A nightmare for any Corporate Real Estate or Facility Manager is a standstill in core business due to failure of assets. Combined with increasing legislation in maintenance and the urge to mitigate workplace related health and safety risks, an effective maintenance management process is a must-have for any organisation. When implemented well, it drives efficiency and cost reduction in maintenance planning, contracting and execution and delivers financial transparency across your buildings and assets.
Determine the relevance of your assets
Getting the basics in place for your maintenance management starts with building a structured repository of your assets. The important first step in this process is to determine what assets are relevant for your maintenance processes and how to group them. Aside from maintenance processes, you might need a structured asset registry for processes in other areas, such as finance (asset valuations and costs), housing (asset moves), services (asset reservations), compliance (asset documentation) or sustainability (asset footprints). In most cases, asset categories are related to the asset function in the organisation, building or environment. Production assets like machinery have a different purpose (producing products) compared to, for example, a heating installation (creating comfortable climate). Different asset categories also relate to different needs and processes. A production or business critical asset needs to be high performing with high continuity, so preventive maintenance is important, whereas less business critical assets are maintained in a less extensive mode or frequency.
Adopting standards for asset classification
Asset classification and grouping also lead to the need for information. For example, for technical ventilation or air conditioning (HVAC) assets, you need to know the technical and operating information such as the detailed specification, serial number, capacity, guarantee and maintenance instructions. However, for building fabric assets such as windows, you need to know size, material, colour and locks. In addition, with an IT asset like a laptop, you need to know its network IP address, processor, disk size and user. For Corporate Real Estate and Facility Management, many global and market specific standards are available that classify assets in logical categories and groups CEN, SfB or VDMA. Be aware that these standards might support only a part of the asset lifecycle (such as construction) and not suit the full asset lifecycle (including operations and replacements).
Adopting these standards helps to jump start the setup of your asset repository, but be mindful of three important do’s and don’ts:
- Ensure that the asset classification and grouping are clear and logical for the people that will use them, such as technicians or asset specialists.
- Do not detail more than is really needed and only register data that is relevant, data that you can capture, and data that you can manage over time, to avoid a ‘data cemetery’.
- Use a software solution to group, code, register and maintain your assets in a consistent way, and to get the information and process support you need.