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Asset Management and Operational Excellence are opposite sides of the same coin – true or false?

12 January 2016 – Thom Kemp

Before you pass judgement, consider this. Asset Management activity is largely assessed using maturity scales, ranging from ‘innocent’ at the bottom end, to ‘excellent’ at the top end.

Somewhere in between we have ‘competent’ and this should be sufficient to achieve compliance with ISO 55001. A bit like an iceberg, ISO 55001 is a relatively short standard – just 13 pages protruding above the waterline; the devil is in the detail of implementation.

Below the waterline we must wrestle – apologies for the mixed metaphor – with issues of leadership, organisation structure, risk, lifecycle management, continuous improvement, information management and a number of other issues!

So, effective implementation is a serious undertaking which, if adequately scoped and done properly, should provide a platform from which to strike out for operational excellence… the top end of the maturity scale.

Operational Excellence has been around as a concept for a number of years, possibly pre-dating Asset Management. Consider that ‘operating integrity management systems’ such as Exxon Mobil’s, have been around for some time and in many cases, represent best practice. The purpose of such systems is to achieve operational excellence, and certainly to minimise risk.

When we assess a client’s asset management capability, we use an assessment tool that draws on the requirements of PAS 55, ISO 55000 and best practice from across a number of industries – Oil & Gas, Power Generation, Transport, Marine to name a few – to make our maturity and gap assessment activity as robust as possible.

What we find is a desire to achieve compliance with ISO 55001, and a further desire to push on to operational excellence. So in a sense, compliance lies in the foothills of the mountain that is operational excellence – oops, another metaphor!

Make no mistake, achieving operational excellence is tough; it demands relentless commitment and dedication to the task. So, is asset management and operational excellence opposite sides of the same coin? Absolutely!


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