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ISO 55000: delivering a sustainable approach to asset maintenance

Paul Smitherman |

In today’s world the performance of assets is a key factor for all organisations. We’ve moved on from the past where assets were simply deemed to be cost centres to the expectation that the value we generate from them is not purely financial but increasingly environmental and sustainable.

Assets can be anything from installations to buildings and infrastructures that you apply in order to produce products and services for your customers, enabling you to make profits and generate value for your stakeholders. Asset management is an approach that helps you manage how those assets provide value, with the starting point usually your business objectives. They provide direction to the way you manage your assets over their complete lifecycle and ensure the assets keep adding value.

Why ISO 55000 and asset management?

Although not mandatory, ISO 55000 gives you structure and guidelines of how you can optimise your assets and your asset management systems.

If you organise your assets in a way that allows you to get the best productivity from them then your starting point must be quality, efficiency and organisation. And that’s where ISO 55000 comes in. It can be applied to any of your assets and is the perfect tool to implement before you start looking at optimising the management of your assets structure as it helps you understand the expected benefits of adopting asset management.

One of the key features of ISO 55 000 in asset management is that it looks at the asset from a holistic perspective, not purely financial, but from other factors including health and safety, technical, sustainability and environmental. All the factors that are increasingly important to today’s stakeholders.

An evolving society that demands more from asset management

Today’s societal challenges require organisations to apply a broader perspective to their assets, whether that’s on climate change, the environment or sustainability.

We are all aware about climate change and this will have an impact on infrastructures and installations. For example, new data related to extreme weather conditions require you to think differently about how sustainable your assets are. Many infrastructure assets have a lifetime of a century, so you may need to know how you can build in flexibility and adaptability to your assets so that they perform adequately today and in 100 years’ time. Energy supply is another factor, where we need to consider how capable our assets are in functioning in new conditions.

Thinking about the circular economy, when assets come to the end of their life, how can we apply demolition processes in such a way so that resources are regenerated as much as possible? This needs to be taken in account when designing, planning and maintaining your assets.

So new societal challenges are urging organisations to have a further look at the way in which they manage their assets both now and in the future.

Bringing a proactive, standardised and sustainable approach to asset management

Adopting this flexible, adaptable and sustainable approach to your asset management will inevitably deliver financial rewards as your organisation will be more interesting for investors. In addition, together with this approach your preventive actions will also be cheaper than mitigating actions after the event.

We’ve recently experienced this with the recent widespread and devastating flooding across Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands where the mitigation costs factored far higher than any preventive action. It’s easy to question why houses and factories were built in a flood-risk area but 50 years ago it wasn’t a societal concern. Today we know about climate change and we need to take changing conditions into account and apply preventive thinking to where we locate critical societal activities so that resilience is built in. This is adding value to your assets.

A further example of concern is the Steel plant (Oxystaalfabriek) in the coastal area of the Netherlands, that is facing unprecedented sustainability and environmental challenges. The operation of its ageing installations is highly likely to be functioning less and less adequately, resulting in health & safety and environmental concerns, as well as financially impacting the organisation.

Obviously, we are unable to turn back the clock, but lessons can and should be learnt by introducing proactive processes and taking into account design and location issues for future assets. In both cases a lifecycle approach with preventive action and standardised processes towards assets will more quickly satisfy stakeholder expectations, societal concerns and ensure business continuity.

Taking the next steps

Organisations should consider a broader view on preventive thinking for asset management that spans more than purely financial effectiveness, by taking into consideration the bigger picture of sustainability and the environment. This means looking at new ways of designing and planning the lifecycle of your assets.

Data is an integral and continuous part of successful asset management. SAP allows you to plan your activities and build in relevant technical data and KPIs into your business operations systems. For example, the dashboard functionality of Ready4 Asset Management gives you over 2,000 KPIs that you can use to optimise your asset lifecycle management and create preventive actions. It also lets you manage your maintenance activities so that breakdowns are reduced, increasing customer satisfaction and meeting your SLAs.

By applying ISO 55000 principles with your SAP systems you will optimise the planning, scheduling and preventive activities of your asset management and increase business results. ISO 55000 will also help you formulise and standardise the way you consider the wider topics of asset management around environment and sustainability – increasingly important issues over the coming years.

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