One dictionary defines retrospective as a contemplative view of the past…
That definition is appropriate, since this is my last blog, as I am riding off into retirement on June 2, 2017. As I take a few minutes and look at the past, there are several topics related to the maintenance/ reliability community I would like to address one last time.
Maintenance as a Business
Maintenance/ Reliability Leadership
CMMS/ EAM Functionality vs. Business Processes
Maintenance as a Business
Since I started in the maintenance field in the late 1960’s, maintenance has always been viewed as a necessary evil, an overhead, or expense function. Organizations have never learned to view maintenance as an “profit center”. This was true even though systems engineering courses taught that maintenance was necessary and the maintenance cost was specified in the design and installation of the equipment. Despite the overwhelming evidence that properly controlling maintenance costs could contribute to profitability, companies never viewed it as such. It is my hope that companies continue to explore this area for increased financial contributions to their profitability. Perhaps the total life cycle approach to managing assets as part of ISO-55000 may help companies start this journey.
Maintenance/ Reliability Leadership
This is the second area that needs attention in the majority of organizations today. It is still a common belief that competent technical personnel can be promoted into a leadership role and they will instantly be good at it. This is quite simply not true. For example, what is your organization’s annual maintenance budget? $5M, $10M, $25M? Even More? Let’s choose $20M. Would you set up a business with revenues of $20M per year and interview for the “C” level positions, requiring a reliability/ maintenance background for the applicants. Ludicrous, is it not? Yet many companies have this size budget (most even larger) and they promote a maintenance supervisor, engineer, or planner into the leadership position with no business education. I am not advocating that all maintenance/ reliability leadership have an MBA (although I know some who do and it truly helps them), but to place them in such a key position with ZERO business training does not make good sense. Perhaps a changed perspective on the qualifications of a good maintenance/ reliability leader will help to mitigate this problem. This change of perspective is already occurring with the Certified Reliability Leader (C.R.L.) certification. Perhaps other certifications will add this leadership requirement and move maintenance/ reliability leadership forward.
CMMS/ EAM Functionality vs. Business Processes
This may seem like a strange topic to address; however, it has been a difficult issue for decades. I worked on my first CMMS implementation in the 1970’s as an end user. It was a reasonably successful implementation, with data accuracy high enough that payroll for the maintenance technicians was paid from the work order system. Yet companies today still struggle with the CMMS/ EAM system utilization, with most studies showing a 50% or less success rate. Many organizations do not trust their data to the point where they believe analysis such as MTBF or MTTR when produced by their system. Why is this the case? Is it the software? Or is it something else? Having attended literally hundreds of conferences in my career, I can tell you it is not the software. Pick any major EAM software vendor in the market today, such as SAP, Maximo, Oracle, Infor, etc. You can attend their user conference and find very positive examples of companies fully utilizing the software. To the point that you wonder how they can do it and you, with the same software are not producing 50% of the results that they have achieved.
Having spent the last 11 years of my career at Vesta, who specializes in SAP implementation and utilization, I can tell you it is not the software. I have watch some of my colleagues at Vesta work virtual “magic” with the functionality in SAP. Yet most organizations fail to fully utilize it. Why? It is because they fail to set up and execute their maintenance/ reliability business processes. One of my favorite authors Erik Brynjolfsson – highlights this problem in many of his texts. While, not dealing with maintenance/ reliability specifically, his studies have shown that properly executing any business process is key to having a successful, profitable business. If the functionality exists in an EAM system, yet we do not enable it through supportive business processes, how can we ever expect to achieve a return on investment for the purchase and implementation of the software system? Perhaps organizations will finally overcome the lack of EAM system utilization by focusing on improving their business processing in the future.
The asset management standard. The ISO organization commissioned a group to begin work on the ISO-55000 standard in 2011 and it was finally published in 2014. This standard focused on a management system for assets. Without repeating much of the standard, let’s just say that it was difficult for the various committees to stay focused on the Management System part of the standard. However, once the standard was published, most accepted that if it was implemented correctly, it would help organizations achieve more value from their assets.
