An effective asset management plan is essential for any organisation managing infrastructure assets.
The IPWEA Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning draws on the internationally-recognised International Infrastructure Management Manual (IIMM), to give participants a deeper practical understanding of asset management plans (AMPs).
Participants will be given the tools to develop their own draft AMPs using a combination of live and interactive webinars, how-to-videos, discussion forums, assignments, and hands-on use of IPWEA NAMS.PLUS tools and templates.
Anyone who has an interest in infrastructure asset management will benefit from the course. It is particularly targeted at those managing public infrastructure assets such as road and transport networks, water, sewer and drainage networks, parks and recreation facilities, community facilities and buildings and other community assets.
The course will be delivered in eight, 90-minute webinar modules, starting 1 March and wrapping-up 10 May.
Asset management mentoring and consulting organisation Jeff Roorda and Associates (JRA) will be facilitating the course. JRA Associate Steve Verity spoke to intouch about the features of an AMP and why it is such a vital tool for organisations.
What are some of the key elements of an AMP?
Verity says an effective AMP clearly communicates the quantum of timing and costs involved in the delivery of services.
“It should also consider changing demands and set a clear direction on improving identified deficiencies with demonstrated stakeholder engagement,” he says. “The approach to risk management and identification of critical assets is essential, as is the understanding of future drivers for change and their possible impacts.
“Clear statements on assumptions, reliability and confidence assessments are critical, including ongoing evaluation and monitoring of AM practices, ensuring the AMP offers the best possible support for decision makers.”
“The Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning explores different methods for data preparation and input, plus details the importance of service level analysis and reporting.”
What makes a quality AMP?
“A quality AMP is evidence based, easily prepared and updated regularly to inform decision making,” Verity explains. “It also communicates the forecast cost of service provision aligned with service level and risk outcomes on an annual basis, to align with budget preparation and performance reporting.
“In short, a good AMP will drive longer-term thinking and planning to ensure the organisation can operate in a financially sustainable manner.”
What are some of the barriers to creating a quality AMP?
Verity outlines some of the most common barriers to creating an AMP:
- A lack of understanding of what the customer values and their expectations. Organisations are at times limited by their capacity to communicate the costs and performance of their levels of service;
- Evidence suggests the use of unreliable inventory and financial data and forecasts as a barrier however data indicates this is improving; and
- Attracting and retaining skilled staff affects organisational capability and capacity to understand and implement best practice financial, asset and risk principles.
In addition, Verity believes the ongoing improvement of an AMP often requires a cultural change within organisations.
“The industry has the tools to assist practitioners – however, evidence suggests the culture of organisations needs to adjust to ensure not only a good plan is prepared but it is reviewed and updated on a regular basis and integrated with all other business processes,” he explains.
“The application of the ISO 55001 requirements, in particular the integration of people, processes and technology in the asset management ‘system’, can provide a successful approach to motivating effective asset management.”
What are some key, recent changes within the industry that AMPs need to reflect?
“There is an increasing focus on developing stronger planning approaches in most infrastructure service areas,” Verity says. “Recent government reform is targeting evidence-based performance reporting. This means the integration of the asset register and remaining life estimates with the financial strategy of the organisation must be clearly demonstrated and attainable.”
Social media platforms present organisations with additional opportunities to communicate service levels and engage with different demographics, Verity says.
“Enhanced community engagement techniques using social media and facilitated workshops can be combined with more traditional methods,” he explains. “This ensures all demographics are given the opportunity to have a ‘stronger say’, and can promote the message of infrastructure costs and risks and whether service provision is sustainable or not.”
Steve Verity is an associate with Jeff Roorda & Associates (JRA) who provide whole of organisation solutions for asset and financial management in the public sector.
Prior to joining the team at JRA in 2012, Steve, for 20 years was a local government engineer with management responsibilities for building, operating, maintaining and replacing civil infrastructure assets the council of the day was responsible for.
Steve has a strong appreciation of the importance of applying robust planning and risk management frameworks to ensure the necessary funds are available to deliver the projects and programs at an agreed service level. Steve is a fellow member of IPWEA and his work now involves training and facilitating financial and asset management improvement initiatives to the public sector in both ‘face to face’ and live webinar formats.