PAS55 started connecting asset management practices and policies to the financial benefits that were achieved by complying with the standard. This line of sight approach resonate with most executives, however, acceptance of any asset management standard is not a given in the worldwide business community. Components of the standard that do not lead to direct benefits, will be slowly (if ever) adopt. Creating and maintaining this line of sight is pivotal. The line of sight isn’t only horizontal it is also bi-directional. Each asset intensive organization needs to implement their version of an asset management system. Compliance and conformance to standards form the structure and foundations for asset management. It is pivotally important to understand what such a system is, what it is comprised of and what the common characteristics are.
A system is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming relationships to others
that are different from the relationships of the components. Systems share common characteristics; structure, behavior and interconnectivity. Structure: components/elements and their composition. Behavior: inputs, processing and outputs of material, energy, information or data. Interconnectivity: the various parts of a system that have a functional, as well as a structural, relationships with each other.
The word system (synhistanai in Greek) means to put together in a context. So a system is an integrated whole whose essential properties arise from the relationship between its parts. The system’s properties arise from the interactions among the parts and are destroyed when the system is dissected, either physically or theoretically.
When a system is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole as a set of elements that have structure, behavior and interconnectivity, elements need to be structured to behave with certain connectivity.
For each true system to work, it has to address:
1. Intent (process)
Intention(s) can be depicted as business process flowchart(s). Processes are mostly created as integrated and decomposed sets down to the activity level. Processes often are cross-functional. These same processes then depict the connectivity across the interrelated (hence cross) functions.
2. Content (methods/means)
Content specifies how, when and who (function) has to operate within which processes. The content will cover the prime activities that functions are expected to perform. Content can be a procedure, a policy, or a standard operating procedure.
Content is not a set of isolated, disconnected material, but are connections vertically and horizontally. The content is live, current and interconnected dynamically.
3. Capability (being able to)
Knows how to use what there is as content and the determining what needs to be done can be done.
Capability is also the ability to prove that what is needed was actually done well.
All three factors must be dealt with systematic, concurrently and dynamically for any system. Systematic means well organized or arranged according to a set of plans and/or is grouped into systems. Conversely, systemic means something matters to the entire system and that belongs to, works together with, or can affect the entire body or system as a whole.
With an understanding on what a system is and the common characteristics of each system, we can look at how each organization deals with: what asset management is fundamentally? What deploying asset management must be targeted to achieve. How to measure and manage and the extent to achieve this? What the structure and content of their asset system needs to be and how to operate and maintain that system.
Crucial here is, understanding how asset behaves as a system and what it meant practically. Asset management must therefore lead to documented knowledge on topics as measurement of the effects of activities throughout processes. Therefore there is a need to decompose activities down through process and sub process (so errors and consequences can propagate or increase). Various tools support the checks and measurement of effects of activities within asset systems. These tools must prevent mismatches and conflicts between the physical subsystems and the business processes.