There was a struggle to define assets; and to different businesses, assets meant different things. For example, in industry, an asset often meant a piece of equipment. In a government institution, it could often mean something as simple as a chair. One term to me that always helped to put asset management in perspective was “managing the asset for its life cycle”. The term “life cycle” produced countless debates among the various committees. While I may have been narrow minded, one text that helped me understand asset management in the context of life cycle was the texts by Professor Benjamin S. Blanchard. In his writings, Professor Blanchard demystifies asset management by putting it in the context of systems engineering. His texts on systems engineering were biblical before we really understood what asset management was as a process.
As asset management becomes more and more a driving force in how organizations manage their assets, it is hoped that they will learn from some of the system engineering writings, which should help them shorten the time it takes to realize their return on investment on an asset management initiative.
It would take many more pages of text if I were to list everyone that has played a part in making my career enjoyable. Just let it suffice to say that in the maintenance/ reliability, and asset management communities, there are many skilled professionals willing to share their expertise and help others to have successful careers. At the end of the day, through my lectures or writings, I hope that many of you are currently having successful careers – now and will continue to do so in the future. I hope that I have contributed to the body of knowledge that our predecessors began developing and have helped provide a foundation for additional improvements of the maintenance/ reliability/ asset management processes into the future. As I leave for retirement – I wish you all the best in the future.
As Terry Wireman departs Vesta, we invite you to join our newsletter subscription to stay connected to his thoughts and commentary on industry topics. Be sure to visit our site for his bi-weekly blogs which will continue for many more months to come.
While our last few blogs focused more on problems that the lack of expertise in the skilled trades is causing us; in this blog, we would like to try to find some solutions. We will start by considering the Internet of things. IoT is a scenario in which objects, animals, or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human to human or human to computer interaction. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro electromechanical systems, and the internet.
A “thing” in the Internet of Things can be a heart monitor implant, a wild animal with a bio chip transponder, an automobile that has built in sensors to alert the driver when tire pressure is low, or any other man made or natural object that can be assigned an IP address and can transfer data over a network. So far, the Internet of things has been most closely associated with machine to machine (M2M) communication in manufacturing and in power, oil, and gas utilities. Products that are built with machine to machine (M2M) communication capabilities are often referred to as being smart machines.
The Internet of things revolves around increased machine to machine communication. It is mobile, it is virtual, and it provides instantaneous connections. It is going to make everything in our lives from street lights to seaports smart. In fact, Daniel Burrus, in “Wired”, November 2014, said “There is no one sector where the Internet of things is making the biggest impact – it will disrupt every industry imaginable.”
The real value that the Internet of things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging data. All the information gathered by all the sensors in the world isn’t worth very much if there isn’t an infrastructure in place to analyze and utilize it in real time.
Here’s where the problem comes in. How do we analyze the data that is coming in from various sensors to a central location and make sense of it? What is it telling us to do? This is where companies must leverage the knowledge of their aging workforce before it is lost. If we can build “rules engines” that tell us the “if this – then that” scenarios, we can fully utilize the data. If this analysis structure can be built, then when information is captured, then it is not only telling us what the condition is, but how to correct it.
Where is the information to build this “rules engine” database stored? There are at least three locations. They are:
In the brains of our skilled trade employees
In our existing work management systems
In our equipment/ asset design documentation
Based on our last blogs, (1) we must move quickly to capture the knowledge of our skilled trades employees before they retire. (2) Our existing work management systems can be utilized: however most have inaccurate or incomplete data. (3) Our equipment or asset design documentation is quite often lacking because someone failed to negotiate its inclusion in the transaction when the equipment was purchased.
So, while the solutions to gathering knowledge appear to be simple, the sources are truly complex. It is only when an organization takes a true asset management focus will they be able to leverage the value that can be provided by the Internet of Things.
