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Inhibitors to Creating and Sustaining an Asset Management Program – A View from Experienced Veterans

A group of SAM Challenge public agency participants that have at least several years of experience in asset management implementation were asked what the key inhibitors or challenges have been to sustaining a successful program.

The resultant set of inhibitors, effects, mitigation and management activities are summarized below. The word “STOP” signifies those inhibitors that were felt might bring an existing asset management program to a halt.

Inhibitor Effect Manage/Mitigate
Change in senior management within an organization seeking to implement an asset management program Interrupts implementation process
  • Ensure ongoing demonstration of value of program
  • Maintain buy-in of entire team
  • Program governed through an asset management steering committee to ensure ongoing commitment
  • Embed new business processes and practices
  • Undertake regular external reporting of value derived from asset management program
Funding resource constraints Effort not sustained, variable commitment to program and schedule changes delaying implementation
  • Reinforce business case – demonstrating value for money from asset management program
  • Ensure there is an asset management champion in the leadership group who can advise policymakers on the consequences of funding constraints
  • Demonstrate successes achieved throughout the program implementation
  • Continually highlight long term benefits from asset management and the potential consequences of not adopting asset management
Resistance from operation and maintenance staff

Why fix it when it is not broken and requires additional work

Getting push back from staff trying to protect their long standing ways of doing things

Sustaining support from staff during a long period of implementation

Reluctance of stakeholders to meet increased rates used by staff to resist change
STOP: Impact on asset operators who are key to service delivery

Change in management or personnel may result

Leadership support may falter

Funding/ resource constraints
  • Business case – demonstrate value for money and need to do things differently
  • Champion/ in leadership/ gatekeeper
  • Demonstrate how asset management will ultimately make jobs easier to perform
  • Highlight long term benefits
Inconsistent approach to asset management implementation STOP: Failed IT implementation and organization change management builds skepticism and wearies staff to absorb and embrace further change
  • Business case for AM implementation and IT system development
  • Follow through on implementation
IT solutions not compatible Limits benefits of asset management implementation and potentially leads to disillusionment of staff
  •  Business case for asset management implementation and IT system development need to be clearly articulated.
Lack of understanding of asset management If potential benefits are not recognized at the outset there may be problems in the program getting off the ground
  • Business case – demonstrated value for money
  • Champion/ in leadership/ gatekeeper
  • Demonstrate success as it occurs
  • Highlight long term benefits
Other commitments or existing workload Limits participation by staff in the implementation process
  • Adjust pace of program to align with resource availability
  • Ensure program is focused and prioritized to gain maximum efficiencies
  • Prepare a detailed and realistic work plan
  • Demonstrate value of program
  • Promote the program as an: “investment” as opposed to improvement
  • Decentralize elements of program to overcome short term resource commitment issues
Stakeholders/other departments do not see asset management goals and objectives as being important Limits benefits of program due to lack of commitment across organization.
  • Use business case to demonstrate value for money
  • Explain and obtain agreement to program goals and objectives
  • Utilize asset management champion to convince detractors of benefits of asset management
  • Highlight early successes resulting from program implementation
  • Highlight long term benefits of program
Question if asset management is adding value STOP: Economic downturn/drought could bring program to a halt Not universally accepted that asset management adds value Retirement of key staff could lead to reduced ability to sustain program
  • Succession planning – identifying staff for the future with clearly defined career development paths
  • Knowledge retention – by key individuals documenting their knowledge and role
  • Diverse multi-function asset management delivery team with staff representation from across organization
  • EDMS – linked to CMMS (operations and management manuals)
  • Ensure staff complete and maintain certification.
  • Update job descriptions to clearly define roles and responsibilities

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