AM Process Reviews & Audits
Most of us have experience with “being audited” – and it’s often been a negative one. Yet reviewing what you’re doing – and finding ways to improve – is supposed to be an essential part of business. Everyone knows it, and we all say that it’s important. So why do so many of us feel we don’t get value from this type of exercise?
In Bluefield’s experience, the lack of value often comes down to one thing: too many useless recommendations. Reports sit on the shelf (or a hard drive these days) because leaders either don’t understand what the recommendations are asking them to do, or they simply don’t believe they’ll add value to their business. There are five main reasons why this occurs:
- Assessing against a theoretical framework rather than what the business actually needs.
- Focussing on “how” instead of “what”.
- Not differentiating between “perfect” and “good enough.”
- Too many repetitive questions.
- Making assumptions
Bluefield can perform reviews and assessments to help clients understand the maturity of their asset management practices and capabilities, identify improvement opportunities, and incorporate these recommendations into their action plans.
We can cover the full spread of asset management processes, from strategic asset management planning, through to work management, all the way to asset disposal and renewal. Our services are supported by our own in-house toolkit that allows us to conduct assessments at different levels of detail:
- A short form assessment that lets us review your entire Asset Management (AM) Framework or System in only one or two days using an “inch-deep, mile-wide” approach;
- A more detailed assessment that takes a day to review each process; and
- Comprehensive process reviews that allow you to re-engineer your core AM processes.
We’ve based our Bluefield AM assessment toolkit on the following principles:
- Basing the questions on a site’s internal AM Framework or Strategic Asset Management Plan rather than an external standard. Our aim is to assess a business against what they say they need to have in place to be successful. We’ve learned that the process of “holding up the mirror” is far more effective at bringing about change. If a business doesn’t have an internal standard in place, Bluefield has one of our own we can use as a starting point.
- Focussing on effective practices and outcomes. We’ve learned that processes are only as effective as the discipline with which they’re executed. Rather than get caught up in “how” something is done, we ask three questions. Firstly – is there a defined process in place that sets expectations for your team? Secondly – is the process followed? Finally – is the process achieving what business says it needs to achieve?
- Prioritising recommendations based on value and risk. Although we offer value-adding improvement suggestions, we know from our own experience that leaders are generally focussed on what’s going to stop them achieving their plan. We prioritise our recommendations to ensure that priority is given to issues that are either destroying value, or exposing a business to a risk that’s not being effectively managed.
Above all, we’ve learned that the output of an assessment can’t just be a list of recommendations – it must be an improvement plan. We know that a client never agrees 100% with the recommendations, and that’s fine. A team doesn’t own recommendations, they own actions that they’ve discussed and agreed to implement. That’s why we’ve built our process so that the last step isn’t delivering the report to the client, it’s facilitating a workshop where the team decides on their plan and takes ownership of it.
If you’re looking for a partner to help you create real change in your maintenance and asset management practices, contact Bluefield today.