In a recent series of roundtable discussion groups, senior professionals revealed what is happening within their organisations and the wider community with regard to the barriers to achieving asset management excellence. One of the most common themes that ran through the discussion groups was selling asset management better within the business: how do we build business cases? How do we get the business focussed on asset management? Here are the challenges our research participants face around selling asset management within the organization, and some enablers which will lead the path towards change.
The current climate is right for engaging senior management – in strong economic times they were only interested in pushing for performance. We’ve been guilty of making asset management and its role, technical and difficult – if maintenance and reliability engineers can’t understand it, what hope does the rest of the business have?
So how do we begin to build business cases? How do we get focussed on asset management?
ISO Standards as a Driver
ISO 55001 can be a driver – it can draw the lines between what you’re trying to do and how you will achieve it after all.
Is it possible that ISO 55001 could it be used as a standard to be measured against? Fear can be a good motivation but the question remains; how can we effectively push the agenda or threaten compliance? It can be difficult unless we can really display the consequences to our business of failure to comply. In reality, shouldn’t our company be driven by productivity not compliance?
Speaking the Language
To get the business on the same page, we need to start talking the same language. We need to start talking about asset care. This can help us with the challenge to bring everyone up at the same level. The asset care framework must be an all-encompassing business model – all facets of business must have a line of sight – not just the maintenance and reliability team driving things.
Why should companies invest in maintenance and buy into an asset management project when the focus in on making more money? That’s the reason we continue to struggle to get senior leaders involved. Senior leadership are generally accountable for profitability on a quarterly basis, they can’t be short of their targets. We need to understand their mindset – why shouldn’t they cut maintenance budgets to achieve short term gains? What sort of leader wants to make long-term commitments?
Again, it is in the language and the positioning. We can draw a parallel to how the perception of safety has changed in a relatively short time. Everyone in an organisation understands safety. Do they understand the value proposition? If things go wrong, it is not only bad for the company but it affects the bottom line. So we must invest in safety. We need to strive to find ways of simplifying the message of what the asset lifecycle is – and what the ripple effect of different phases is – design, procurement, planning, spares, maintenance – take people on that journey. Recognise all the steps in the chain where reliability is impacted on.
Enablers to achieving excellence:
- Learn to sell the value proposition of asset management
- Create an asset life cycle focus with a simple message
- Use tools such as ISO standards to build a framework of compliance
- Demonstrate the financial consequences on poor asset management
- Create a culture where asset reliability is everyone’s issue and front of mind
This blog post is part of the report Asset Management 2016: Industry Snapshot. The report presents the results of industry discussion groups run by The Eventful Group and explores some of the challenges facing asset intensive industries and the enablers which will lead the path towards change.