The real thing demands a culture shift toward long-range thinking.
Scott Sidney is engaged in the energy and utilities practice at PA Consulting Group, working with senior utility managers globally to help them build asset management, process-based organizations. His experience includes all aspects of transmission and distribution business streams, including planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operations.
Most utilities are adept at managing their physical assets. They respond systematically to problems as they arise, with the application of technical solutions. This is a sound approach. It generally allows for appropriate solutions, even if not always oriented toward the long term.
Managing assets, however, is not asset management. True asset management requires integrating these kinds of specific engineering solutions with the broader business processes such as life-cycle planning, performance analysis, and risk management that optimize the utility value chain and delivery mechanisms.
Contrary to common thought, asset management is not just about the proactive planning and maintenance of a utility's physical infrastructure. Rather, asset management denotes a comprehensive organizational strategy that provides utilities with the means to meet their top challenges such as aging infrastructure, high attrition, and high customer expectations. To be complete and effective, however, asset management must be adopted at the enterprise level across the entire value chain, embedded in decision-making processes and structured into the organization as a business model based on asset value.