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Best practices for defining Asset Register

During last couple of weeks, I had some discussions with few of my colleagues from our Utility practice. The reason for discussion was an Asset Management consulting assignment where these folks were helping a utility company to define asset management strategies for them.

This client of ours does not have a centralized asset centric repository and information is scattered in multiple applications - leading to substandard processes, data duplication and inconsistent data - to name few of the problems.  So, this team's focus is to suggest best practices for Asset Management which may ultimately lead to selecting an enterprise package for managing their assets.

The current task on hand is to suggest best practices for developing an Asset Register. So, this morning, when one of these team members called me to take my inputs on this, I decided to recall all my experience from various clients and have a list of best practices which I have generally seen clients following with respect to defining Asset Registers:

• Identify all assets - Many of the assets are hidden within the plants. Nobody knows about them. You should get all of those assets listed.

• Associate type, criticality, classification and attributes for each asset - Another important aspects here is to not to go over-board in defining attributes. Have only those attributes which you feel are important for managing your maintenance work, otherwise identifying assets based on attribute would become a difficult task. There should be a fine balance between data granularity & actual requirements.

• Build spare parts list (bill of material) for each asset - This will help in identifying the actual problem in case of breakdowns and also in maintaining inventory levels.

• Assign owners for each asset - This is very important as by having an owner you can have clear responsibilities identified for use and maintain.

• Define a failure hierarchy and associate with each asset for Root-Cause-Analysis - Again, do not go overboard here. Define only those failures which you really want to measure. A long list of failure codes would lead to suboptimal use.

• Associate warranty details with asset to get warranty benefits - This may always not be available due to old assets.

• Use intelligent numbering, wherever possible, so that Asset ID can give some sense about asset. For example, for fixed assets, you may want to have their location code embedded into the asset code.

And finally, review your asset data at-least once a year for any errors and changes.

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