Everything works wonderfully

In his 4th Blog of 23 lessons to World Class Asset management, Dr Mike Provosts reviews insights that can only really be learned the hard way; Doing the Job!.  In particular ‘cost is not a measure value’, ‘Do not assume anything and ‘Push but be patient’

Other blogs in the series are:

Part 1: Business lessons

Part 2: People and Data

Part 3: Analysis and Visualisation

Part 4: The Hard Stuff that comes from Experience

17. Cost is not value: keep reminding the cost-cutters of this

Many people confuse the cost of a component with the impact it has on your customers’ operations, with the result that many items that are critical end up being ignored purely because they are technically undemanding, cheap or generally ‘boring’. The $1 component that generates costs of $1,000,000 when it goes wrong is worth monitoring and taking care of. Many of the best Asset Management programmes owe their success to looking after the ‘boring but important’ items in their asset inventories very well.

18. An asset measurement without a timestamp (preferably GMT/UTC, which avoids time zone and daylight saving time issues), unique asset identifier and some measure of operating stress and environment is a random number from which useful information can only rarely be retrieved

A sensor reading from an asset means nothing if you can’t place it in context or relate it to other readings from the same or related assets.

19. Inadequate asset configuration knowledge and/or asset configuration control makes meaningful Asset Management impossible

There are significant differences between the ‘as designed’, ‘as built’ and ‘as maintained’ state of all your customers’ individual assets once they have been deployed in the field; these differences are critical and can be the source of many Asset Management failures, from not understanding data signals to delivering wrong spare parts to the maintainer in the field. Watch out for undocumented ‘temporary’ fixes and modifications to assets and working practices that solve short-term issues but cause damage and play havoc later.

20. Some people just don’t ‘get it’

Either re-educate them or remove them. Asset Management demands such a huge change of organisational mind-set that it is inevitable that many people at all levels in your organisation either can’t or won’t see what it’s all about. At best, the unbelievers will sit on the side-lines and hope you will go away; at worst, they will actively sabotage the necessary business process re-engineering. If necessary, spin off Asset Management into a separate organisation to allow it to develop and grow and free it from malign influences.

21. Don’t assume anything

It’s easy, given the massive complexities of Asset Management, for you to assume that the data, people, processes and tools you will need are (or have been) thought about by others and will be made available for you to use. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

22. Know the limits of what you know and learn to appreciate the contributions everyone at all levels can make to the whole Asset Management process

No one person has all the answers and Asset Management insights can and do come from anywhere, both inside and outside the business. There will be many twists and turns in your Asset Management journey and changes in emphasis as you learn what is really important and what really will generate value. Data is not information. Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Listen to anyone and everyone. Humility is a virtue; it opens you up to the knowledge and experience the people you have to work with can bring to the Asset Management enterprise.

23. Push, but be patient

Success breeds more success, interest and enthusiasm will grow, the pace will quicken and recognition and rewards will flow eventually (sometimes from the most unexpected directions…). It can be like a game of Snakes and Ladders; there are many ups and downs on the road to success.

Note: This series of blogs is based on material originally produced for the Society of Automotive Engineers (Jennions 2014): it has also been presented as a paper at the IET/IAM 2014 Asset Management Conference in London, UK (Provost 2014). It is reproduced with permission from both the SAE and the IET.