What kind of organisation doesn’t need a well-structured Asset Management process? Whether you manage a public or private organisation, as long as there’s an intensive use of assets, a good asset management system comes with many benefits and can help you avoid a lot of problems.
ISO 55001 provides us with an excellent roadmap for the best use and increment in the value of such assets. According to it, organisations should perform internal audits at planned intervals to ensure that the asset management system complies with its own requirements.
So, even if your company doesn’t have the slightest intention of obtaining certification for this international norm, it’s still recommended that maintenance be audited to see if the main requirements of your Asset Management are being complied with.
Maintenance audit — what’s that anyway?
For those who have already undergone audits, such as those that are common in ISO 9001 certified companies and others, the concept isn’t new.
An audit is a systematic examination of the activities developed in a certain company or sector, for checking whether they are in conformity with the provisions planned and/or previously established, whether they have been effectively implemented, whether they are adequate and whether there is a need for improvement. Basically, checking if you’re doing things as they’re supposed to (and as you stated you’re doing them).
The norms state that it is advisable to conduct internal audits of the asset management system, particularly concerning critical assets and asset systems, to ensure that it is achieving its objectives and identifying opportunities for improvement.
In Maintenance, the audit is an process that goes down to the analytical and expert examination of the performance of operations and services of items such as:
- general organisation;
- third-party contract and service management;
- material management;
- relationships with suppliers;
- personnel management;
- public relations;
- customer services;
- risk management;
- information control;
- safety and environment;
- legal issues;
- financial management;
- …and more.
Everything is aimed at checking whether there is an alignment of policies, administration, and asset management processes, which help the company meet its strategic objectives.
It’s important to keep in mind that, since every company/organization has its own particular management system, operation, and purpose, there is no fixed and/or general rule for financial, accounting, or technical requirements to be followed.
Why audit your maintenance processes?
No matter what kind of organization we are talking about, it’s important that we always think ahead and focus on long-term goals. To ensure the continuity of the business or activities of the company, we’re always seeking to consistently meet or exceed stakeholder expectations of performance and social responsibility.
A well-planned and executed audit can boost the effectiveness and efficiency of asset management, besides bringing more transparency and trust to the relationship with the so-called “stakeholders” such as regulatory agencies, internal and external customers, insurance companies, community, and shareholders.
Here are some of the ways that maintenance audits can benefit your organisation:
Emphasising where the asset management system helps (or doesn’t) in returning investments and reducing expenses, without hindering organisational performance in the short and long term.
The continuous review of procedures and team performance, enables you to make better decisions, to avoid recurring problems and, thus, to reduce the risk of important losses and disasters.
Business growth and improvement is guaranteed by systematising the implementation of formal, transversal, prioritised, and coordinated plans, with communication and understanding of the respective goals and commitments throughout the organisation.
Personnel can be assessed and better utilised to ensure qualified, motivated, and well-organised workers, with low turnover rates and high productivity.
Support to Decision-Making
Structured and audited information allows for better decision making, aligned with the strategic objectives of the organisation, ensuring that asset management is in line with the other management systems.
When is Maintenance ready to be audited?
If an organisation’s Asset Management has not been thought, planned, implemented, and verified, in the purest spin of a PDCA cycle – Plan, Do, Control, Act – there is nothing to audit.
The PDCA cycle of Asset Management starts with an A&D (Analysis and Diagnosis) and is completed in the audit, then initiating the new cycle.
If Asset Management is structured, with defined goals being pursued, with written procedures being used, processes specified and respected, teams engaged, and work being measured, there’s always room for improvement — it is time for an audit.
Much can be improved by checking procedures, compliance with the norms, employee qualifications, KPIs, the quality and costs of the services.
A maintenance audit provides several benefits for many beneficiaries. Smart solutions and practices for qualified and effective audits are the kickoffs for sustainable development.