Rising to the ISO 55001 standard

Published:  24 February, 2014

Babcock and Scottish Water are the first two companies to be independently assessed by BSI and achieve certification to the new Asset Management Systems standard, ISO 55001. The standard is based on the popular PAS 55 Asset Management specifications sponsored by the Institute of Asset Management. PWE reports.

The standard, which relates to a management system for physical and other organisational assets, enables organisations to achieve their wider business objectives through the effective and efficient management of their assets. It helps develop an asset management strategy that focuses on getting the maximum use and return from an asset while potentially lowering the overall cost of ownership or management.

The new standard will particularly benefit businesses, which own or manage large numbers of assets where performance depends on asset condition. Some key benefits include optimised return on investment and/or growth, long-term planning, the ability to demonstrate best value for money within constrained budgets and improved risk management and corporate governance.

ISO 55001 defines the requirements for an integrated, effective management system for assets; in much the same way as ISO 9001 specifies the essential features of a quality management system. In view of the potential benefits to one of its businesses for the management of UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) assets over the whole life cycle, Babcock took a key decision to improve their service offering by meeting the requirements of ISO 55001.

The Infrastructure business unit at Babcock pioneered the standard at two military air bases where it manages assets for the MoD, and found that ISO 55001 has brought greater discipline to how it manages assets, particularly in the area of risk management, while certification provides objective evidence of best management system practice in this area.

John Rowe, quality manager at Babcock, said: “We maintain around £40bn of physical assets worldwide – either our own or our customers’ – so it’s a huge undertaking. We always believed we were very good managers of assets but in order to become even better asset managers we felt we needed to conform to a recognised standard and then work to it. We can now say we follow a management system that has been independently certified. This approach is more credible to both existing customers and also new prospects. It shows clients that we’re very serious about becoming exemplars in asset management and supports the growth strategy for our business.”

Scottish Water sees ISO 55001 as a mark of assurance for its regulators, customers and stakeholders, by helping the company to be efficient, releasing money for further infrastructure improvements and keeping average household bills in Scotland low.

The company is required to manage a vast array of physical assets including 29,000 miles of water mains, 31,000 miles of sewers, 280 water treatment works, and 1800 wastewater treatment works. Therefore a major focus of their strategy is investment, maintenance, operation and decommissioning of its infrastructure. Implementation of the standard has already prompted more proactive maintenance of assets such as water treatment plants and water mains, and this should ultimately lead to fewer failures, less wastage from leaks, and an improved service.

Colin Duguid, deputy quality manager at Scottish Water, said that achieving certification has been a key aspiration for Scottish Water: “ISO 55001 enables us to demonstrate to customers and regulators that we’ve achieved a high degree of professionalism in the use of our assets across Scotland to produce high quality drinking water and remove waste water safely and efficiently.”

Maureen Sumner Smith, UK managing director at BSI, commented: “Babcock and Scottish Water should be proud of their achievement in being the first to achieve certification by BSI to ISO 55001. They can now demonstrate they have a well-structured and robust approach to managing their assets, giving reassurance to existing customers and confidence to prospective ones. By obtaining this certificate they can show a clear commitment to best practice and continual improvement in this core business function.”

As well as offering certification, BSI can also independently verify data for an organisation as a result of their asset management system, such as utilisation performance and improvement or lifecycle costs and reductions. The benefits of doing so include:

• Assurance to key stakeholders that data is accurate.

• Demonstrating consistency and transparency in reporting procedures.

• Gaining greater credibility with third party verification.

For further information please visit: www.bsigroup.com

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