In our last blog, I referenced the Reuters news article “U.S. refiners face severe labor shortage for deferred maintenance” (1/2/17 – by Jarrett Renshaw). In this article and others, the current skilled labor shortage was highlighted. However, we also promised some solutions in this blog. What are they?
Let’s go back to the Reuters article again. In the article, this quote was also found:
“Earlier this year, Fluor opened a skilled craft training center in the Gulf Coast, stating that while the firm could not train its way out of the shortage, it hopes to alleviate the problem”.
Increased training is a partial answer. However, in most skilled trades disciplines, it takes a minimum of four years to achieve a journeyman status. In some technical skills, the apprenticeship can take up to 6 years. Hence the quote “the firm could not train its way out of the shortage”. However, as a tradesperson begins their training, they become more and more skilled each year, so in year two, the apprentice becomes more capable, and in year three even more so, etc. So, if we started training right now, the problem will be eventually eliminated. Or so it looks on paper.
However, this approach overlooks the second part of the problem. How do we overcome the headcount shortage when our retiring labor resources exceed our incoming apprentice resources? How do we raise the number of individuals that “sign up” for skilled trades apprenticeships each year? The answer to that question is simply it must start in middle or high school.
It is during that time that we must interest the student in what a skilled trades future holds for them. One of the best ways to do this is to enroll them in shop class. Oh – wait a minute!! Most school boards have eliminated shop class from their school curriculum. In fact, how many high school guidance counselors do you know that recommend that a student choose a path to the skilled trades? Even Germany, who used to be the bastion for skilled trades apprenticeships, cannot fill the apprenticeship openings in their country.
Let’s not even start on the income potential for a skilled tradesperson vs. the student debt required to earn a degree. I have already covered that in detail in a previous blog.
So, the major hurdle here is PERCEPTION. When will we start realizing that a skilled tradesperson is truly a Gold Collar Worker? (see our last blog for this point). When is the skilled trades profession considered to be an acceptable career, so that parents, guidance counselors, etc. will encourage their teenagers to sign up for an apprenticeship? We really need to change our perceptions otherwise our industrial future appears rather bleak.
With this in mind, are there some ways to speed up the resolution to this problem? Are there technologies that could shortcut the learning process that will accelerate the progression of individuals into the skilled trades?
We hear a lot about the Internet of Things (IoT). Is there some potential help there? We will explore that in our next blog.
Join my upcoming webinar “The Good,The Bad, The ISO55000” to learn more about the international asset management standard – ISO55000. This presentation will holistically examine issues regarding ISO55000; since they all impact one another. In addition, it will look into the future and see if these topics will be good, bad, or indifferent to businesses. Click here to reserve your webinar spot on February 28th!
In our last blog, we discussed the reasons for failures of CMMS/ EAM systems to produce the results for which they were purchased. In this blog, I would like to take a different focus –The impact a CMMS/ EAM system has on Asset Management. How are the two interrelated? Consider (from the previous blog) the common reasons CMMS/ EAM systems fail:
Lack of management support (55002 – 5.1)
Lack of business processes to support the system (55002- 5.3)
Insufficient staff to properly utilize the system (55002-7.5)
To understand how these four reasons impact asset management, we first need to understand why the EAM system is important to asset management. (For the sake of this blog, we will focus on physical assets.) In the ISO-55000 document, section 2.4.1 mentions the need for analytical approaches across the life cycle of the asset. The life cycle of an asset begins with the conception of the need for the asset through to the disposal of the asset.
