Monthly Archives: November 2014

What information can you get from an asset list?

An asset list isn’t just about a list of equipment or properties, the asset list itself offers up a lot more use depending how you use the data. I for one have seen it getting used in many ways but also I do believe there is a misunderstanding within the FM industry of the value of asset data.

Bidding on contract –

With an up to date asset list you can actually use it to bid on contracts. But also if you have the maintenance regime that went with it you can also identify where you can generate cost savings and where the contract has risk. You can identify risk in several key areas, risk of loss of life, financial risk to FM company and financial risk to client.

But further more having historic data you can get an idea of hours, number of engineers, problematic equipment and if an initial asset sample is taken identification of assets missing which should be identified and removed from bid cost.

Staff Numbers –

If you know what assets you have you can identify the maintenance regimes required and thus generate the hours needed. The output from that being an accurate estimate of staffing levels to meet contract obligations. If there is historical asset data relating to helpdesk calls you can generate an estimated out of hours figure from the old data but also what assets are generally the problem on the contract and if they are actually on the asset list.

Monthly targets –

For maintenance with all asset captured you can generate your maintenance regime and break it down into monthly maintenance patterns. Using the data you can generate targets for the month from the 1st allowing your maintenance staff to carry out pre-programmed tasks and timescales. This also identifies if there are certain periods with excessive maintenance and as such adjustments can be made to allow balancing of maintenance throughout the year to make sure all targets are met.

Statutory and Mandatory obligations –

As the maintenance is carried out with specific maintenance regimes inline with SFG20 this allows for updating of changes inline with requirements. E.g. Fan Coil Units may have a legislative maintenance regime change or requirements. But having the Asset data and maintenance regime running through a CAFM system (Computer Aided Facilities Management) if you update one you can update all with the changes. If this is managed externally the company providing the CAFM support would update all contracts that it handles (if written into contract).

Downsizing or increasing maintenance –

Environments can change maintenance regimes significantly. E.g. working in the desert means condensers need extra maintenance due to fine sand getting into bearings. But at the same time if you have an occassional use office you may find most assets in that office could be downgraded to bare minimum. Identifying your assets individually allows you to adjust the maintenance per item. But also with the condensers in the desert you could group the assets by parent and child to carry out more maintenance.

Running reports –

There are many processes that can become fully automated once time is invested in understanding what you can get out of the asset data. For example you could run a monthly report on compliance, energy usage, equipment coming to end of life, upgrades, environmental and energy impact as well as recommended changes due to phasing out obsolete with new technologies.

Forward programming of budgets –

Understanding assets allows for forward programming of changes, upgrades, phasing out and new equipment. Not only for this year but the ability to program for the next 20 years even. Also the replacement savings tied with it for possible increased budget ability. E.g. showing lighting upgrades in year one would have an increased energy saving. The money saved by the upgrade could assist in supporting upgrading more lighting throughout a building or contract. In the same way adding things like power invertors, although there is an initial cost its the ability to show a saving over months, a year and years that supports requesting the upgrading. But also gaining the upgrade work adds value to the contract and increased opportunity both financially and with client relationships.

This list may seem fairly extensive but the fact is there are many more things you can do with asset data. The FM industry needs to embrace more what can be achieved but also working with asset integrity specialists you can also aim to ask questions that have not yet been asked or actioned within your contracts. As the more asset management comes into its own the more you will find it can assist in your daily tasks to improve your efficiencies. As well as automate many tasks that are currently time consuming.

Is maintenance a false economy?

I remember years ago being at a furniture making factory that when I explained maintenance I was told it was a false economy and it was cheaper to replace equipment. A simple shrug of my shoulders and I left it at that.

Wasn’t a case of me not wanting to argue my point but simply there was no point arguing with people who’s minds were already made up. But I remember that summer when the owner of the factory was away and a spindle moulder broke. His assistant (can’t call him a deputy manager as he was more of a sales clerk) requested we fix it. At which point I explained it was a pointless exercise as several parts had shattered due to no maintenance being carried out. Basic maintenance in fact where things simply needed oiled and greased to keep them in running condition. As the assistant lacked the authority to buy a new machine or order the parts needed to replace the damaged ones the factory swiftly ground to a halt for 2 weeks. He also didn’t want to call the owner to disturb him on his holiday so here we were watching the production line stack to the ceiling in front of the spindle moulder. As every piece of furniture needed this part and every item couldn’t leave the factory until the spindle moulder had completed its tasks.

Who was right or wrong in maintenance? Answer is its ok running to fail but the expectation of replacement needs to be immediate not “what do we do now?”. But also the calculation of cost should not be based on a machine but on its financial impact on the business. In this case I would estimate at around £50,000 on orders that didn’t get completed and didn’t leave the factory. This also has a longer impact as customers didn’t get furniture on time and thus its negative impact could be as much as twenty five times that of one negative customer. E.g. one unhappy customer tells twenty five other people either directly or by third hand. An uncountable amount of damage for a machine costing less than £1,000. But even more so when you consider grease,oil and a monthly check on all mechanical equipment would have identified worn parts as well as extended the life of equipment.

Was there any point arguing the point of maintenance now after the company had seen the cost of not maintaining equipment? Answer was no but simply offering to implement a maintenance regime that did the basics at least. This way they didn’t lose face and I didn’t go “I told you so”. As there is no winner in this or many of the scenario’s that occur due to poor or no maintenance. The loser is always everyone be it financial, jobs or risk to life.

The key to it all though is working together and as part of an asset integrity team its where I and others specialise. Not because we have all the answers but simply we have the answers relevant to our skills to keep things running in an efficient and safe manner that is also legally compliant. Meeting both statutory and mandatory guidelines.