ISO 55000, IIoT, and EAM: Solving the Asset Management Puzzle


Harnessing the power of physical assets

After human assets, physical assets are a company’s most important resource. They have a significant impact on service delivery, business objectives, and the bottom line. Manage them poorly and the whole business suffers. Manage them well and they become a cornerstone of value creation.

Yet many organizations take their physical assets for granted. They are content to simply “maintain” their assets instead of leveraging their capacity to deliver business value. This represents not just lost potential but poor stewardship of stakeholder interests.

Effective and efficient asset management can transform your business. Just ask our client in the oil and gas industry who increased equipment availability by 3 percent and saved millions of dollars on insurance premiums. Or one of our food manufacturing clients, who saw maintenance costs go down by 15 percent. Or our water services client, one of the largest utilities in the US, who improved service quality while reducing costs and risks.

To achieve this kind of value creation, you have to understand that asset management is a puzzle with multiple pieces. You need all the pieces, and you have to put them together in the right way.

An asset-heavy organization needs three major pieces to manage its physical assets successfully: industrial internet of things (IIoT), enterprise asset management (EAM) technology, and a “management system” approach, such as the one that ISO 55000 offers. IIoT and EAM technology deliver the information and boost efficiency, while an ISO 55000 management system provides the foundation of business goals, processes, and structure that are needed to run the operation and create value.


What is ISO 55000? 

ISO 55000 is the international standard for good practice in physical asset management. Drawing on the collective wisdom of experienced maintenance professionals from around the world, it describes what an organization must do to maximize the value of its physical assets on a sustainable basis.

Like other ISO standards, ISO 55000 approaches the subject from a “management system” perspective. Using requirements and recommendations, it describes how to build an effective system for managing a large portfolio of physical assets. In ISO terminology, such a system is called an asset management system.

ISO 55000 Value

Most people don’t think “value” when they hear “ISO 55000.” But in fact, aligning to ISO 55000 can translate into major cost reductions and performance improvements for your organization. ISO 55000 can help any organization, public or private, where physical assets play a key role in achieving business goals.

Physical assets present one of its biggest opportunities for creating value – or losing it. Whether your organization’s objectives are around quality, safety, uptime, financial, workforce, or all of the above, assets play a part in realizing them. You owe it to yourself to manage those assets well.

ISO 55000 shows how to turn physical asset management into a competitive advantage. Adopting an ISO 55000 approach enables an organization to achieve its objectives through the effective and efficient management of its assets.

Don’t think “certification.”

Think “alignment.”

I can guess what you’re thinking. “My business has zero interest in becoming ISO 55000 certified. Certification just means a bunch of hassle and regulatory red tape. We’re not going to jump through hoops when we don’t have to.”

You’re right. Most organizations have no need to get ISO 55000 certification. But certification is not the goal. What ISO 55000 offers is a proven method for managing physical assets in a way that maximizes hard- and soft-dollar value. To reap those benefits, you simply need to achieve alignment with ISO 55000. In other words, you must understand and implement an ISO 55000 approach to asset management.

It’s not about “getting certified” or “achieving compliance.” It’s about aligning your organization with industry-accepted recommendations for asset management excellence.

What is a “management system” approach?

A management system is the framework of policies, processes, and procedures used by an organization to guarantee that it can fulfill all the tasks required to achieve its objectives. It is not software.

A management system is a documented, process-centric approach to how a business will operate in a certain area. It establishes clear goals and then coordinates the operation so that the business can deliver on them. Common examples include occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS), ISO 14001 environmental management systems (EMS), and ISO 9001 quality management systems (QMS). Such management systems allow a business to improve performance and reduce risks with regard to safety, quality, and the environment.

Within its applicable scope, a management system defines corporate policy, business goals, organizational structure, business processes, and data standards. It ensures that everyone knows who does what, and how things are done, so that tasks are performed the same way across the organization. It also includes performance measures and auditing processes so that an organization can continually evaluate and improve the way it operates.

Although management systems are best known for their use in quality and safety management, their structured approach can be applied to any area where discipline and control are needed. For this reason, they are particularly valuable in enterprise asset management. A management system provides the consistent, deliberate approach that is needed to effectively manage a large portfolio of physical assets.

