In our last article, we explored the key benefits of having an asset management policy (spoiler: there are many). To build off of this, read on to learn how to develop an asset management policy, what should be included, and how to implement it at your company.
How to develop an asset management policy and strategy
An asset management policy typically includes four larger sections:
- Intent: clearly communicates the intended purpose of the policy
- Scope: describes the assets and services covered by the policy
- Statement of Principles: provides direction on how to apply it within the organization
- Responsibilities: identify who’s responsible for approving the asset management policy, providing resources to implement the policy, setting priorities, and leading the implementation of the asset management policy
Remember, the best policy documents are straightforward, concise, and easy to understand.
What should be included in an asset management policy?
The following are the most important elements of an effective asset management policy:
Start by summarizing the intent: Establish the aim of the organization clearly and succinctly. Consider using the company’s mission statement or core values as your starting point. Tie asset management into this statement with a brief declaration of its importance in achieving the goals of the organization. This section should be 1-3 sentences.
State the scope: Spend time thinking about all of the assets, services, and people that could be affected by this policy. Talk to members of every business unit to understand what assets they are responsible for and their importance. This section is critically important as it eliminates ambiguity, begins to establish expectations, and reinforces accountability. This section should be 2-5 sentences.
Articulate the intended outcomes: This section describes the high-level objectives for asset management at your organization. It should further define the goals you want to achieve with this policy and your complete asset management strategy and summarize the rationale behind the policy and more specific objectives as they relate to assets and asset management (e.g., improved reliability, increased accountability). This section should be 3-5 sentences.
Lay out the principles of asset management: This will serve as a blueprint for decision-making and provide direction on how to apply the asset management policy to everyday tasks. It should also provide some very general examples of how the principles should be applied (e.g., delivery of resources, reporting standards). If someone is unsure of how to make a decision regarding asset management, this section should be able to point them in the right direction. This section should be 4-6 sentences.
Define responsibilities: This is where you designate who is responsible for all aspects of the policy and asset management in general, including approval, allocation of resources, implementation, defining priorities and any other relevant, high-level actions. This section should be 2-4 sentences.
Continual improvement and regulatory compliance: Here you’ll state the organization’s commitment to continual improvement of its program, how you’ll maintain compliance with third-party standards. This helps reduce complacency and enables the plan to be an evolving, actionable strategy rather than a vague, forgettable document. As your facility grows, auditing requirements change, technology advances, and processes need to be updated. That’s why it is extremely important to make a promise of continual improvement as it strengthens your facility’s never-ending quest to improve in all areas, which benefits everyone from a safety and financial standpoint. This section should be 2-4 sentences.
Supplement with additional resources: This section should include a list of administrative details and contacts, such as the effective date of the policy, the policy owner, and the signature of the executive sponsor. It also should include any related documents, such as a health and safety policy, associated regulations and standards, like ISO 55001, and definitions, terms, and abbreviations that readers may not be familiar with.
Create, review and refine with stakeholders: Building an asset management policy is a long process. It’s going to take a few drafts to get it right. It’s critical to collaborate with key stakeholders from all business units when creating, reviewing, and refining the guidelines. Identify a sponsor in senior management who can lend support and oversight to the project. Make it short, easily digestible, and consistent with other policies your organization has, such as a health and safety policy. Above all else, make sure you take the time to frequently review and update the strategy, even after it has been published.
How to implement an asset management policy
To ensure your asset management policy is implemented properly (and with the desired impact), there are 3 key steps you should follow:
Communication and accessibility: You must communicate the policy to all staff, especially intent and next steps. If no one is aware of how they are affected by the policy, there will be no accountability and implementation will be difficult to achieve. Consider creating a shorter, one-page document outlining key elements so all employees can read and understand it easily. It’s also crucial to make the asset management policy accessible, so post it around your workplace and make sure it’s visible. Also, make it available to view in a variety of formats, such as team briefs or a short video. It’s also good to create a feedback loop so employees who have suggestions for revising the policy share it easily with you.
Tracking and improving: Identify someone to champion the plan and develop a strategy for implementation. This person may be you or a committee that divides the work and responsibilities. This project owner ensures the implementation plan is being followed, answers any questions from staff, and fine-tunes processes. This person should also spend time looking for ways to improve the policy. This could be done through an annual review, regular stakeholder meetings, or other forums that identify and implement improvements.
Leveraging software: Use the data capture tools available through your CMMS, such as checklists, work order histories, and in-depth reports to monitor the progress and impact of policy implementation.
By following these three steps, you’ll be able to make the principles and procedures outlined in your asset management policy a part of your organization’s DNA. If the principles are quickly forgotten, asset management will continue to be an afterthought and asset performance will fail to reach its full potential.
Have you implemented an asset policy in your facility? If so, what was that process like for you? Let us know in the comments below.