The conception of the need for the asset implies that there is a business need and the purchase of the asset will add value to the organization. It could be that there is a market demand for a product we are producing and our current asset base cannot meet the demand. It could also be that the assets we current have are aging and are no longer capable of meeting the existing market demand. A third reason may be that the business processes for the life cycle activities of the asset are inefficient and ineffective, resulting in excessive maintenance, repair and refurbishment expenditures. (The ISO sections are mapped to this list)
For the sake of the brevity of this blog, let’s focus on the second item: the business processes for the life cycle activities of the asset are inefficient and ineffective, resulting in excessive maintenance, repair and refurbishment expenditures. Various publications state that up to 95% of the life cycle costs of a physical asset are incurred in the operational and maintenance phase of a physical asset’s life cycle activities. An organization’s failure to allow inefficient and ineffective operational and maintenance procedures to exist will have a negative impact on the value that the physical asset will provide the organization. This indicates there is a significant financial impact that reliability/ maintenance policies and practices can have on the cost to manage an asset or asset portfolio.
Now continuing this line, what is likely to happen to the organization’s maintenance expenditures if there are poor business processes in place when a CMMS/EAM system is implemented? Don’t these poor practices become “institutionalized” locking in higher than necessary maintenance and repair costs? Consider the impact that a reactive reliability/ maintenance organization can have on maintenance and repair costs.
A reactive reliability/ maintenance organization will have a “hands-on” time of about 20%. A proactive organization with good planning and scheduling processes may achieve 60%. This basically triples the amount of reliability/ maintenance activities that they perform: ultimately lowering the reliability/ maintenance expenditures necessary for the asset to achieve the business goals it was purchased to achieve.
This is only one example of how CMMS/ EAM systems are needed to support Asset Management and how improper CMMS/ EAM system implementations can impact asset management. We could list many additional examples. However, if organizations don’t have CMMS/ EAM systems implemented correctly, delivering the data necessary to manage their assets, they will surely fail at asset management as they have at implementing and utilizing their CMMS/ EAM systems. It is no wonder the failure to learn from past mistakes will continue to give managers a headache.
Are zero breakdowns really achievable at your plant or facility? Is it conceivable or even desirable to have zero breakdowns? If we think of the quality initiatives, the goal was zero defects. And while most companies never achieved this goal, many developed strategies or methodologies that came very close to the goal. In fact, Six Sigma Quality was the stated goal for many company’s quality programs.
If we compared maintenance to quality, quality focuses on producing a perfect product. Maintenance focuses on providing reliable equipment capable of producing the perfect product. So if zero defects was the goal for quality, could not zero breakdowns be the goal for maintenance? And in reality, most companies would never achieve zero breakdowns, would it be possible to have Six Sigma reliability? And what would Six Sigma reliability cost? When would the cost of that level of equipment or asset reliability exceed the benefits achieved? How expensive would it be to achieve zero breakdowns really?
These questions can only be answered after clearly defining breakdowns, the business objective of the equipment or asset, and the determination of the steps necessary to achieve zero breakdowns.
Asset Utilization – The Business Objective
Asset utilization, commonly referred to as Overall Equipment Effectiveness, is a complete picture of how equipment or assets perform. It involves examining equipment availability, the equipment performance rate, and the quality rate. The asset utilization may also be referenced as equipment capacity. Asset utilization is not just the responsibility of one department.
Asset utilization is the responsibility of the entire company. It has the focus of insuring that nowhere in the world does another company have the same assets and achieves greater capacity from the assets. It is the single focus of being the best at getting the most out of the assets. The measurement of asset utilization is the overall equipment effectiveness. Overall Equipment Effectiveness is a holistic calculation that measures availability, performance efficiency, and quality rate.
Availability is defined as the percentage of time the equipment is available compared to the time that it is required to be available. Of course, breakdowns, equipment malfunctions, setups and adjustments, and even material shortages, are all possible reasons the equipment may not be available.
Performance rate of the equipment compares the current operating rate of the equipment to the actual design capabilities of the equipment. Many companies use some type of targeted performance, which usually fails to optimize the utilization of the equipment.
Quality Rate is the percentage of good product or satisfactory service the equipment provided compared to what the equipment should have delivered. So defects, re-work, off spec product, or unsatisfactory service from the equipment lower the overall Quality Rate.
