Asset Management is the coordinated activity of an organisation to realise value from assets, as defined in ISO 55001. Asset Management is also about using assets to achieve the organisation’s objectives. It affects more than just the assets themselves; in a mature Asset Management organisation, Asset Management is an integral part of the organisation’s alignment, culture and way of thinking.
Asset Management integrates decisions and activities and embeds a system of continual improvement through a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach. It creates a clear ‘line of sight’ or alignment between organisational objectives and the delivery of work on the ground and is the only management system that puts the asset portfolio and its operation at the centre of activities. It also has an emphasis on the importance of risk-based decisions taken over the asset life cycle, and the critical role of information in supporting such decisions.
The directly measurable returns for Railway Infrastructure Organisations (hereafter referred to as Organisations) are long term and may be difficult to isolate from other improvement initiatives that may be taking place in the Organisation. However, a body of evidence on benefits is emerging from asset intensive organisations who have already adopted Asset Management as a core mechanism for business improvement. These benefits include:
- Improving train performance by focusing asset reliability initiatives on critical parts of the network, supported by information on the condition of assets and better understanding of the likelihood and consequence of failure over their lifecycle.
- Reducing costs by doing the right work in the right place at the right time, with interventions co-ordinated to achieve the optimum balance between maintenance, renewal and enhancement across the asset base.
- Providing customers and funders with informed choices based on scenarios that describe how the infrastructure will perform over the long term, under varying levels of expenditure, traffic growth, length of engineering possessions, and deployment of automation.
- Assuring that risks are being managed effectively, for example risks to safety from infrastructure failures, risks to train performance from the introduction of new technology, and risks from outsourcing infrastructure work.
- Making decisions more transparent, helping to build credibility with customers and stakeholders, including funders and regulators.