• J.D. Solomon

Integrate Maintenance and Operations for Asset Management Results

This document provides guidance for good practice asset management. It is part of a suite of Subject Specific Guidance documents that explains the 39 subject areas identified in “Asset Management – an Anatomy”, also published by the Institute of Asset Management. These subject areas are also acknowledged by the Global Forum for Maintenance and Asset Management as the “Asset Management Landscape”.

I was pleased to have served as the project manager for this effort. Our international team of more than a dozen subject matter experts worked diligently for more than a year. All of our team members made meaningful contributions. In particular, Georgia Smart, Adam Lea-Bischinger, Mick Saltzer, and Harry Sellers were extremely committed to the work from cradle to grave.

A very mature organization may choose a simple solution where a developing organization may think that a complex solution will solve all its problems. In truth, there is no universal best practice in Asset Management – only good practice that is appropriate for the operating context of any particular organization. What is good practice for one organization may not be good practice for another.

One of the most interesting aspects of this guidance document is that in blends Maintenance and Operations into an integrated approach. For those of us who work in both areas, we well understand that integrated Maintenance and Operations is a form of nirvana – much talked about but only seen in practice for a fleeting period, if at all. Yet intuitively we all know it is essential for organizations realizing full asset value and achieving full reliability of their facilities and infrastructure.

As the SSG explains, the delivery of effective maintenance is a key element in ensuring the reliability of an asset through its Life Cycle with optimal use of resources. The amount and type of maintenance and maintenance support depends on the asset needs, the nature of the maintainable item, its condition, its required availability, and a range of other factors. As these components change over time, the level and type of maintenance support must be adjusted.

Asset operations is defined as the day-to-day activities to ensure value is delivered from your asset(s). These activities will focus on the varying demands placed on the assets and will vary based on industry and organization context. For a manufacturing plant, operations are focused on ensuring assets produce the required product at the desired volume and quality. For a hospital or school, operations are focused on ensuring the asset condition and environment is at the optimum level for the users. Historically asset operations were focused on delivery of the end product and/or service, with minimal consideration to the interrelationship between maintenance, skills and competency, business longer term objectives and process optimization.

The integration of maintenance and operations into an integrated guidance document is a crowning achievement that almost did not happen. The original team was chartered to develop the Maintenance Delivery SSG. About 6 months into the process, the fledging collection of experts that were to deliver the Asset Operations SSGs needed a leader. IAM noted that I, as project manager, had both the maintenance and operations background to pull off an integrated guideline. I agreed to give it a shot and more importantly the two teams agreed to give it a shot, albeit with some reservations. Like many aspects of asset management, achieving lofty goals is a function of context, creativity, expertise… and necessity. Timing is everything.

There are many useable observations and recommendations that make the SSG worth the read. The limitation, as this and all the SSGs state, is that this is a bridge document between the higher-level ISO 55000 international standard and the many detailed books, articles, and research. The Maintenance Delivery and Asset Operations Subject Specific Guideline is indeed a guideline. Practitioners will find its many ‘gold nuggets’ helpful in the asset management journey.