A DEFINITION FOR A COMMONSENSE APPROACH
The roads and bridges we cross, the buildings in which we work and live, the water treatment networks our cities operate with, the production units but also the energy and fuel pipelines that we use, are all physical assets and infrastructures that require effective management.
Physical Asset Management aims to ensure they are available, operate with safety and low risk, in a cost-effective and timely fashion. It, therefore, requires a professional mindset, a proper decision-making process by the right people at the right time, equipped with the right data.
In other words, by looking at the big picture, having common sense plus the necessary information, everyone should be turning to the implementation of Physical Asset Management, to benefit from an asset’s competitive advantage. But how do you ensure that within an organisation, comprehensive information reaches the right people so that analytical and predictive modeling can develop rather than simply rely on standard maintenance?
MANAGEMENT OR MAINTENANCE
Maintenance may be a key point in the management of physical assets & infrastructure but when we talk about PAM, we refer to a broader concept, a systematic process from design to final disposal. It is a coordinated activity to derive value from assets and extends beyond one-dimensional maintenance of industrial facilities & equipment, focusing mainly on reducing and optimising the assets’ cost of life at all stages.
As a concept, of course, it remains broad and therefore sometimes rather misunderstood: one does not realise that it is an applied way of thinking that includes the organisation and operation of a business altogether. The release of PAS 55 in 2008 and the subsequent version of ISO 55000 in 2014, brought Physical Asset Management to the forefront worldwide. In Greece however, Physical Asset Management is the exception and not the rule. Today, Atom Group equipped with many years of experience in the fields of Testing, Inspection and Certification [TIC] and with a new perspective, brings the application of this business culture to Greece.
PRACTICALLY WHAT DO WE MEAN BY PAM?
But to examine what exactly this “new applied way of thinking” means in practice, I cite, from my experience in the field, some examples.
What is often observed in Greek companies is that full-time maintenance contracts are based mainly on bidding, consequently on measurable financial costs rather than non-measurable characteristics, such as the operational continuity of assets and therefore business continuity with increased and calculated predictability.
This is a typical case of reactive rather than strategic asset management, where in infrastructure management one “looks at the tree and loses the forest”.
In such an example, the “narrow view” of ensuring continuous operation did not allow future reliability issues to be considered. In addition to the limited view of the technical team, the need for a low budget destroyed the value creation of the life cycle asset.
This is a typical example which we all face, either from the business side or consulting side, but also from the project management side. And while finding a balance between a financial offer and an existing budget is critical, the full extent of Physical Asset Management as a competitive advantage cannot be left out of the decision equation when a physical asset or infrastructure has a full life cycle.
WHY IS PAM RELEVANT NOW MORE THAN EVER?
From conceptual design, operation, decommissioning and up until final disposal a team of experts, scientists, and technicians is required, having specialised training and extended experience and covering each different field or branch of application.
In today’s world that is massively affected by pandemic conditions and emergencies due to climate change, the biggest challenge for any organisation is to maintain the smooth business operation, while keeping costs to a minimum and meeting the needs of the customers. Workforce cuts may be a short-term solution for companies that want to meet immediate fiscal targets. However, physical asset management begins to fail over time when there is not enough workforce to properly manage the assets. Without proper management, unnecessary and preventable damage will continue to occur. PAM, in this case, can be implemented just as successfully by outsourcing a team that can evaluate, review and re- evaluate processes that may be so dated that – under the new circumstances today – a radical change is required. When fully implemented and with the appropriate digital tools, PAM facilitates and allows monitoring of every asset of your company in any location, whether central or remote.
Moreover, in today’s digital age where data are unremitting and their generation is constant, if they are not relevant, reliable, timely or accurate they are simply useless. However, poor decision making will not happen if experts systematically monitor, record and identify potential threats, faults, and defects. Through PAM providing data collection in addition to common sense and experience, empower one to make a well-informed, factual decision, especially in a critical situation.
SUSTAINABILITY FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW
To be concise, through Physical Asset Management an organisation can build a business culture based on a low-costs, high return strategy and ensure that the roads and bridges we cross, the buildings in which we work, the water treatment networks our cities operate, the production units including the energy and fuel pipelines that we use, and many more physical assets, large or small, remain intact and functional.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, ATOM GROUP