What does an ISO 55000 asset management system look like?

An ISO 55000 asset management system is a holistic program for directing and controlling all aspects of physical asset management. It unites organizational goals and structure with process, data, technology, and auditing tools to create an effective operation.

1. It brings together the whole enterprise.

An ISO 55000 asset management system spans multiple business functions, including maintenance, operations, storerooms, procurement, and accounting. It lays out clear responsibilities, procedures, and goals for the whole operation. By doing so, it breaks down silos and gets the whole organization working together to accomplish asset management objectives.

iso 55000

2. It encompasses the whole asset life cycle.

An ISO 55000 asset management system governs the whole life cycle of physical assets – from planning and acquisition to decommission and disposal. Because of this long-term approach, an ISO 55000 asset management system is an exceptional tool for reducing total cost of ownership (TOC) and increasing the overall return on assets (ROA).


3. It aligns the whole operation from exec to tech.

An ISO 55000 asset management system establishes an executive mandate for how the organization’s assets will be managed. It then works out exactly what this mandate means in terms of specific objectives, processes, and performance measures. This top-down approach makes asset management a team player in helping the organization deliver on its business goals.

iso 55000 diagram

The benefits of an ISO 55000 approach to asset management

Taking an ISO 55000 approach to asset management can help any organization, public or private, get more value from its physical assets. An asset management system:

  1. Helps an organization “turn things around” through disciplined practices, long-term planning, and effective change management.

  2. Demonstrates to customers, owners, employees, regulators, and other stakeholders that the organization’s assets are in good hands.

  3. Provides assurance that an organization’s objectives for its physical assets can be achieved consistently and sustainably over time.

  4. Enhances customer satisfaction through improved performance, reputation, and control of service delivery.

  5. Improves risk management, HSE performance, and corporate governance – while leaving a clear audit trail.

  6. Optimizes return on investment for physical assets, capital projects, and asset management technologies (IIoT, EAM, CMMS, etc.).

  7. Enables EAM, CMMS, and ERP software systems to deliver thorough and reliable information.

  8. Speeds up improvements in the short term while laying a solid foundation for future success.

The foundation for enterprise asset management

In one word, ISO 55000 is all about process. Process is the foundation of asset management. But process can’t act alone while being efficient at the same time. It needs technology partners. Partners that help to streamline activities and improve information delivery. Those partners are IIoT and EAM.


Bringing in IIoT and EAM technology

ISO 55000 provides a foundation for effective asset management Once the foundation is laid, it’s time to become more efficient and bring in information systems that collect, monitor, store, analyze, and report asset management data.

An asset management operation has two layers of information technology. The upper layer is an EAM software system, which is the main repository for asset management data. The lower layer consists of IIoT devices and critical supporting applications such as SCADA, BAS, HMI, and others that connect to the EAM system to share data.

The promise (and shortcomings) of IIoT and EAM

IIoT has launched a new era of asset management – an era driven by real-time information and intelligent machines. IIoT automates data collection and condition monitoring, allowing organizations to gain deeper insights into asset performance and to respond more quickly when something goes wrong. When integrated with existing EAM software technology, IIoT can significantly increase the efficiency of an asset management operation.

For example, IIoT can send performance data to the EAM system, where abnormal conditions will trigger an alert or an automatic work order. It can pass usage data to the EAM system for real-time energy and cost tracking.

But IIoT and EAM technology cannot drive value creation by themselves. Smart devices will tell you when a machine is performing outside normal parameters, but they can’t tell you how to respond, who is responsible, or what procedure to follow. That kind of strategic direction is the domain of an ISO 55000 management system.

IIoT devices and EAM software must be configured to support practices – not the other way around. Too often, an organization’s business process will be designed around what the technology can or can’t do. Tying your practices to IIoT or EAM functionality creates technology tunnel vision, preventing you from designing optimal practices based on the organization’s objectives.

