3 real life asset management challenges - and how to address them

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Although asset management planning is underpinned by a process and framework – such as those created by NAMS Group in New Zealand and IPWEA in Australia – implementing this in the real world has some very real challenges.

Here are some of the most frequently encountered asset management challenges – together with pragmatic solutions that have been effective for the organizations we work with.

Note: You’ll find more detail on these asset management challenges and solutions in our on-demand webinar.

Asset management challenge #1: Not involving the right people 

Many organizations are reliant on one or two people developing the entire Asset Management Plan. This generally results in a single-perspective approach, and thus problems obtaining organizational buy-in. Also, a single-perspective Asset Management Plan risks not being aligned with an organization’s overall strategic direction and goals.

It’s therefore recommended to include key people from different parts of the organization, including Finance, IT, Corporate Services, Operations, Facilities, Compliance, Maintenance, Key Contractors, and the Senior Leadership Team and Board.

Developing an Asset Management Steering Group that includes key people is a simple and practical method to obtain organizational buy-in. For more details on how to do this, see our on-demand webinar.

Asset management challenge #2: Making it too complex, too soon

Organizations large and small can be prone to overcomplicating things, whether it’s large-scale data collection or developing complicated asset data models. The problem with these is that they can often be too time-consuming to be sustainable. We often see people getting swamped with data that isn’t helpful to them, and is not easily maintained.

The solution is to utilise a structured approach that starts small, with pilot projects, facilitated workshops, and prototyping. This also creates the opportunity to involve key people, and to get buy-in.

Be sure to identify critical business first – and in a sequenced way. Identifying and dealing with critical issues first, and starting small but simple, will get your asset management planning process off to a strong start.

For more details on how to implement a simple, sequenced approach to asset management planning, see our on-demand webinar.

Asset management challenge #3: Resource issues around people and systems 

Resourcing is a common issue, and admittedly a complex issue to tackle. This often goes hand in hand with challenges around systems and processes.

Common challenges around people and systems include:

  • Lack of time:
    • One person having all the responsibility for asset management planning – as well as other responsibilities. This leads to them being overloaded with work, and managing competing responsibilities.
    • Experienced people focus on and deliver a particular area of asset management well, e.g. data collection, but do not have the time to utilise it and gain value from building the bigger picture in identifying gaps, trends, and risks.

  • Lack of knowledge, experience, or confidence in asset management.

  • Not embracing technology, resulting in data that’s stored in multiple locations by multiple parties, making it difficult to extract the data and accurately report on it.

  • Inconsistent transfer of knowledge, the risk of key people leaving the organization, and they have all the knowledge in their heads and spreadsheets, rather than in a centralised database. This invariably means that a new employee starts the asset management planning process from scratch.

  • Outsourcing asset management completely, resulting in a lack of ownership and organizational buy-in.

Because these asset management challenges relating to resourcing are so common, we’ve developed a list of good practice tips to help with these in our on-demand webinar.

Summary

It is well worth facing these asset management challenges and getting it right.

Successful asset management acts as a compass to help the Board make better decisions. It’s not just about what to spend money on; it’s about helping your organization achieve its strategic goals.

Be sure to:

  • Involve and get buy-in from the right people: it has to be a team effort.
  • Keep it simple to start with by adopting a staged approach – and demonstrate value early on.
  • Invest in both human and technological resources. 

Next step: Get practical tips in our on-demand webinar

Tom Clark, Key Accounts Manager, provides practical tips and advice on how to tackle these asset management challenges head-on in our free on-demand webinar.