ISO 55000 five years on

By intouch posted 07-02-2019 09:45


This year marks half a decade since the ISO 55000 suite of asset management standards were released.

road-under-reconstruction-185579788_1254x837.jpegWe spoke to Peter Way PSM, who plays a key role in the ongoing development of the standard as the IPWEA representative on the Standards Australia Mirror Committee, about the impact ISO 55000 has had on the industry.

intouch: How has the industry responded to the release of the ISO 55000 suite?

Way: There was quite strong interest across varying sectors. Many were – and still are – keen to look at using the standards to help them continuously improve the way in which they perform their asset management obligations.

Aspects of the standards such as the requirements for a stronger commitment by top management are seen as positives.

A lot of organisations are wary about going down the certification path due to costs involved in auditing but many see benefits in at least aligning to the standards with the option then to pursue certification later if considered beneficial, or if it becomes mandated that they have to.

In local government, many have adopted that alignment approach with only a small number looking to move to getting certified. In the more regulated sectors such as water businesses, the regulators are requiring some to adopt the standards and get certified. State governments are all moving to develop various asset management frameworks based on the standards, but again are not looking to mandate compliance. 

intouch: Has the release of the standards helped raise asset management’s profile?

Way: Most definitely. It has been a very welcome driver to highlight the benefit of following a management systems approach and getting top management to buy-in to the recognition of just how important the management of the assets are, in terms of value they provide to organisations and their stakeholders. I should highlight that the Technical Committee overseeing the ISO 55000 suite of standards has also just achieved approval to publish the new revised ISO 55002 on guidelines for the application of ISO 55001. This should be available through SAI Global in the coming months.

It is evident by the number of conferences, workshops, training and resources being committed to asset management improvement now that the standards have been very instrumental in raising awareness. 

intouch: What have some of the biggest hurdles been in adoption of the standards?

Way: Typical hurdles include a lack of adequately trained people and turnover of staff in many asset intensive organisations. Too often, good progress is made but then some key staff depart and the impetus is lost. Also, there is still a lack of awareness at top management levels and amongst elected officials, in many cases, as to the importance of asset management. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is currently working on a further standard to promote governments adopting asset management policies to help in that regard. Other drawbacks include the age old problem of poor data. I also think that many saw costs and an overload of paperwork in ISO standards, such as ISO 9000 for quality management, and are a bit circumspect about adopting another management system standard. However, the good thing is that ISO has harmonised all these management system standards, so there is no need to have unnecessary duplication. 

intouch: What is the intention of ISO 55010 technical specification, and what difference do you think it will make to asset managers?

Way: This new technical specification is all about guidance to get the financial and non-financial functions in asset management aligned and working together with a common understanding of the terminology. Too often we have seen organisations stumble because the necessary expenditure for things like renewal of assets and optimal maintenance practices have been denied by lack of finance. In many cases, that arises because of a lack of communication and collaboration between the professionals involved in the different functional areas. ISO 55010 aims to break down the silos and get all the functions working together to meet the asset management objectives as established under the strategic asset management planning phase.

That requires a better understanding by each profession of what their counterparts are required to do and helping each other meet those objectives. This will provide benefits to all managers involved – not just the asset managers. Good progress has been made on developing this Technical Specification and we are expecting it to be published around the middle of 2019.



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