For equipment to be fully utilized, it is a blend of all three parameters that determine its actual performance. By examining equipment or assets in this manner, companies can avoid a one-dimensional focus on utilization of the asset. In many companies, decisions are made to increase production, which may boost performance rate but yet lower equipment availability due to a decrease in asset or equipment reliability.
On the other hand, if the maintenance department performs too much maintenance and lowers the availability, and then even if the equipment performs as designed, the overall output is lower. This still puts the company in a noncompetitive situation when it comes to asset utilization.
So it is clear that the approach cannot be one dimensional. The true value of measuring the asset utilization in this manner is that it presents a holistic view of the asset or equipment.
With this perspective in mind, what prevents a company from achieving Zero Breakdowns from their assets? There are five main areas and these will be discussed over the next several blog posts.
ISO 55000 – it was Launched – But is it Taking Off?
So we are now 2 1/2 years after the official launch of ISO 55000. What have been the results so far? Has the standard gain wide acceptance? What is the future for the ISO 55000 standard?
So what are the results so far? It appears that in the United States the uptake on the standard itself has been somewhat slow. Internationally, there are a larger number of companies that are investigating the standard or have adopted the standard. Is it possible that ISO 55000 will follow the pattern of ISO 9000, in that the United States will be late adopters of the standard when compared to their international counterparts? Will this delay put US-based companies at a competitive disadvantage?
When discussing wide acceptance, or the lack thereof, it is important to note that one area where the ISO 55000 standard (and by default asset management) is quite active: this is infrastructure. Infrastructure, particularly in the United States, has been receiving a lot of negative attention in the recent years. Consider the water debacle in Detroit – bridge and road failures, the conditions of Dams and the condition of mass transit. Is it possible that if asset management principles, and ISO 55000 in particular, were applied in these areas, that much of this negative attention would have disappeared?
In a previous blog, I mentioned that John Oliver video on infrastructure, which can be found on YouTube. This video, while quite humorous, highlights some very serious points about infrastructure. In just the last few months, there has been a considerable amount of attention paid to infrastructure. Whether this video played a part or not can be the topic of debate.
However, now there is an article about infrastructure and technology in Time Magazine.
This article highlights the problems that we see with infrastructure, particularly roads and bridges. It even begins to develop an asset management prioritization model. This article references some additional sources of information concerning infrastructure asset management. The first is from the American Public transportation Association. This link takes you to a site where they highlight the importance of keeping infrastructure in a state of good repair. There are additional published documents available on this site as well.
But whether you live in the United States or not, every country in the world is currently struggling with their infrastructure. Whether its water problems, transportation problems, or industrial problems, each of us are impacted. What actions can we take to make sure our infrastructure (and ultimately our competitiveness) is properly managed? It is by educating ourselves in the proper application of International standards, such as ISO 5000.
It would be a tragic loss if many international experts spent a considerable amount of time developing ISO 55000 and it was never adopted by companies who could gain the most from it. Beyond infrastructure, it would be an even greater loss if companies across all vertical industrial markets go out of business because they did not properly manage their assets.
and ISO 55000 make an impact on the “Bad” that we see currently developing? As was highlighted in the first blog in this series, there is a large amount of data that can be transformed into knowledge. This knowledge, if used in the proper structure, can provide a solution to the “Bad”. How? It is by using the new management systems structure in ISO 55000.
The management system structure contains the following elements:, the standard says
The Organization (5.3)
Performance Evaluation (9.1)
(The number in parenthesis is the section in ISO 55001 where the element can be found).
While it is outside the scope of this blog to deal with all of these elements, I would like to focus on the support section, which is 7.x. In section 7.1, the standard says:
The organization shall provide the resources required for meeting the asset management objectives and undertaking the activities specified in the asset management plan(s).
