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IMG_0006By Eric Luyer, Marketing Manager, Corporate Asset and Facilities Management IBM Software Group

Extending the life of aging infrastructures in your organization is a common goal for all asset owners, operators or service providers. Under the current economic conditions many companies are looking for ways to reduce cost and to manage assets in a much smarter way. In this context asset management is getting more and more attention, as companies leverage asset maintenance more and more across all phases of the asset life cycle. If we talk about the different phases of the asset life cycle, an important issue today is how to extend the assets’ life or how to manage your aging assets and still assure their quality and performance.

Generally you see in many industries that major installations or infrastructure are getting old with average usage between 25 and 30 years or more. Think about buildings, roads, bridges, machinery, etc. In order to meet the organization’s strategic objectives these aging assets must still comply with changing regulations, obsolescence, end-of-life of the installation or asset or even with the effects of an extended asset life.

Questions arise such as: do you know if these assets can be replaced, or how you can extend the asset life with let’s say another 10 or 15 years?

The issues around aging assets can differ by type of industry, but basically it has to do with:

  1. Extensive use, or more usage than originally planned
  2. No solid or structured maintenance and therefore more critical integrity on these assets
  3. Increased economic pressures
  4. Increasingly complex regulations from both governments and industry

I mentioned obsolescence: what I mean here is assets or equipment that are already out of production, not available anymore and where no spare parts can be delivered. Another element to mention here is that practically an asset has reached its “end-of-life” phase: it is old, increased frequency of failures and therefore maintenance will be more expensive than replacement. You also see that service possibilities are not possible anymore which often leads to unplanned replacements with long periods of a production stand-still with all costs related to that! Another important element to mention is the ending of contractual agreements.

To manage all those elements it is essential not to overlook the risks associated with each element in light of the current company goals and objectives. What’s being used then is a risk matrix where the different elements for a solid risk assessment include: the maintenance-concept as the basis, combined with input from production/usage, safety/reliability/performance/quality and health/safety/environment.

IBM’s software solutions provide a solid basis to capture all required data for a good assessment and well thought-through decision process. Moreover, IBM business partners can provide additional tools to optimize asset strategies using the data provided and to smarter manage your (physical) infrastructure.

Moving from a corrective maintenance strategy to a much more preventive maintenance strategy whereby asset modifications should be included – based on results of risk-based assessments – organizations can visualize, optimize and plan the final end-of-life of the current aging assets.

Using this information will help to avoid surprises and additional (unplanned) costs. With a solid well-thought use of all capabilities included in our solutions, you can achieve an effective use of asset maintenance management best-practices that makes sense for your assets and your organization.

You may have heard about PAS 55 or ISO 55000, as the new worldwide standard for asset management. If you combine the essentials of this standard with the issues around aging assets, you’ll find a structured way to overcome these challenges. For further information on PAS 55, I recommend you to look at the LinkedIn group on PAS-55 where you can follow interesting discussions around this topic.

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