There's no "O" in Asset Management

Asset Management is on the brink of a revolution but are organisations keeping up? Are our thoughts aligned with action? On the foot of our recent 'Future of Asset Management' report, Gareth Robbins, Director - Built Asset Consultancy, discusses.

Brisbane at dusk

"Lately we’ve seen a revolution in our thinking, where Asset Management is becoming increasingly accepted as needing an organisational-wide effort." Gareth Robbins, Arcadis.

Operations. Operations and Maintenance. Operational Expenditure. Operational Performance. 

All O’s that define a phase in the life of a built asset; its running costs, the departments that manage it, and the data assessing what needs to be done. All part of Asset Management, yet they are far from the same.

Lately we've seen a revolution in our thinking, whereby Asset Management is becoming increasingly accepted as needing an organisational-wide effort that crosses departmental boundaries. Experience tell us Asset Management should be at the forefront of our decision-making when we make plans around capital delivery, operations and eventual re-purposing.

But there’s thoughts and then there are actions, and it appears this revolution is taking its time. As proper Asset Management takes effort, investment, and long-term commitment.

The opening chapter in the Future of Asset Management, - the first in a series of Arcadis reports – suggests that Asset Management functions and approaches that are exclusively technical, are not only outdated, but fail to maximise benefits and unlock value.

"Expectations surrounding the quality of our built assets continue to rise."

Yet now more than ever before, expectations surrounding the quality of our built assets continue to rise; from transport efficiency, water quality, environmental impacts or even safety measures. In order to meet these expectations without creating undue expense, we require a shake-up in the way we approach Asset Management.

So where to from here? Firstly, organisations need to embrace the revolution before it is forced upon them. Next, they need to align all asset-focused elements of their business around a common and cohesive structure, approach and set of data.

What’s needed here is a cultural and organisational change, not a technical improvement. A scary challenge perhaps, but the benefits are enormous. Plus, given the alternatives are ultimately doomed, understanding the what,how and why, is a journey every asset-focused organisation needs to start now.

So while the phrase ‘Asset Management’ does not have an ‘O’, it needs to represent the full alphabet, linking each part of an asset-based organisation to every stage of the asset lifecycle. For when organisations finally go beyond technically-focused approaches and questions, they will then be able to truly deliver business-driven answers.

Gareth Robbins

Sector Managing Director - Property, Energy and Resources Ask me a question