Many of the maintenance and reliability task items will fall into this section. Do we have the proper amount of resources to accomplish all of the maintenance and reliability tasks to insure the assets are capable and continue to be capable of meeting the asset management objectives? Using the data that an organization is collecting and turning it into actionable items to insure the organization has the right level of resources focused on the right activities will make this goal easier to achieve.
Many organizations will allow their assets to age and wear to the point they are no longer able to meet the design specifications. This creates a capacity deficiency. The lack of resources to perform maintenance activities results in the asset not being able to support the asset management objectives, which support the organizational objectives. A company striving for ISO 55000 certification will not be able to reduce their maintenance and reliability resources to a point that it no longer supports the organizational business plan for the asset.
A second area that is noteworthy is section 7.2 Competence. This section says:
“The organization shall:
determine the necessary competence of person(s) doing work under its control that affects its asset management performance, and
ensure that these persons are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training, or experience,
where applicable, take actions to acquire the necessary competence, and
evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken, and
retain appropriate documented information as evidence of competence.
periodically review current and future competency needs and requirements
NOTE: Applicable actions may include, for example; the provision of training to, the mentoring of, or the reassignment of currently employed persons; or the hiring or contracting of competent persons.”
So this section shows that not only does a company need to have the right number of resources, but must have the right skills for their resources. This indicates (as mentioned in the notes) that an organization would need to have on-going training programs to (1-) insure that the resources have the correct basic skills and (2-) have ongoing training to insure the resources have updated skills to properly support new assets. If an organization was able to collect the data from the new assets (PM schedules, work activities, master data, etc.) they could use this to develop new and updated training materials.
Again, any company striving for ISO 55000 certification would need to insure that their resources (i.e. skilled technicians) would have the skills necessary to insure the assets were able to accomplish the organization’s objectives for the assets.
These were just two basic examples that show how ISO 55000 can have a positive impact on an organization wrestling with some of the “Bad” problems facing them today. While ISO 55000 is not a panacea – Compliance with the standard can have a positive impact on businesses today. If you have not looked into ISO-55000 yet, it might be worth a good read to see if it can help your organization.
This is part 2 of a blog based on the material that will be presented at the SAP for Utilities conference on September 14, 2015. Previously we discussed the “Good”; this blog will discuss the “Bad”.
While the “Good” was more technology based, the “Bad” is more focused on people. These are the people that we either have currently employed or those that will need to be replacements for those employees that are retiring in the near future. The “Bad” is in the following three areas:
An aging workforce
The lack of technical/ trade apprenticeships
A compromised educational system
When considering the aging workforce, most people focus on the loss of the pure talent that will occur when the “Baby-Boomers” retire. However, an even more important fact is that there is a shortage of replacement workers in the next generation. In other words, the demographics show that there will not be sufficient “Gen X” workers to replace the number of “Baby-Boomers” leaving the workforce.
Compounding that “Bad” fact, is the additional impact in the skilled trades area due to the lack of technical/ trade apprenticeships that are currently not available. Since shop class has been eliminated from most high school curriculum, the high school students are left with little choice except to go to college to avoid “Fast Food” employment. While some vocational schools and community colleges will partially fill the need, the demographics again show that this will fall far short of the number of entry level skill trades personnel that are going to be required.
One final component to the “Bad” is the fact that world-wide, there exists a failure on the part of educational systems to produce a quality product (qualified students). Statistics show that only 1/3rd of US high schools students can actually read at a 12th grade reading level when they graduate from high school. Additionally, the average reading level in the average US manufacturing plant is only 8th grade, with levels as low a 3rd grade actually reported. 50% of manufacturers found their current workforce had serious reading, writing, and math skill problems. A manufacturer found that only 1 out of 4 job applicants could pass a test requiring 10th grade skill. (Statistics derived from “The 2010 Meltdown” – Gordon)
So the “Bad” is, we don’t have enough people, we don’t have enough skilled people, and we don’t have enough qualified entry level people.
Can the technology we discussed in part one of this blog and ISO 55000 impact the “Bad” we see on the near term horizon? We will discuss this topic in the next blog.
