The state of Asset Management in the Netherlands
The world of infrastructures for energy, transportation, water and communication is constantly changing. It is not only that the use is ever increasing, recent years have demonstrated that there is a move from the public domain to a more privatised setting. On the one side, customers become more critical and demand better quality and better service, whereas on the other side a need arises to limit the (public) costs of infrastructures. To cope with those conflicting demands many infrastructure organisations have introduced Asset Management, an integrated approach to balance costs, performance and risks. However, in discussions at the Asset Management Platform (a group of over 30 asset managers from all infrastructures in the Netherlands, established in 2007 by the Next Generation Infrastructures foundation) it appeared that many infrastructure asset managers had great difficulty in getting beyond the first promising step. As a first step in the formulation of a new research programme an interview round was conducted with a number of infrastructure asset managers to get a better feel for what the precise barriers and challenges were. In this paper the results of the interviews are presented. Key findings were that Asset management acquired a strong foothold, but that it was a bottom up process which did not reach the strategic level. There were still difficulties in convincing top management of the strategic value of asset management and in aligning organisational goals with technical and operational standards. Furthermore, it was recognized widely that asset management required a change in maintenance paradigms and that asset management should focus on life cycle costing. Nevertheless, asset management was generally considered to be an engineering discipline, even though lots of efforts were spent on creating support for the initiative. Some asset managers explicitly recognized the social and cultural issues and acted on this by training their asset managers in social skills like empathy and persuasiveness, however this was not common. Neither was the extensive use of asset performance models for decision support, as most asset managers preferred to rely on historical data. However, at the same moment, many asset managers reported problems in accessing those very historical data. Based on these results, a research programme was defined in which academics as well as practitioners will participate. The outlines of this programme will be introduced in the paper.
KeywordsPreventive Maintenance Asset Management Organizational Goal Asset Owner Strategic Level
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