The Noggin Blog

The Unexpected Safety Benefits of Asset Management Best Practices

Posted by The Brain on Jan 16, 2020 7:08:51 AM


Implementing asset management principles enables PCBUs (Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking) to quickly realize new value from existing assets. But those same principles also yield unexpected benefits for Safety programs, as well. Not sure what they are, or how to accrue them?

Much has been written about the siloing of asset/property management operations, especially in high asset portfolio based industries such as utilities, aviation,  universities, transport and government departments like schools, defence, and housing. Turns out that there’s an upside to beefing up asset management from such a low baseline. What is it? Well, according to experts, firms that implement asset management strategies report logging quick wins simply from the “improved knowledge of their [existing] assets.”

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Sure, those benefits aren’t necessarily monetary – monetary benefits often come later. But they’re impressive, nonetheless. More importantly, asset management best practices yield impressive dividends for Safety teams, too.

You see, even rudimentary asset management interventions bring visibility and predictability. At a high level, what happens is information gets captured in a single source of truth, then disseminated to the right people who can make better, more informed decisions on how assets will perform in the future, based on a solid knowledge of how assets are performing today. Sound familiar?

This improved information management matters for Safety operations. Assets interface with workers, contractors, and customers. Bringing predictability to their future performance serves to reduce the likelihood of safety incidents.

The data is clear. And the case studies are compelling, especially from the transportation sector, where asset safety is a major concern. After all, accidents on the road result in substantial property damage, fatalities, injuries, and economic loss.

Further, financial accountability is a paramount consideration for taxpayer-funded transportation agencies that routinely need to do more with less. Hence, strategic asset management helps those agencies carefully allocate scarce resources, while optimizing the safety of road users.

But providing well-designed, safety elements isn’t just a priority for the transportation industry. Indeed, PCBUs in other sectors have much to learn from the unexpected safety benefits of implementing asset management principles. Those benefits include the following

  • Improved resource allocation and collaboration. Asset management, or the systematic approach to the governance and realization of value from the things that an organization or entity is responsible for, helps teams use data to rationally identify priorities for resource expenditures over the course of an asset’s life cycle, i.e. purchase, maintenance, and repair. For Safety teams, those priorities will often focus on relevant risk. Not to mention, the data supporting relevant risk, cost, and performance-trade offs (i.e. priorities) will help teams make their case to senior stakeholders. What follows: improved collaboration between property/facilities managers and health & Safety reps that improves best practices and ongoing business process improvement, while mitigating exposure to risks and helping PCBUs maintain their obligations.
  • Simplified cost estimating and budget processing. Asset management systems – or even safety management systems with strong asset management functionality – facilitate cost tracking. In turn, cost tracking supports the preparation of detailed cost estimates and budgets, important for cost-sensitive Safety teams hoping to show an accurate ROI.
  • Cost savings. Better information not only provides more accurate cost data, but it also enables timely decision making, via complete data access. Indeed, a key asset management principle, centralizing information into a single-source inventory that can be shared in real time and updated continually, can expedite data access. That efficiency improvement alone can help reduce the acquisition, maintenance, upgrade, and replacement (full lifecycle) costs of safety assets.
  • What’s more, making information readily available via a single source of truth, cuts down on the duplication of effort, while also improving data clarity and consistency.
  • Faster safety incident response. Of course, quicker, easier access to safety-asset data, an oft-cited pain point, speeds up the response to customer (and other stakeholder) service requests.

And these benefits only scratch the surface. Like in Safety, reactive asset management strategies, i.e. simply responding to calls for maintenance or repair, tend to be counterproductive over the long run, sometimes even the middle run.

Instead, comprehensive safety often comes from replacing or updating elements before they fail. That’s where asset management principles really shine. To learn more about the precise asset management best practices that can bolster your safety efforts, download our guide to ISO 55001, which tells you everything you need to know about the international asset management standard.

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Topics: Safety Management, Safety Newsletter

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