This blog is derived from the content that will be presented at the SAP for Utilities conference on September 14, 2015. Since the presentation is divided into three main headings, we will divide the content into three blogs starting with the good.
The good is based on technology advancements that we have seen over the last few years, including:
The Internet of Things (IoT)
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)? In this acronym, a “Thing“ can be a person, an animal, an automobile or any other “thing” that can be assigned an IP address and has the ability to transfer data over a network. The Auto-ID Center at MIT highlighted the potential of the IoT. In their findings, they said “If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss, and cost.”
Enable smarter business operations and smarter decisions
Changes in their business model
How does the IoT accomplish this? This question leads us to “Big Data”? Big Data is a broad term that is used to identify large or complex data sets that cannot be processed by traditional tools. Big Data can also refer to advanced methods that can be used to extract value from data. This value can be in the form of increased operational efficiency, cost reductions (increased value), and reduced risk.
This is the value in “Big Data”- it can be used to gain intelligence and translate that into actions that will provide a company increased business advantage. A study by a team from MIT’s Center for Digital Business found that companies that were in the top third of their industry in the use of data driven decision making were 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.
With all of this data being sent from all of these sensors, the amount of data is going to be “Big”, so how do we use it? This is where visualization comes in. Visualization refers to the way a message can be communicated. It may take the form of images, diagrams, or animations. So imagine a company collecting all of this data, from all of the sensors throughout their plants, displaying in such a way that it is actionable. Dashboards and real time process diagrams are but two examples.
So it can be seen that the IoT can provide almost limitless “Big Data”, which, when it is interpreted or processed can be transformed into information. This information, when audited against a rules engine and “visualized” can be transformed into knowledge. This allows the true value of all of the “Big Data” from the IoT to be realized.
While this is an interesting overview of the direction of where companies are headed, how does the “Good” overcome the “Bad”? This will be the topic of the next blog.
Asset Management & ISO 55000 – What are standards and how are they applied?
During the Mainstream Conference 2015 in Denver Co (June 7-9), there will be a panel session “Asset Management & ISO 55000 – What are they and What is in it for Me?” on Monday afternoon. There are seven starter questions that the panelists will address during the discussion.
To get an early start on this conversation, stay tuned to our blog which will be posting insight into each question weekly, before the Mainstream Conference begins on June 7th.
Terry Wireman – In each country there are Standards organizations, such as ISO, SAE, ASTM, etc. Each of these organizations can produce voluntary consensus standards. Each organization will try to coordinate any standards development with the other standards organizations to prevent any duplication of efforts. As you can imagine, the list for each organization can be lengthy. ISO alone has almost 20,000 standards. The following link lists the technical committees within ISO that can develop standards.
ISO’s work program ranges from standards for traditional activities, such as agriculture and construction, through mechanical engineering to the newest information and communications technology (ICT) developments, such as the digital coding of audio-visual signals for multimedia applications. ISO also collaborates on standards with their partners, such as, IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union).
How does ISO develop standards? ISO standards are developed by the people/organizations/ companies that need them, through a consensus process. Experts from all over the world develop the standards that are required by their sector. These experts are proposed by ISO national members. The entire standards development process is discussed in a humorous (but factual) video clip produced by ISO and posted on YouTube.
Finally, are ISO standards mandatory? No, ISO standards are voluntary. ISO is a non-governmental organization and it has no power to enforce the implementation of the standards it develops. A number of ISO standards – mainly those concerned with health, safety or the environment – have been adopted in some countries as part of their regulatory framework, or are referred to in legislation for which they serve as the technical basis. However, such adoptions are decisions by the regulatory authorities or governments of the countries concerned. ISO itself does not regulate or legislate. Although voluntary, ISO standards may become a market requirement, as has happened in the case of ISO 9000 quality management systems, or ISO freight container dimensions.
Next Blog – What is the ISO 55000 standard and what value does it add to an organization?