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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gill

Do You Know Where Your Assets Are?

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

It is very easy to get caught up in the mindset of how production is going and how well we are faring against our competitors. Not suggesting these are bad things to be concerned about. But sometimes with a mindset like this, we can get easily distracted and forget about the fundamentals of good asset management. If we think about it, we are unable to operate, maintain, and even establish realistic production projections if we do not know our assets. Therefore, it is crucial to determine all the things we need to know about our assets to successfully deal with them throughout their lifecycle and the lifecycle of the plant. How many organizations know exactly where each asset is, what the purpose is, how the asset should be operated, and how the asset should be maintained? The answer would shock you. There are organizations that can manage their assets well, but that is usually because there has been recognition from leadership about the importance of some asset management.

In a perfect world, all we need to know about an asset could be at our fingertips. We would be able to see the current operating status, the condition, the next scheduled maintenance, the last performed maintenance and much more. We would be able to trend the performance of the asset in hopes to fine-tune and operate at optimal capabilities. But if we do not have the basics, we may never be able to obtain some of these benefits. One of the first things an organization needs to have is an asset library (listing). This is an inventory of every asset within the plant, operating and not operating. As we build on this further, we could develop a hierarchy that provides us with a visualization of systems and subsystems. A hierarchy helps us understand where an asset is located in a plant, but more so shows its potential critical placement. What is meant by this? There could be several of the same types of assets installed throughout a plant, but in some cases, it is where it is installed, as its purpose that can be better demonstrated as well as its true criticality to the operation and safety of the plant. A pump in a list may look very similar to many other pumps in the list. But if we visualize one of these pumps located within a fire suppression system, we might think of it differently.

When we better understand the location along with the operating context of the asset, we can make better decisions around the asset. Recognizing that some pumps may be more important than others because of the role. But we cannot do this if we do not know where the asset is or if we are not housing the very important information about the asset. Before we can operate or maintain an asset, we need this fundamental information. It is crucial to have this information first before setting up any type of maintenance and reliability program. Even if there are circumstances where an organization has no clue; this step is worth the effort. There may even be cases where some of the information is there, but it is inconsistent and incomplete. The efforts to improve your maintenance and reliability programs should still be focused on getting this phase completed. Because once it is there, we have endless capabilities.

A good asset management structure allows for all important information to be tied to an asset, whether it be for accounting, inventory, maintenance, and reliability purposes. It should consist of all these things that are needed to make quick and effective decisions within the organization. But if we are just starting out; build a plan to ensure there are step-by-step successes. Make sure the considerations for a good return on investment are in place and that sustainability is a key factor. Every asset management structure should have a purpose along with scalability for future growth. If you don’t know where your assets are, or even if you do, but are looking to refine or develop a more sustainable asset management program; we are here to help.

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