MRO Magazine

Are you ready for ISO 55000?

By By Cliff Williams   

Human Resources Machinery and Equipment Maintenance

2014 will see the unleashing of the ISO 55000 suite of asset management systems on the world. What will that mean to you? For you to understand a little better what the answer may be, perhaps we should first look at where this standard...

2014 will see the unleashing of the ISO 55000 suite of asset management systems on the world. What will that mean to you? For you to understand a little better what the answer may be, perhaps we should first look at where this standard came from.

In the late 1990s early 2000s, there were problems with the utilities infrastructure in the United Kingdom. People were having to do without water or hydro, and there were accidents on the railways – there was a problem!

Many of these industries had been recently privatized and there was concern that the companies that had taken on the responsibility of running them did not fully understand the implications of managing such large assets.

This ultimately led to the issue of Publicly Accessible Specification number 55 or PAS55 back in 2004. It was issued by the Institute for Asset Management and the British Standards Institution, and was followed by a revision in 2008. This led to the realization that there was no real international standard for asset management and so the idea of ISO 55000 was formulated through the International Standards Organization.


It has taken until 2014 for this work to come to fruition, with 27 countries participating and a further 10 playing the role of observers.

The standard, which is being published in 2014, is made up of three parts:

1) ISO 55000:2014 Asset management: Overview, principles and terminology

2) ISO 55001:2014 Asset management: Management systems – Requirements

3) ISO 55002:2014 Asset management: Management systems – Guidelines for the application of ISO 55001.

It should be made clear that this is not an asset management standard and even though it does contain far more prescriptive language than most ISO standards, it really is like a standard for the systems you may use.

For those of us who have been involved in maintenance and reliability, we may be surprised that we only fulfil one of the functions required by this system – we operate in the useful life section of the system. What has changed is that our role will have influence on the other functions within the system.

Before we go much further, I think it would be wise to understand the definitions of ‘asset’ and ‘asset management’ as per ISO 55000.

An ‘asset’ is something that has potential or actual value to an organization and so you see that it will include more than the equipment we typically look after.

‘Asset management’ involves the coordinated activities to realize value from the assets – so it’s not simply just managing assets.

The first step of the new asset management is understanding the stakeholder/regulator/customer/market requirements of your organization – today and in the future. From there, an Organizational Strategic Plan must be developed, taking into consideration the input from the aforementioned. This will drive Asset Management Strategy and Planning and arrive at Asset Management Objectives that will include the level of service and desired outcomes that are required.

During this stage, a review of possible future demands, current capabilities, current state of assets and availability, or method of raising funds to replace or expand the assets, will need to be carried out. Even though maintenance and reliability professionals may not be included at this stage, their input as far as the current state of assets should be requested.

We then move to an actual Asset Management Plan, which details the activities that the organization will need to accomplish so that it may meet the objectives and maintain the level of service required. The Plan may include operational and maintenance regimes, along with information on the current assets and their performance. It may include how funds will be realized to expand the asset portfolio or to renew older assets. There may also be training or education plans if they are deemed to be necessary to achieve or maintain the level of service.

In fact, the Asset Management Plan is an ‘interrelated set of activities or interacting elements to establish the Asset Management Policy, the Asset Management Objectives and the processes to achieve those objectives’.

Running parallel to this flow is one that ensures that the necessary support or enabling functions for achieving the Asset Management Strategy are in place. These functions will include the Asset Information, which will describe what data will be required to make the most informed decisions on the optimal Asset Maintenance Strategy, or the renewal or retirement of assets. This will include location, current condition, likelihood and impact of failure, regulatory requirements and impact on the overall performance. 

The Asset Knowledge side will identify the level of knowledge required for the above categories to ensure that the accuracy and relevance of the information is maintained. The Asset Information Systems are typically the software or systems that you will use to store, classify and analyze the information. For maintenance and reliability types, this would take the form of a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), whether it be a part of a bigger Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system or a stand-alone setup. The information – or at least the analysis – must be easily communicable to any other systems included in this process (purchasing, logistics, production planning, etc.) During this portion of the process, we would also ensure that any training, competency level, resource requirements, etc., are clearly identified and documented.

Once all of these things are in place, then it’s back to business as normal for us maintenance and reliability types – well, almost normal. The same strategies for maintaining equipment are used, planning and scheduling are still important, having the right parts at the right time is still necessary. But what has changed is the context in which we think of these things.

Let’s remember the definition of an asset – an ‘asset is something that has potential or actual value to an organization’. And so we have to think in the context of what value do these actions bring to the organization.

Many times we see that equipment is maintained way beyond its intended life; that’s a success story right? But what if we could actually replace this piece of equipment with a new, more energy-efficient model, one that produces 50% more product and one that will cost far less to maintain – life-cycle wise – because of improvements? Do the actions actually provide value?

This is a new part of asset management – the decision-making around the optimal time to replace, renew or dispose of assets.

The review of performance, complications or constraints that develop during the ‘useful life’ portion of the system form a continuous feedback loop back to the starting point – the Organizational Strategy – which in turn modifies, changes or encourages the system all over again.

So will ISO 55000 tell you how to do all of this? No, but it will describe what your management system should contain for you to be ISO 55000-certified. 

So that begs the question – who would want to be certified? 

• There will be those who will be regulated (it’s expected the utilities, etc., in the UK will be and there is movement to take it to US Congress as a best practice for OSHA, EPA, etc.).

• There will be those who want to receive lower insurance premiums for being certified – some insurers have already hinted this will happen.

• There are those who, just like the early days of ISO 9000, just want to fly the flag.

• Then there are those who will be required to by their customers – you may not see big oil and gas certified, but you probably will see it in their carriers – the pipelines, railways, etc.

• Last of all, you will see the smart ones certified – those that see value in asset management as an operating principle and who have chosen to certify with ISO 55000 as a demonstration of their commitment.

To sum up ISO 55000, I’ll use its four fundamentals

• Value – Assets exist to provide value to the organization and its stakeholders.

• Alignment – Asset management translates the organizational objectives into technical and financial decisions, plans and activities.

• L eadership – Leadership and workplace culture are determinants of the realization of value.

• Assurance – Asset management assures that assets will fulfil their required purpose.  

Cliff Williams is an author, speaker and avid follower of all things maintenance, and in his spare time is corporate maintenance manager at ERCO Worldwide in Toronto. If you’d like to discuss asset management or ISO 55000, drop Cliff at note at


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