SA companies aren’t reaping the benefits of asset management, says Alusani® Course Leader
Many companies in South Africa have created textbook examples of how not to lead the way in terms of managing their assets. Large building and infrastructure projects require ongoing planned maintenance, there is simply no way to get around it. These costs can either be planned for upfront (which is the ideal situation) or they can arise at an unforeseen time later, but this issue is, you must maintain an asset, says Allan Tarita, Alusani® Course Leader.
“Maintenance planning and scheduling isn’t something that resides in a forgotten back lot of the company. It is something that needs to be woven into the cultural fabric of the company, it should be a top priority on the senior leadership’s agenda, and it is something that everyone within a company understands and adheres to. And if the term maintenance planning and scheduling doesn’t ever feature on the agenda of your management team, then as someone involved in maintenance you should be very very worried” says Tarita.
While some South African companies within both the public and private sectors have created and implemented world-class asset management strategies, there are regretfully far too many who continue to opt for what Tarita calls a “fire-fighting” approach.
“In some cases, 20 years of neglecting an asset can take 10 years to correct, and it can only be corrected if new leadership makes routine maintenance and asset management a priority within the organisation. There is no silver bullet that can save a neglected asset, but the right strategy and practices can be taught, learned and applied and once you know how to do it right, it makes maintenance and asset management a whole lot easier and cheaper,” says Tarita.
Tarita, who has more than 30 years of practical experience, primarily in the oil & gas industry, is highly respected in the maintenance and asset management fields in South Africa and internationally. He says that the courses he leads enjoy the participation of many planners and schedulers, but that their attendance doesn’t always lead to the cultural shift that is needed for companies to reap the long-term benefits.
“Planners and schedulers need a supportive and nurturing environment. I would like to see more middle- and senior management attend the course. Many times, a complete paradigm shift as to what good asset management entails is needed. If this isn’t a core responsibility or KPI for people everyone within the team, then the strategy falls flat,” says Tarita.
At a foundational level, leadership and management are the fundamental building blocks of the asset management pyramid. Companies need to clearly state that they are going to engineer, operate, and maintain assets in a certain fashion.
“The culture of neglect and ad hoc maintenance will continue to exist if companies continue to throw money at the problem. Businesses need to re-engineer their asset management strategies to get to the root cause of why their assets aren’t being engineered and maintained the way they are supposed to. The funds and resources that are needed for proper asset management need to be committed and strictly adhered to,” says Tarita.
He concludes by saying that part of the problem is that younger planners, engineers, and maintenance professionals aren’t always equipped with the skills they need to maintain assets.
“South Africa needs a strong artisan group that can transfer the knowledge and wisdom regarding maintenance that they have accumulated over the years to the younger generations. Companies often expect that new hires will be able to fix things the way the generations before them did, but a lot of training is needed to get them there,” concludes Tarita.
Allan will be presenting the CPD-accredited Maintenance Planning & Scheduling for Improved Reliability and Uptime in Johannesburg and Durban.
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