Why ISO 55000 matters to plant managers

New international standard drives value in asset management.

By Sheila Kennedy, contributing editor

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You might have heard the whispers about ISO 55000 during its development in recent years. More than likely, that awareness was fleeting since it was still a concept and not a business priority. The standard was published in January, and now that it’s a concrete entity, your board of directors and C-level executives will surely catch wind of it and start asking questions.

In brief, the ISO 55000 family is the first set of international standards for asset management. Developed by International Standards Organization Project Committee 251 (ISO/PC 251), it draws on the successful British PAS 55 standard and encourages good management practices for assets of any type, by organizations of any type or size. It is comprised of: 

  • ISO 55000-2014: Overview, principles, and terminology for asset management
  • ISO 55001-2014: Requirements for a “management system” for asset management
  • ISO 55002-2014: Guidelines for the application of such an asset management system

“Those of us who have long encouraged organizations to become best in class in asset maintenance and reliability welcome the new ISO 55000 standard,” says Brian Heinsius, maintenance and reliability manager at Iluka Resources, an Australian mineral sands mining and processing company. “Now we can say that it’s not just our idea; it’s an internationally recognized standard for how we should handle our physical assets.”

Plant managers and anyone with responsibility for asset reliability need a sound understanding of ISO 55000 and its goals, so that they’ll be prepared to answer whether, and to what extent its recommendations are in effect, and what, if any, steps are being taken to comply.

Don’t be surprised if OEM service organizations and reliability-oriented software vendors raise the questions, as well. They, too, have a vested interest in your organization’s asset reliability and in mitigating operational risks. They are working to spread the word about how ISO 55000 drives value in asset management.

Value-centric objectives

Sheila Kennedy is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics.Sheila Kennedy is a professional freelance writer specializing in industrial and technical topics. She established Additive Communications in 2003 to serve software, technology, and service providers in industries such as manufacturing and utilities, and became a contributing editor and Technology Toolbox columnist for Plant Services in 2004. Prior to Additive Communications, she had 11 years of experience implementing industrial information systems. Kennedy earned her B.S. at Purdue University and her MBA at the University of Phoenix. She can be reached at sheila@addcomm.com.

“ISO 55000 is all about creating value and managing risk by protecting a company’s assets and even its reputation,” says Kris Goly, technical services manager for Siemens Industry Lifecycle Services. Goly is a strong proponent of ISO 55000 and its British predecessor, PAS 55. He is an active member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/PC 251, which was instrumental in developing the ISO 55000 Asset Management Standard. He is also vice-chair of the Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP) Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional Benchmarking Committee.

Goly was one of several U.S. representatives on the ISO 55000 standards development committee. For a little more than two years, they met regularly both in person and by phone to review drafts and comments and to make changes. They also attended annual delegations where the entire ISO development committee from around the world met face-to-face to update the standard.

“ISO 55000 looks at assets with a holistic point of view, from inception to disposal. It’s asking the asset owners to have a process in place — not necessarily software-based, but software definitely helps — that will measure and manage the assets in an effective way and make sure the assets bring value to the company,” says Goly. “It’s about creating value for the asset owner, and value can be derived in many forms, not just money. It can be shareholder value, intellectual property protection, optimizing the condition of the assets, or any number of performance indicators.”

Getting the word out

With ISO 55000 still in its infancy, the buzz is just beginning. “Plant management does not seem to be aware of the ISO standard, and they don’t currently have a reason to care. But, they will care when corporate management or the board of directors requires that they comply,” says Forrest Pardue, president of 24/7 Systems.

“For many, ISO 55000 will not hit the radar until government regulators such as the Mine Safety and Health Administration say to comply, or large insurance underwriters such as FM Global offer preferential insurance rates for compliance,” says Iluka’s Heinsius. “I definitely think that will happen at some point.”

In Goly’s current role, providing global support for Siemens mining equipment services, he encourages companies to adopt asset management standards. “I’m interested in helping our customers to become compliant with ISO 55000 as I believe that it will help them to better manage their assets,” he explains. “I think the big issue with standards like ISO 55000 is that the development is mostly spearheaded and debated by individuals who have interest in that particular field. They are really at the forefront of the standards on a personal basis.”

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