Asset management: Assessing risk

On a daily basis, facility owners face the daunting task of making sure all the materials, machinery and manpower in their facilities are functioning like they should. It’s a difficult job, and the reality is, things have a way of falling through the cracks.

In a series of three posts we’ll discuss three crucial aspects of facility management—assessing risks, budgeting for maintenance, and recordkeeping—and how they can all be enhanced (not to mention made simpler) by more empirical asset management.

Assessing risk

As an owner, how do you assess the risk each asset in your facility has of failing in some way? Is it with the faint understanding of which assets have undergone routine maintenance in the not-too-distant past? For some, assessing risk probably entails periodically rooting through a hard drive or file cabinet to dig up paperwork from the last maintenance technician who serviced the asset.

All these strategies could be considered rather blunt, given the precision computers are capable of providing and which are being used more regularly in industrial applications. Facility owners can now expect more precise, quantitative data from the tools they use. But what would quantifiable risk management look like?

Take protective coatings for instance. Imagine each asset is assigned a score. Storage tanks, coker units, piping, even structural steel receives a numerical score from a certified coatings inspector. These numbers—based on the coating system, the asset’s surface area, dry film thickness and ambient conditions—can be turned into a scale for objectively quantifying the condition of an asset to assist in decision making for the allocation of scarce maintenance budget dollars.

But objective condition scores aren’t enough on their own. They can help to tell when an asset’s in dire need of attention, sure. But good facility management doesn’t mean running around and putting out fires or spending all your time avoiding near-catastrophes. For efficient, forward-looking facility management, costs must be considered.

For more on staying on budget with effective cost projection tools, download the guide to data-driven facility management.

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