The Managers of physical assets, and particularly of maintenance, have created many opportunities for improving the professionalism of their contribution in recent years, for example from:
- the development during asset design of the maintenance ‘supply and demand’ requirements; a process otherwise known as Early Asset Management
- the wider use of external contractors and of more competitive global equipment supply chains,
- the coordination of maintenance processes into those used site-wide for procurement, operations, finance, etc., leading to better compliance with regulatory requirements,
- the wider application of targets directly related to the corporate objectives, and of benchmarking for the comparison of progress and improvements,
- the availability of additional internationally recognised training courses to MSc degree level in maintenance and asset integrity management.
In parallel with those and similar management opportunities, the Directors of organisations who are responsible for the upkeep of assets, ranging from refineries to roads and to hospitals, etc., have a strong appreciation of how to obtain the optimum value from asset investments. With regard to maintenance, those Directors have always been aware of the maintenance budget costs and spend. To-day, they are more aware of the consequences of variable asset design and build quality on the subsequent combined cost of operations and maintenance; and that this latter combined cost can dwarf the capital cost.
The asset management business demands maintenance foresight and strategic management. A beginning to this is an appreciation by managers of maintenance that for them ‘strategies’ are composed of two fundamental forms. One is the Asset Strategy, which is the collection of different activities chosen to be carried out on the assets in order to sustain their performance and these are coordinated into an overall Asset Management Plan. The second is the Maintenance Management Strategy which links the maintenance policies and objectives with the corporate aims, and then details the chosen practices for managing safety, organisation, processes and systems, and the people capabilities, etc.