ISO 55000 is Good for Business

ISO 55000-55002 is called the asset management package.  It is a roadmap for how to set and maintain an equipment reliability program.  When equipment is reliable, production is more stable and costs can be managed more accurately.  Therefore, the 55000 standard is good for business.  A reliable operation provides the stability for innovation or for profit taking.  It provides business with the option to execute their strategy.  People are in charge.  In an unreliable operation, the equipment is in charge, because all the people are reacting to the availability (or lack thereof) of the equipment.

First, what is ISO.  It is the organization for international standards for products and services.  Many people think of the one or two standards they are familiar with, but as of today:

ISO has published 22,195 International Standards and related documents, covering almost every industry, from technology, to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare. ISO International Standards impact everyone, everywhere.

In other words, ISO is big and broad reaching.  And who doesn’t love a story that anecdotally begins with a horse butt?  The story, which is at least partially true, goes that the width of modern railroads are standardized on the old Roman roads.  Since the Romans’ main mode of long distance transport was horse, the road tracks are spaced at about the width of two horses.  Therefore, one of the first standards was based upon horse width, or as the driver sees, the horses’ behinds.Horse ButtThe Asset Management package, ISO 55000 series, was published in 2014.  It arrived without much fanfare, and even today, I can tell how hardcore into reliability someone is, by their familiarity with the standard.  That should not be the case, every maintenance and reliability manager should be familiar with the package, and own at least some version of it.

The most common phrases I hear about why an organization does not have a working reliability program are

  1. We don’t know where to start.
    • The organization is in such a reactive mode that they don’t know how to prioritize forward thinking reliability work – the equipment is in charge.
    • Those charged with reliability leadership don’t have the skills to create a reliability roadmap.  They have no formal training, and their OJT training has been focused on fixing and maintaining, rather than reliability strategy.
  2. We can’t get management support for a program.
    • Those charged with reliability leadership do not understand how to ‘sell’ reliability.  They don’t have the background to put together an ROI for the reliability roadmap.
    • Management thinks maintenance, not reliability, and does not view it as a competitive advantage.
    • Organizational mind set needs to be :
      • Reliability is not a cost to be cut.
      • Reliability is a continuous improvement program to invest in.

The ISO 55000 series addresses the roadmap and can be used as leverage to help convince management of the necessity for reliability.  The standard does not address ROI or funding questions.  Engage experts to nail down the financial rewards of a reliability program.

The standards are

  • ISO 55000:2014 Asset management — Overview, principles and terminology
  • ISO 55001:2014 Asset management — Management systems — Requirements
  • ISO 55002:2014 Asset management — Management systems — Guidelines for the application of ISO 55001

They layout a roadmap for reliability.  They are well organized and written in pretty easy to understand language.   They even include handy diagrams and relationship charts.  The standard starts with asset management.  What are your assets, then how do you put together a program to manage their health and life cycle.  It includes self assessing and a process for sustainability in the reliability program.

Start small to get “wins”, but use the package to build both your overall strategy, as well as your tactical execution program.  Now you know where and how to start.  Problem 1 – Solved.

The package can be used in conjunction with the financial estimates to gain management support.  By showing that you are following a standard, and that your ideas are well rooted in solid business practices all over the world, you can convince the conservative leader.  Show them that you are not trying something new, but catching up to your competitors.  For the leaders that like to push the envelop, show them how the standard is a jumping off point.  You are one of the first in your industry to adopt and conquer this standard.  After all, have they heard ISO 55000 talk around the c-suite water cooler?  Convince them they are an innovator by backing this program.  Problem 2 – Solved.

Some who were involved in the ISO9000 quality series implementation of the 1990s may see following ISO standards as a huge money drain with little results.  If that is true, they embraced the idea of being certified, but not the ideals of the actual standard.  It is true that the certification companies were/are expensive, and that you could have a quality program, but not a quality product.  But you had to work pretty hard at cheating the system to not wind up with a good quality system.  The problem often came that overly complicated internal systems were developed rather than tweaking current processes to met the standard.   The standard set up a good system of checks and balances, as well as the roadmap for success.  The 55000 standards set up that same type of system, and expressly encourages internal validation.

Setting up a quality system, a reliability system, or any other business process to comply to ISO standards, should not mean creating new processes from scratch.  Rather they should build on your current processes and strengths to meet the standard.  You know how to run your business, use the standard to ensure that processes are actually process based, not people based.  They ensure standardization.

A properly executed and maintained ISO5000 series compliant reliability program does yield a reliability operation at the optimum cost.  Depending on the current maturity of the organization’s reliability program and the available resources, it may take a year or it may take 10 years to see these rewards.  However, since the asset management program is good for business, and its bottom line, I highly recommend spending the resources to become compliant in the 1-2 year range, rather than stretch it out over several years.  The more involved the organization’s commitment to reliability, the faster and deeper the rewards.

It is not easy to transform a business, and there are investment costs to doing so.  The ISO standards will not help you with the dedication and perseverance you need to implement reliability.  But they do provide a high level roadmap, and the assurance that you are working with a standard.  Following that standard properly will result in a reliable operation.

ISO 55000 series asset management standards are good for business.

 

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