Asset Management is defined as the “the coordinated activity of an organization to realize value from assets.”
At CAP, this boils down to protecting, preserving and preparing in a consistent and coordinated manor across the organization:
- Protecting all asset classes from potential impacts
- Preserving all critical functions for each asset class
- Preparing each asset class to optimize its long-term effectiveness
Following is a Q&A with Robert Hitchcock, CAP’s Supervisor of Maintenance Planning
What does Asset Management mean to CAP?
At CAP, we like to use the analogy that Asset Management is the timing belt on the engine. The timing belt ensures that the other components of the engine are synchronized and work in harmony. You can have a perfectly fine crank shaft, cam shaft, valves, cylinders, pistons, etc. But without the timing belt to keep them in unison, their individual effectiveness cannot be realized. The same is true for Asset Management. There can be many high-performing areas in an organization (often referred to as Centers of Excellence). But, for an organization to realize the full value from its assets, the activities across those areas must be coordinated in a consistent and transparent manner. It is through this improved coordination that higher reliability is achieved.
How has Asset Management served us well thus far and how will it serve us into the future?
At CAP, we emphasize making life-cycle decisions. This refers to making choices that are in the best interest of each asset class in terms of cost, quality and service, resulting in the most effective life-cycle cost. In other words, not just the best short-term decision or the cheapest decision. We have a lot of plans! -- Long-Range Capital Plans, Long-Range Maintenance Plans, Equipment Maintenance Plans, an Annual Operating Plan, a Biennial Budget, Risk Registers and many other Asset Management Plans. Our enterprise-wide Asset Management initiative further coordinates these plans, synchronize their development and continuously improves our processes.
Asset Management is a part of a lot of organizations business operations. How is it different at CAP?
Asset Management has been identified as an industry best practice to balance risk, level of service and life-cycle cost for any asset intensive organization. In locations such as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australasia, Asset Management programs are a regulatory requirement for municipal entities, utilities and transportation. CAP is one of only a handful of entities in the U.S. taking it upon itself to align with the spirit and intent of these programs and standards, despite the lack of regulatory requirement.
Does Asset Management refer just to fixing “things” – or does it relate to other parts of CAP operations?
CAP chose to apply the ISO 55000 definition of Asset Management, which defines an asset as an “item, thing or entity that has potential or actual value to an organization.” For us, assets are not viewed just as the physical parts of the CAP system. The asset classes established in CAP’s Asset Management Policy are:
- Physical Assets
- Financial Assets
- Human Assets
- Information Assets
- Power Assets
- Water Assets
- Intangible Assets
There are defined objectives for each asset class and each is evaluated in terms of level of service, cost of service and risk. Our goal is that CAP’s Asset Management program will maximize value-for-money and improve stakeholder satisfaction through better customer service.
How does Asset Management relate to the overall reliability of the CAP system?
Asset Management is not an accounting system, a software program, a project or even a single plan. It is also not an “end” in and of itself. Asset Management is a process, a forward-looking practice, a holistic and integrated approach to decision making. It’s a means to an “end.” Asset Management is about building an organization-wide system of policies, processes, plans and practices that interrelate and lead to a culture of consistency, transparency, life-cycle based thinking and continuous improvement.