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IT’s Emerging Role within Maintenance’s Best Practices

Within the next year, new ISO 55000 standards are expected. ISO 55000 is a set of three standards designed to create common language, concepts and measures of quality in asset management practice. It is an important step, as asset management...

August 1, 2013  By Pulp & Paper Canada

Within the next year, new ISO 55000 standards are expected. ISO 55000 is a set of three standards designed to create common language, concepts and measures of quality in asset management practice. It is an important step, as asset management impacts the financial performance, reliability, safety, environment and even the overall competitiveness of an organization. With so much at stake, the adoption of ISO 55000 to provide a structured asset management framework is critical. It can be anticipated that, like ISO 9000, ISO 55000 will become a standard that investors, insurers, and regulators will look for to ensure organizations are striving for best operational practices and performance.
The reason for the standard is clear: well-managed assets are essential for cost containment, price management, reliability, return on investment, and increased overall asset value. ISO 55000 compliance will help establish a competitive advantage by using a structured approach to asset management over an asset’s lifecycle. This standard methodology for controlled asset management can drive cost savings and reliability improvement.
While the role of maintenance and reliability are clearly defined within the standard, the role of IT is less obvious. ISO 55000 does not define the role of IT; in fact, the standard is very agnostic in terms of what systems are used or should be selected to facilitate compliance. No doubt, to achieve compliance standard IT support such as system availability, communication systems and reporting are required, but a closer look at the standard implies significantly more IT involvement.
There are four key areas IT can focus on to help a transition to ISO 55000:
1. Detailed knowledge of enterprise asset management (EAM) system
As you might expect, the ISO 55000 standard does not dictate that a particular set of IT products be implemented; rather, it outlines specifications for IT governance and control that are typically met using applications capable of encompassing the entire asset life cycle and making information easily available to all stakeholders. This is the role of the enterprise asset management system (EAM).
Many asset management applications, such as IBM’s Maximo, SAP’s EAM, Invensys’ Avantis and others, have positioned themselves to support ISO 55000 initiatives. These complex asset management applications are very flexible in terms of maintenance practices, asset tracking, history recording, workflow, reporting and more. The issue becomes not whether such an application can be used for ISO 55000 compliance but if the IT team managing the system can configure it to do so efficiently.
Asset management reporting from within the EAM will require that data be readily accessible on asset condition, performance, activities, costs, and history. Further, asset lifecycle trending may be used as a basis for data-driven decision-making and creating a predictive maintenance environment. From a financial perspective, information about lifecycle costs, capital investment criteria, and operating cost is essential. All of this information needs to be reported from the EAM and depending on the asset, perhaps even in real time.
It will be the responsibility of IT to keep these systems running, current, and configured to support ISO 55000 compliance. Just how do IT members know how to configure an application for ISO 55000 compliance? That brings us to the second point.
2. Detailed knowledge of ISO 55000
In order to manage the asset management application effectively and to provide necessary asset reporting and standard compliance, it is very important for the IT team to have a clear knowledge of ISO 55000 and its goals and requirements. A detailed knowledge of the standard helps provide a better understanding of how the EAM application needs to be configured and managed. Familiarity with the standard enables IT to help align the asset management approach with overall business strategy and maximize uptime of mission-critical equipment. To do this, IT departments should understand:
• asset management best practices;
• the asset life cycle;
• the relationship between asset management and risk
• the functional condition and performance of assets;
• the impact of downtime of an asset.
Perhaps most importantly, ISO 55000 awareness provides IT, and any others who study the standard, with an advanced level of understanding of the importance of asset management to the organization’s success.
3. Understanding of how an asset fits
within the production environment
To understand the types of reporting required and to support the asset within the ISO 55000 framework and the EAM, the IT team must understand how assets function within the production environment. Each asset may vary in terms of its importance to production and risk factor. Actively monitoring the condition of thousands of assets in a mill may be difficult, but pinpointing and focusing on those assets that are the greatest threat to production loss and downtime is a great place to start.
With knowledge of the standard and the asset itself and the ability to translate the ISO 55000 requirements into the EAM, it should be possible to:
• Monitor the condition of key assets: Built into the EAM are systems to detect defects or build reports to identify trends to isolate the condition of an asset.
• Manage risk: Using risk assessments, work history and other features within the EAM it should be possible to establish a proactive risk environment. By collecting and analyzing all current data across the enterprise asset base, a system of this capacity can help organizations ensure safety by understanding the potential risks as well as knowing what actions to take to mitigate them before they become serious issues.
• Standardize asset recording: The EAM can provide an effective system for a standardized approach to the collection of asset data. This asset recording would align with the requirements set out by the ISO 55000 standard. The goal is to ensure that data within the EAM is consistent, maintained, and available in the field.
4. Understanding your role in asset management
Finally, one very positive development that is likely to emerge from ISO 55000 is that asset management optimization and risk is no longer the sole responsibility of a few departments but rather the entire mill. IT, like any other department, has a responsibility within this framework to help contribute to the reliability of the assets. A thorough understanding of these principles allows IT to take information about assets and parlay this into knowledge that informs all that have a vested interest in asset optimization to improve the entire asset management process.
When it comes time to move towards ISO 55000, IT departments have one question to answer: “What information do I need to learn and who do I need to communicate with to make this happen?”

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