The Asset Journal, Volume 15, Issue 3
The guiding topic for this quarter's issue of "The Asset" relates to metrics and measures. All of us have certainly been exposed to a variety of metrics and measures in all organisations we may have served or have been involved in. But what do they serve? Is it that we fill in data to please Management or Stakeholders? Or do they really mean something? All of us have no doubt stories of providing data or KPI's that are obscure to many. Much literature is available on metrics and KPI'S and their structure and purpose.
Indeed, when we are looking at the development of new Assets then we have a proliferation of KPI's as there are so many activities that we need to understand and one or the other person in a Project Team or in the Owners Teams are interested in. In Operations there is of course a temptation in the effort to understand ‘everything that goes on here' to mix up performance indicators, metrics and statistics. Indeed, much information is required to have sufficient basis for decision making in organisational, strategic and operational areas. Asset Management ideally requires us to exercise control over our Assets, which might lead to a collection of vast data sets that may or may not be useful. Especially in the era of increased digitalisation of Asset Management and Maintenance it is possible, even likely, that a large amount of data is collected and transformed into information that never is used for decision making, improvement or assurance.
A structured approach to creating, optimising and using metrics and performance indicators will enable a more informative set of indicators. But how to chieve those is often a question of much disagreement in an organisation on the different functional levels. We can make use of the Asset Management Concept model using the four pillars to provide a framework for aligning and improving data collection and information. Output focus would provide some guidance on team and business effectiveness, Capability provides performance related data, Assurance would collect data that enables understanding of risks, achievement of goals and targets, Learning is synonymous with continuous improvement.
After all, metrics in their best incarnation (even if they are what is called ‘leading metrics') can only deal with the probability that things are in a [particular state. Is that why so many data points are collected to achieve a certain feeling that appropriate information has been generated? But there is the critical set of questions that should always be considered: Which decision is supported by this metric or measurement? How does the thing we measure matter? What is the value of the additional information?
Perhaps these four pillars of Asset Management can assist in improving the flood of data and information to support some of these questions. As always, we value your feedback and your experiences in Asset Management and also with this important topic of metrics, measures and KPI's.
Editor in Chief