There is never a wrong time to start getting physical with your assets making sure that you know what you have, where it is and its condition. As well as its statutory and mandatory compliance.
Since the recession hit the UK market the investment in physical assets has significantly reduced. But also the monitoring of the same pieces of equipment. The potential risk of major failures has increased significantly due to the shelving of things like asset surveys.
Out of sight may leave things out of mind until something significantly fails. Several examples of equipment failures have brought about surveys in recent years. From a call centre that had no UPS system at all, to generators not switching on in power failure due to parts being removed for replacement several years earlier and not replaced.
These are failures more importantly in processes rather than the Assets themselves. The failure relating to the generator was down to a change of contract and no asset survey being undertaken for condition by the incoming FM company. The UPS system not being installed for a call centre was down to the company not ever carrying out a survey at all and this was an FM company themselves in their own building.
The value of physical asset surveys begins with receiving the data gathered. But prior to gathering that survey data you should be asking what do you want out of the survey to begin with. Did you just want a count of assets for an idea of what you have on site then filling in the gaps with onsite engineers? Do you want a survey where you know where and what every asset is as well as its lifecycle and compliance? although it all normally comes down to budget the reality is that you need to know at a minimum what assets you have then start building a picture from it.
Asset lists are the beginning of a contract, everything relies on that information from budgets to what skills are needed to who you need for the contract and how many. As well as which contractors are required to maintain specialist equipment. Without it you are running many risks from legionella to business failure risks.
Which is why its important to get physical with your assets and get your asset data not only up to date but build the processes to keep them up to date and educating staff on why its important. Designing entire processes for not only success but failure, an example of this was in a shadowing exercise with engineers I asked how they update the data in the asset register. They said they have been trying for years but it always gets kicked back and the wrong PPM’s are sent regularly. This is a failure and the problem with the engineers and their managers was the reliance on the call centre which was simply not updating the information because they didn’t have the authority to do so. Having a company champion responsible for the asset register they can become the central source of information but also the main point of contact when things aren’t working. This allows them to assess the situation and see how things can be adapted to make sure the asset register(s) are kept up to date.
Showing why its important to keep the information upto date is also extremely important. An example of this is regular failures of equipment. You could have a £200 motor that shuts down every week due to some internal fault. It is much cheaper to replace it than constantly having an engineer going to reset it. Simple things like this save contracts money but also allow data to show why the client should be replacing pieces of equipment due to lifecycle and also regular failures.