What to consider when managing assets, through the eyes of an asset integrity specialist - Club of Engineers

What to consider when managing assets, through the eyes of an asset integrity specialist

Published 21 May, 2021

The location of the asset

The grouping of data into a register that could be called an Asset Register should lead to not just identifying the type, size, and quantity of some specific assets but to determining where is the asset located within the organization.

The location of the asset should tell who owns the asset, in which department the asset is used and where exactly or which system uses the asset. A unique identification code should be attributed to an asset and it should be traceable in any of the organization administrative systems such as an Enterprise Resource Planning.

The Asset’s History

The Asset should always be linked to its history regardless of where it is moved within the installation. Management will easily take informed decision knowing the performance of each asset if some brands or models are not performing well.

The management of an asset is as important as the asset itself. The importance of the asset is not derived from the monetary value of it but by the value added to an enterprise or a system where it is installed or simply the purpose for which it has been purchased.

ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE OF ASSETS

If a company was a library, the managing director being the librarian would know how many type of books he owns (history, fiction, biography, science, etc.), which side of the library has got the shelves for mathematics or literature books, what titles are on high demand, which books have been reported lost etc., hence Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentine writer born in the 19th century once said “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of a Library”. Without such an organizational structure, Libraries as we know them would not have survived to this day. Jorge alluded to the fact that a library is not just a room filled with books but the identification, the structure allowing quick searches, and management of the distribution of books are as crucial as the books themselves.

Assets Within a Plant

The importance of organizing and managing assets is not just limited to some industries or a library. Within an LPG plant, for instance, the manager of the plant would need to know, how many pressure gauges (PG) he has got in the plant, when is the next calibration date of the gauges, what is the pressure range for each of the PG, where are the liquid-filled PG installed, how many are glycerin or silicon or halogen filled, why the choice of liquid filled or not etc.

Ofcourse, an LPG plant is not just made up of a set of pressure gauges, there are a variety of mechanical, electrical, instrumentation systems as well as equipment, civils, and structural buildings.

Classicification of Assets

It is quite clear that a good management of Assets should start by the identification of every single asset within the organization. Assets can be current, or non-current, tangible, or non-tangible and they will have to be grouped per category, classification as per company policy.

Furthermore, for cases of Tangible Assets, each asset has got its own life expectancy as prescribed by the Original Equipment Manufacturer and some of the assets will be critical and others won’t. It will be important for management to determine which assets are critical and why they are critical. A failure of some of the critical assets can have an adverse effect either on business or on operations or even on the safety within the plant. Analysis should be made to determine the group of critical assets and their impact in case of failure. As an example, most if not all plants across the industry are equipped with a backup generator while by default a step-down transformer is installed. This is to prevent the impact of a failure of a step-down transformer should there be an incident of load-shedding to the plant.

Managing assets can get complicated and there is a lot to consider, but it is important work to ensure the longevity of any operation. Here is to ensuring that the asset library is organized! 

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meet the author

With a deep passion for Engineering, Paul has +13 years of experience in various positions and industries. He has worked as an HVACR Consultant Engineer for Ekcon Engineers & Project Managers, an assistant Project Manager for an International Shipbuilding company, Damen. He founded and managed the HSEQ department performing duties in conjunction with Classifications Societies like Bureau Veritas, Lloyds Register, Det Norske Veritas, Intertek etc., whilst at Damen.  Paul has fulfilled commissioning Manager roles for both Intertek and their involvement in VTTI’s construction of an Oil Terminal in Cape Town as well as Marquard & Bahls’ Oiltanking terminal project in Mozambique.

Being equipped with a double Bachelor Degree, Paul is an Engineer and a Project Manager with a passion for change management and asset management (Strategic analysis, Finances, Budgeting etc.). A team builder, with strong interpersonal skills and an asset to the Club of Engineers’ member network.

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