An asset management system (AMS) is a management system (not a software system) for an organization’s physical assets. It is a comprehensive framework of asset management policies, strategies, practices, and processes that an organization adopts in order to accomplish its objectives.

In some organizations, there is not an official process for how assets and infrastructure are to be managed. There is just “the way we have always done it,” which is mostly kept in the heads of maintenance engineers, storeroom staff, procurement personnel, etc. But for organizations looking to improve, processes must be documented – formalized – to ensure everyone is clear on who does what when. This process of “systematizing” how assets are managed is what an AMS is all about.

A Systematic Approach to Asset Management

The internationally accepted standards for asset management, ISO 55000, ISO 41000, and PAS 55, emphasize the importance of AMS in helping organizations accomplish their objectives. According to these standards, organizations should “systematize” their asset management operations through the design, implementation, and continuous improvement of an organization-wide AMS.

AMS are used widely in asset-intensive operations such as manufacturing, government, and utilities because of their exceptional ability to create value. International asset management standards require organizations to establish an AMS in order to demonstrate compliance (alignment) or to achieve certification. The standards stress that asset-intensive operations need to take a comprehensive (“not just about maintenance”) approach to asset management if value is to be created over the long term and on a consistent basis.

Establishing Standards for Enterprise Asset Management

An AMS helps to standardize asset management operations. It provides the framework and strategy for the organization’s asset management program. Many multi-site organizations share and manage similar assets, and it is a best practice that these assets be managed in similar ways. This means sites should have similar preventive maintenance (PM) programs, work management processes, data conventions, etc. An AMS gets everyone singing from the same sheet of music. An AMS provides a model for the company to follow.

An AMS also provides much-needed direction to the EAM/CMMS system. The EAM/CMMS system is the key asset management information delivery tool. Its primary purpose for existence is to deliver rich and actionable asset management information to the organization. This can’t happen if roles and responsibilities, business processes, procedures, naming conventions, coding structures, etc. are not clearly defined up front. These are outputs from an AMS. Without these fundamental elements, the software tool is compromised and the chances for a successful implementation are greatly diminished. An AMS provides the foundation for the asset management operation and plays a fundamental role in the information delivery process. (See the image below.)

Value Pyramid

Asset management systems work with asset information systems to create value.

If you are having challenges with your EAM/CMMS system, start by looking at your foundation or lack of one. More than likely, the culprit is hiding in there.

Building Your Asset Management System on Best Practices

But simply having an AMS is not enough. It is critical that you build your AMS on industry-proven and accepted practices. Starting with the right foundation accelerates value realization and provides assurance to stakeholders that the system is built on rock-solid footings. Making the mistake of building your system on questionable practices can be worse than not implementing a system at all. Beginning with practices that are industry-recognized and established will help you implement a better system faster.

So, the answer is easy. Asset-intensive operations rely on their assets to be successful. An AMS, built on what is tried and proven, is there to make success happen.

Get Help Developing an Asset Management System

SwainSmith, Inc., specializes in designing, implementing, and auditing industry-leading, ISO-compliant AMS. We draw on proprietary tool sets (including our SynergyTM Asset Management System) and deep domain expertise to build high-performance systems that deliver unparalleled value to our clients. Our systems improve asset performance, reduce risk, and lower OPEX and CAPEX costs on a long-term and sustainable basis. Our AMS integrate and optimize all aspects of the operation to create maximum value.

Are your physical assets critical to helping you accomplish the organization’s objectives?

If so, do you have a structured and comprehensive program of documented practices and processes in place to make that happen?

If not, call 828-215-9471 or email us. We can help.

Tracy Smith

Tracy S. Smith has been helping organizations solve their asset management challenges for 20 years. He is the president of SwainSmith, Inc., an EAM solutions company. He also offers complimentary 30-minute EAM consultations. No sales pitch or a pesky follow-up call. Just straight answers to your questions—and an objective, experienced assessment of your issues and goals.

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