Asset management: Failure analysis

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.

Finding a failure’s root cause

In reality, no matter how close an eye is kept on a facility’s assets, a failure is possible. Pipes leak, tanks pit and steel rusts. But the ability to pinpoint what went wrong, why and who’s responsible depends on thorough documentation.

Conducting a root cause analysis can pull in a number of involved parties, including contractors, subcontractors, risk assessment engineers, third-party inspectors and more in some cases. With potentially so many different versions of the same story going around, it’s important for facility managers to have a version they can rely on.

Having risk assessment numbers in front of you means starting with a leg up. And if you’re able to produce reports on the maintenance work done on an asset, along with the time spent and materials used, description of the work conducted and names and signatures of the party that approved the work, for every time the asset has been worked on, you’re that much closer to pinpointing relevant details for a root cause analysis.

So, in short, risk assessments and cost projections are useful tools for making smart, forward-looking decisions. But having a clear picture of what’s happened in the past can be just as important. The right tool for smarter asset management should not only anticipate upcoming maintenance needs, but also keep a faithful record of maintenance details for the purpose of proving that those needs haven’t been neglected.

For more on data-driven asset management and budgeting, download the guide to data-driven facility management.

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