Asset durability management: expertise at the heart of asset management

Asset durability management is a rapidly growing field of activity. Around the world, companies must balance their economic, social and environmental sustainability with the need to maintain and optimize their physical assets. With successive retirements, restructurings and relocations, corporate memory that resided in previous employees is being lost. As some of the knowledge and expertise disappears, it often becomes more difficult to determine the health and performance of assets. The development of cloud software such as SaaS has paved the way for significantly improved overall management of capital-intensive assets, whether they are infrastructure or equipment.

We have entered a new era of integrated cloud software and data valuation decision support. Efficient management of capital asset durability is at the heart of the new platforms that gather the data needed to reduce capital and operating expenses in support of long-term strategic planning.

In addition, recent ESG regulations require reporting not only on a company's financial performance, but also on its overall environmental, social and governance impact performance. Integrating asset durability management into an ESG framework requires a holistic approach to sustainability that considers the environmental, social and governance impacts of a company's operations and asset management practices. Thus, companies can improve their sustainability performance, strengthen their reputation and generate long-term value for their stakeholders.

In this context, the prospect of using integrated software to improve the overall management of a company's or an organization's assets appears essential.

An Emerging Approach to Sustaining Asset Management

While working with different clients on a range of problems, several engineering experts have begun to notice interesting possibilities for identifying and resolving chronic degradations or failures with infrastructure and equipment in various sectors.

A key issue for many clients is the ability to capture and use meaningful data about the health of their assets in a regular or standardized form. All too often, the data for various assets has been gathered and reported in different or inconsistent  ways. This can make it difficult to assess performance trends, and to compare and develop accurate valuations and acquisition/maintenance plans for fixed assets. The availability of accurate, standardized data enables machine learning of data and advanced calculations. These calculations are undoubtedly a significant improvement in decision making.

Asset sustainability experts have therefore needed to use integrated data management software. These collect and use current asset data to inform current and long-term planning, taking into account safety, financial and environmental performance. These asset management platforms generate and use data to support monitoring, analysis and operational decisions. It also serves to communicate relevant information and decisions more effectively to all levels of decision makers.

As experts have grappled with problems encountered in various sectors, it has become clear an approach based on sustainable asset management is necessary to support both real-time and strategic decision making. Operational managers and field operators manage day-to-day operational issues while middle and upper management must make decisions to better plan for future acquisition and life cycle maintenance of their assets.

Build Collaboration and Collective Intelligence

Using an asset sustainability approach involves deploying the results both upwards, downwards and across the company. Ideally, the results and outputs should be tailored to the assessment and decision-making requirements across all strategic and operational levels of the company’s core activities.  

An appropriate ASDM (Asset Sustainability and Durability Management) platform increases the power and efficiency of collective intelligence from at least two different practical angles. Unlike industry-standard platforms, a true ASDM solution must be designed and developed by industry-leading ‘thought leadership’.  It must also be designed to enable the free flow of communication between users at all levels of the company - primarily timely information-sharing and finding the right information to make the right decisions at the right time.

A true ASDM solution is not intended to compete with the other comprehensive information management systems used by a company (e.g., CMMS). The purpose of this approach is to interconnect facility and fixed asset information that is typically excluded from many asset or performance management systems into other decision-critical information systems. The ability to provide robust, timely, and standardized fixed asset data is an important support to any digital transformation initiative and can play an important role in an organization's efforts to increase the opportunities to discover and utilize the collective intelligence of all involved to integrate data and information about facilities and fixed-assets typically excluded from many asset management or performance systems into an organization’s other core decision-making information systems.

In many countries around the world, infrastructure across multiple and various sectors is aging and deteriorating. In addition, the data generated by a new generation of smart assets (e.g., embedded sensors and IoT-based analytics capabilities) will provide the basis for future scenarios for identifying and developing new opportunities and more effective asset investment strategies. The data and information generated by these new smart assets will also need to be integrated into an ADM to provide a complete and accurate picture of asset condition and performance. The near future of infrastructure around the world suggests rapid growth of a global market for services that will optimize capital asset planning, maintenance and management, as well as improving their environmental footprint.

Sophie Boisvert, P. Eng.
Vice President
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