By Murray Erbs, Chair NAMS.AU
Asset management maturity is a great tool to help an organisation understand where it is on the asset management journey.
It helps those involved to understand their strengths and weaknesses and helps to define an improvement plan. I have always advocated starting the journey by undertaking a self-assessment using the characteristics outlined in the International Infrastructure Management Manual (IIMM)
. Later on, you may wish to have an external auditor review the organisation.
There are, however, a number of common traps for beginners when assessing asset management maturity.
1. Thinking that a poor maturity reflects on the asset management plan author
This is far from the case, as the maturity assessment is a whole-of-organisation result and is aimed to identify strengths and weaknesses for improvement.
2. Using the maturity assessment to compare between asset management plan classes – or even worse, between organisations
The purpose of asset management maturity is to benchmark and track progress. It has no purpose as a comparative statistic.
3. Setting target levels that are too ambitious
Advanced levels are appropriate for critical and expensive services; however, many asset classes need plans that at best are core or intermediate. The target needs to be a reflection of the criticality risk assessment. It costs to achieve an advanced level and the effort may be better utilised elsewhere.
4. Lack of understanding of maturity characteristics
An objective understanding of the characteristics allows the asset management plan process to remain on track.
5. Not including the broader organisation
To achieve a core or better characteristic score require buy in by many sections of the organisation including Financial, IT, Operations, Planning, Senior Management and Council. The broader organisation needs to have an understanding of their role and the appropriate level of maturity to which they should aspire.
6. Not getting started
It is a valuable process to at the start of the asset management journey to undertake separate assessments of the organisation and of each individual asset class asset management plan. This helps develop the conversation and lays the foundation for an effective improvement plan.
7. Thinking you are going to get there in one year
Asset management planning is a continual improvement, quality assurance-type process that needs annual review and update of the plan.
Good luck with the journey. Avoiding the common mistakes will lead to a productive and mature organisation providing effective services and gaining best value from its infrastructure.Want to learn more about asset management? Our internationally recognised Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning is running again in March 2018. Register now!About Murray Erbs
Murray Erbs is Chair of The IPWEA National Asset Management Strategy Committee (NAMS.AU), which provides national leadership and advocacy in the sustainable management of community infrastructure. Erbs holds an engineering degree from Swinburne Institute of Technology and post-degree qualifications from Deakin University and University of Southern Queensland.
He has worked at senior engineering and management roles in Redlands City Council, Moree Plains Shire Council, Severn Shire Council, Warren Shire Council, Shire of Heywood, and in the private sector with Rocla Concrete Pipes Ltd and The Monier Rocla Concrete Division.