Putting together the pieces: ISO 55000 and technology

At first glance, the marriage of ISO 55000 and technology looks strange. One is stable, application-agnostic, documented, and works top-down; the other is dynamic, application-specific, and works bottom-up. Steel toe meets pocket protector: not a likely couple. However, as with the Odd Couple television show, opposites attract. And once together, the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.

The truth is, ISO 55000 asset management systems and technology systems perform different but complementary functions. They target the same objective but attack it from two different directions. The key is that they come together, integrate, and work in a unified manner. Management systems bring the process; technology systems bring the tool set to execute it. Like history’s classic duos – Lennon and McCartney, Laurel and Hardy, and all the rest – asset management systems and asset technology systems are better together than apart. Each is good in its own right, but when you put the puzzle pieces together, something magical happens and value is created. Process creates data; technology systems deliver it. You need both to achieve success.

This relationship between management systems and technology systems is visually expressed in the following graphic.

Which comes first: ISO 55000, or IIoT and EAM technology?

To have long-term and sustainable value creation you need both management systems and technology systems. But which comes first? Unlike the chicken and the egg dilemma, the answer is (or should be) simple. Process rules the roost. It identifies who does what – and when, where, and why. IIoT and EAM should be implemented to support that, not to define it. Remember, technology is only as good as the process driving it.

As the graphic indicates, management systems come first. This is an important concept. Like we discussed earlier, technology should be a product of the process, not the other way around. When technology systems get in front of management systems, you’re in for trouble. The wrong captain is driving the boat. Implementing a technology system (IIoT or EAM software) without fully defining your management system (business processes) will leave you operating without direction.

Configuring software as you go is a potentially risky and very costly endeavor. However, once the ISO 55000 management system is in place, then by all means bring in technology systems to streamline it. Technology is a requirement for success – but only after you have fully defined how you are going to conduct business. Management systems make you effective, while technology systems make you efficient.

Effective and efficient asset management is what we’re all after, right?

An ISO 55000 approach to asset management makes sense:

  •  It is globally accepted and internationally supported.
  •  It formalizes and standardizes asset management operations.
  •  It improves cross-functional coordination.
  •  It provides governance and control of asset management activities.
  •  It ties asset management activities to the delivery of organizational objectives.
  •  It supports long-term and sustainable value creation.
  •  It standardizes asset management operations across the company.
  •  It brings together business functions around a common mission.
  •  It supports energy management, environmental management, and other activities related to sustainability.


Client briefs: Asset management systems in practice

Some of the world’s largest organizations have benefited from an ISO 55000 approach to asset management. In the client briefs below, we’ll look at what happened when organizations from both the private and public sectors established an asset management system and then implemented IIoT and EAM systems above that foundation.

Increasing uptime and lowering costs at Chiquita

SwainSmith helped Chiquita, one of the world’s largest food production companies, implement an EAM software system on top of an ISO-compliant management system foundation. We started by creating a management system that defined policies, processes, business rules, roles and responsibilities, key performance indicators, and other elements of the asset management operation. Then we implemented the EAM software system on top of that, using the management system to direct how the software system was configured.

Because of the management system we implemented, Chiquita was able to standardize work and MRO management across their plants internationally. This created significant value:

  •  Improved equipment availability by over 3%
  •  Improved maintenance productivity by 15%
  • Reduced maintenance overtime
  • Reduced MRO inventory levels by 15%


Improving service delivery at Des Moines Water Works 

SwainSmith helped Des Moines Water Works (DMWW), one of the largest utilities in the US, improve the delivery of their services and reduce risks by aligning their operation to ISO 55000. We started by establishing corporate policy and getting the executive leadership team on board. Next, we defined processes, organizational structure, and performance measures. Then we configured DMWW’s asset information systems to deliver the information required by the asset management system. We also set up an auditing program to keep DMWW’s asset management on the path of continual improvement – another requirement of ISO 55000.

The management system that we implemented for DMWW standardized asset management across the utility’s many business units. It aligned the way assets were managed with executive goals for service quality and cost. It provided the strategy and direction for integrating DMWW’s EAM software system with ESRI GIS. Most importantly, it delivered a clear message to stakeholders that the organization was taking good care of its assets.

We can help you develop a high-performance asset management system. Contact us for details.