Jim Kennedy, lead advisor of the Asset Management Council and director of the Asset Management College, says that leadership is the key to the successful management of assets by engineering firms.
“Leadership and culture are becoming the major focus for asset management at the moment,” said Kennedy. “It’s the leadership and cultural aspects of an organisation that are the real potential drivers for making a difference in this area.”
Kennedy has been involved with asset management activities for the past 25 years, and is the facilitator for Engineering Education Australia’s (EEA) Asset Management for Engineering Teams course, a two-day program that seeks to impart both the technical and organisational knowledge needed for engineering firms to more effectively manage their assets.
Asset management plays a key role in the ongoing success of engineering firms by enabling them to effectively leverage their existing assets at a lower cost.
“The key thing about asset management is achieving value from the assets that one has,” said Kennedy.
“The main advantage for an organisation when it comes to the proper use of asset management is to gain control over its environment - enabling an organisation to determine exactly where it wants to be, in terms of availability of assets, by pulling the right levers to achieve this at a minimum cost.
“That’s the real power of asset management if it’s done really well.”
The primary objective of the EEA course that Kennedy facilitates is to impart participants with all the formal technical knowledge required for the sound management of engineering firm assets.
“The course is directed towards understanding what ISO 55000 and ISO 55001 now require, as a formal, internationally agreed approach to asset management,” said Kennedy. “It is mostly about how to use technical based tools in the decision-making process with the goal of providing people with a raft of potential processes, standards and methods that enable them to actually do and deliver on certification requirements.”
While a strong technical understanding of standards and procedures comprises the first key step in effective asset management, the course concludes with what Kennedy considers to be the issue of crowning importance – leadership and organisational culture.
“We finish off with what is probably one of the most important aspects of asset management, and that is leadership and culture,” said Kennedy.
“There is a whole module dedicated to understanding what is clearly stated in the ISO 55001- the realisation of asset value only comes from deploying the right sort of leadership and culture in an organisation.
“The aim of the final module is to bring together all the elements covered, so organisations can understand what has to be done, and then link this back to the issue of leadership and culture.”
Kennedy notes that lacklustre leadership or organisational culture can serve as a barrier to successful asset management by engineering firms, even if they possess all the requisite technical understanding and skill.
“Often organisations may know technically what needs to be done, but they have great difficulty achieving it because it involves dropping ideas and concepts on how they do things that may go back 30 or 50 years,” he said.
Participants in the two-day course can expect to walk away with a strong understanding of the various technical processes involved in successful asset management, as well as an excellent grasp of the leadership and cultural factors needed for their effective implementation.