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PAS 55: The New Standard for Asset Management

Many relate "Asset Management" with 'more professional maintenance', or 'asset tracking', or simply a 'work management software' while for the financially attuned ones it means corporate mergers & acquisitions and Return on Capital Employed. In order to clear the air a bit and define what a physical asset management strategy needs to include the British Standards Institute published the PAS (Publicly Available Standard) 55 standard. PAS 55 encompasses a life cycle view of an asset which includes appropriate capital investments, operations, maintenance, risks, performance and sustainability. This standard is already being adopted by industry regulators as a checklist of good governance.

The PAS 55 standard is typically relevant for all asset-intensive industries. PAS 55 defines asset management as "systematic and coordinated activities and practices through which an organization optimally and sustainably manages its assets and asset systems, their associated performance, risks and expenditures over their lifecycles for the purpose of achieving its organizational strategic plan." By clarifying and defining what asset management is (and isn't), the specification allows organisations to develop good practices for the sustainable, long-term administration of their assets; thereby demonstrating that assets deliver the required level of performance of a service or product at an optimal cost.

The PAS 55 standard is independent of an asset distribution or asset ownership structure and is based on the concept of the PDCA cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act), meaning that measurable continual improvement is an integral part of the approach. This makes the PAS 55 standard an ideal complement to certified management systems that may already be in place such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and/or OHSAS 18001. Using the standard provides assurance to the organization and to its external stakeholders that physical infrastructure assets are managed in an optimal way as a result of an independent third-party audit.

The relevance of effective asset management is becoming more and more apparent in present times as asset risks appear more often on the boardroom agenda. Organizations are placing a clear emphasis on cost containment, price management, return on investment, and increased overall asset value. The bar is being raised by a worldwide interest in lean principles, asset management, and asset performance. Many sectors are seeing increased expectations from consumers about quality and service delivery as well as green initiatives. On top of this, there is an increased complexity of assets, tools, and equipment as assets become more interconnected, instrumented, and intelligent.

The PAS 55 standard can benefit companies not only from the regulatory point of view, but also to help them gain competitive advantage by ensuring that they are effectively managing their assets. Using this standard methodology for comprehensive asset management can drive cost savings and service improvement.

Aligning to PAS 55 standard enables an organization to truly manage assets across its lifecycle and align with company's overall strategy. PAS 55 also challenges and replaces the time based maintenance approach with a risk-based management approach. It positions the asset management specific accountability from the shop floor to top floor. In my next blog we will deep dive on the PAS 55 process and its key elements.

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