4 key steps to a firm foundation for your asset management | SPM Assets

A new eBook that looks at the importance of property lifecycle asset management

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Every organisation, no matter what size, needs to keep track of its assets. They play a significant role in the operation of any organisation, so having accurate data to indicate what assets are available is essential. Without it, a company's ability to maximise asset use and reduce waste is limited.

Not only that, but without effective asset management, organisations can suffer in terms of productivity. The processes involved are about more than just counting what you have and entering it into a spreadsheet; what's needed is in-depth and detailed data about each asset's value over its entire lifecycle.

Making sure that you have robust asset management processes in place will make sure your organisation saves spend per asset, and enables you to get the most out of them. And by knowing exactly what condition they're in, you eliminate costly problems, as well as instances of duplicate purchases or last-minute maintenance needs.

There are four key steps to building a solid foundation for your asset management. Even if you have mature asset management processes in place, it's still worth checking to see if you've got the fundamentals right.

1: Know what you have

Start by establishing an Information Management Strategy (IMS). The IMS describes ways to obtain the appropriate level of data suitable to the needs of your organisation, ensuring this information is appropriately maintained as an ongoing business process that is well resourced. And that data should be available to your teams no matter where they might be, as it enhances accountability and provides efficiency gains in how they keep track of valuable company assets.

2: Know what you need

This step is about defining your level of service, policies and standards. It's important to understand the risks each property is exposed to; you need a firm grip on functional and compliance requirements and understand that utilisation as demand varies over time. You should undertake a lifecycle analysis of at least 10 years and ideally over 20 years.

3: Know what’s possible and do the right thing

Armed with the information from the above steps, develop a list of possible solutions to address current and future shortfalls – both evidence-based from the bottom-up and judgement from the top-down. These projects then feed into a decision-making framework to move from a reactive to a planned approach to asset management – doing the right projects at the right time for the right reasons. It’s important to link asset planning to organisational strategy – doing what’s important now (prioritisation) manages risks and provides opportunity, while thinking and planning long-term to ensure sustainability.

4: Making it happen and feedback

Your list of prioritised projects is considered within budgets and, where needed, the governing body decides on what’s more important considering wider strategies. The approved projects are passed to project managers for implementation – this is where the value of the asset management process is recognised. You will be delivering real projects that make a difference – therefore, once the project is completed you can report on the outcomes achieved. Feedback the resulting asset data to the asset management system – which then resets the lifecycle modelling and addresses the risks and backlog. This is also the point at which you understand the true implications of agreed levels of service, policies, and standards. It may be necessary to amend these to reflect available sources of long-term operating and capital funding.

These are the fundamental building blocks for a solid property asset management plan. Following on from that we've written the property lifecycle asset management playbook: The definitive guide to property lifecycle management planning, which goes into greater detail and is aimed at helping you see your property assets as a key factor in achieving your organisation’s strategic objectives.

In addition to the four key steps above, the guide covers five main areas:

  1. What is property lifecycle asset management?
    An in-depth look at the various business processes involved in managing physical assets - whether property, infrastructure or plant and machinery.

  2. The principles of property asset management planning
    This section illustrates the demand vs. supply model, key points of the planning process, linkages between the organisation structure, data, decision making, and action, and the asset planning framework and how to make it work.

  3. Decision-making framework
    Using those principles, this section looks at how to identify the current and future requirements of your organisation, how these are being addressed now, how to address any shortfalls and provide recommended tactics and planned projects for implementation.

  4. The property asset management plan (property AMP)
    The key sections of a property AMP - strategic planning, asset information, future demand, levels of services, analysis of tactical options, financial information, asset management practices, improvement plan, and reporting outcomes.

  5. How your organisation supports property lifecycle asset management
    The processes, people and technology your organisation needs, including how much data you have, if you have sufficient resources, and advice on how to get started.

Keeping track of your assets and managing them isn't just busywork. It's a business-critical, enterprise IT task that will save your organisation time, money, and lots of management headaches. This introductory guide to property lifecycle asset management outlines key principles and considerations in the planning process that are buried in the IPWEA guidelines – making it easier to make asset management work.

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