" (Institute of Asset Management / British Standards Institute PAS 55: 2008).
This suggests a potentially complex discipline, which needs buy-in from senior management, different stakeholders and departments, and requires a variety of skillsets and expertise.
In fact, many organisations struggle to establish a benchmark from which to build an asset management strategy on the basis that basic information, in asset management terms, is difficult to source. Such information might include:
- Do we have a register of assets down to a significant level?
- Do we know the physical location of these assets?
- Do we know how many?
- Do we know what condition?
- Do we know, or are we able to report in the future, the life cycle costs?
- Have we assessed and determined a risk profile for these assets?
One of the key reasons organisations fail at providing this basic information is that many of the people responsible for contributing information are not fully bought in to the agenda and as a result don't see the value in it.
In order to overcome this, a number of standards and guidelines have been developed to help organisations establish a framework to achieve buy-in from all those who need to be involved, establish a business case and approach asset management in
a structured, proven manner.
The first such guidelines appeared in the form of ISO50001, a specification created by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving energy management. While this was seen by many in the industry as a key step towards greater professionalism, some argue it
was limited in its scope.
When PAS 55, Asset Management Publicly Available Specification (PAS) was published in 2008 by the Institute of Asset Management (IAM) in collaboration with the British Standards Institute (BSI), many felt it was more encompassing of asset management practices overall, more insightful and thorough, and included within it much of the information deemed to be absent in ISO 50001.
PAS 55 covers the life-cycle management of assets, establishing a framework for trade-offs between performance, cost and risk. It provides objectivity across 28 aspects of asset management, from life-cycle strategy to everyday maintenance against the parameters of cost, risk and performance.
The standard enables the integration of all aspects of the asset life-cycle, from the first recognition of a need, to design, acquisition, construction, commissioning, utilisation or operation, maintenance, renewal, modification and/or ultimate disposal. It also provides a common language for cross-functional discussion and provides the framework for understanding how individual parts fit together, and how the many mutual interdependencies can be handled and optimised.
Crucially, the PAS 55 standard provides asset management practitioners with the tools to be able to explain their organisation's strategy to all levels, as well as providing asset owners and managers with a clear framework for asset management.
- Plan - establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the specifications
- Do - implement the processes
- Check - monitor and evaluate the processes and results against objectives and specifications, and report the outcome
- Act - apply actions to the outcome for necessary improvement.
This means reviewing all previous steps and modifying the process to improve it before its next implementation.
Of course, standards only represent part of the picture - they do not contain the right knowledge, skills and solutions for world-class asset reliability and availability. Systems that process information and help to keep an operation available, reliable and safe are crucial and can cut costs, improve decisions and boost productivity, and there is no substitute for dedication and hard work.
However standards are a fundamental piece of the jigsaw in that they provide a framework to help strategise, plan, create documents and manage information - and it is this part that is most significant in achieving the culture necessary to underpin asset management change
and performance improvement.
Kevin Price, senior product manager, Infor EAM