ISO 55000 and ISO 55001 – What You Should Know

The Asset Management System standard ISO 55001 is having a global impact. If you have not purchased a copy of ISO 55001, this article explains what you need to know.

What is it about?

Put simply, it is about an Asset Management System which is a relatively new and, some might say, long overdue strategic tool for asset management.

The term, “ISO 55000” refers to the series of international standards which comprises:

ISO 55000 Asset Management – Overview, Principles and Terminology

ISO 55001 Asset Management – Management Systems – Requirements

ISO 55002 Asset Management – Management Systems – Guidelines for the Application of ISO 55001

You will often hear or see the term “ISO 55000” used incorrectly when someone is actually referring to the ISO 55001 standard. It is ISO 55001 which specifies requirements for an Asset Management System and for which it is possible to obtain 3rd party certification.

Each standard has a specific purpose:

ISO 55000

This standard may be described as the parent document of ISO 55001. As its title implies, ISO 55000 provides a general overview of asset management as a discipline. It also contains definitions of terms used in the ISO 55000 series of standards. Over many years, the subject of asset management has accumulated a mass of words and phrases with different meanings. This standard aims to establish clear and consistent understanding of the principles and requirements which must be applied when developing and implementing an Asset Management System in accordance with ISO 55001. It aims to prevent confusion.

ISO 55001

This standard provides a model for an Asset Management System by specifying requirements for such a system. The requirements are expressed generically for one reason – to enable ISO 55001 to be applied in the best possible way to many different types and sizes of organisation. Roughly speaking, ISO 55001 states what must be done, not how it must be done. Therefore, to use the standard effectively, it is necessary to acquire sufficient understanding to interpret those requirements in ways which fit an organisation and its operating environment.

ISO 55002

This standard offers guidance on implementing ISO 55001. It comprises statements of requirements taken from ISO 55001 and explanations, as well as examples, which will assist understanding of those requirements. However, the extracted statements are abbreviated here and there. So you will still need to buy a copy of ISO 55001 in order to have the full text. A brief perusal of ISO 55002 will show it is not an idiot’s guide, nor is it a checklist, nor a set of “one size fits all” procedures. It is a very useful document which, together with appropriate training, can provide a good deal of enlightenment and help in implementing ISO 55001.

What is meant by an “asset”?

The ISO 55000 guide defines an asset as, “an item, thing or entity that has potential or actual value to an organisation”. Within this definition, assets may be physical or tangible, such as buildings, ships, trains and industrial plants. Assets may also be non-physical or intangible, such as intellectual property, brand and corporate reputation.

What’s it for?

Its purpose is to get the best out of assets for the benefit of the organisation and its stakeholders.  The Asset Management System provides an holistic approach which can lower the cost of ownership of an asset or portfolio of assets across the whole life cycle, reduce the risk of breakdowns and other disruptions and improve the bottom line.

It is a top-down approach in which decision making begins in the boardroom and thus aligns asset management strategy with corporate strategy. The ISO 55001 model provides a formal framework for cascading asset management through the organisation and even its supply chain in a very transparent way. It also provides top management with regular analysed feedback on risk, opportunities and asset performance in order to inform ongoing decision making.

Who needs it?

Organisations which would typically implement ISO 55001 include those in: air, land and sea transport, construction, telecommunications, property development, energy, mining, manufacturing, engineering, petrochemical, public utilities and land management sectors. In fact, ISO 55001 can be applied to any organisation which manages an asset.

Why is it needed?

An assessment or gap analysis will almost certainly show that many of the ways in which an organisation currently manages its assets would satisfy ISO 55001 requirements. However, in other areas, the analysis would reveal significant weakness. Typically, these include:

  • Adopting a tactical approach to asset management rather than a strategic approach
  • Poor communication and collaboration between the key functions; sometimes unknowingly working against each other
  • Lack of input from operations and maintenance functions to the decision making which takes place the during asset development
  • Inventory management disconnected from the planning of construction, operations and maintenance activities
  • Lack of measurement of the actual costs to the business of asset failure and downtime
  • Tendency to rely more on reactive responses to problems and crises as they occur rather than a proactive approach to prevent them
  • Inability to demonstrate an optimal balance or costs, opportunities and risks against the desired performance of assets to achieve an organisation’s objectives
  • Leaving asset management largely to the maintenance function while ignoring interdependencies with other  functions and the inputs needed from them
  • Inadequate control of asset management information and data, particularly between phases of the asset life cycle e.g. difficulty in accessing design and construction information during asset operation and maintenance
  • Absence of rigour and joined up thinking when it comes to analysing and sharing information on assets and asset performance
  • Inadequate arrangements for gathering and disseminating lessons learnt from one asset or group of assets to another

These weaknesses generate huge costs and risks to assets and to corporate reputation. Many employees will recognise these failings but few, if any, have any idea of the actual costs, risks and lost opportunities which they cause. Organisations have not had available to them a sufficiently comprehensive means of addressing all of the issues – until now.

Where did it come from?

The ground breaking work on the ISO 55000 Series was done in the UK in the process of developing two Publicly Available Standards:

PAS 55 – 1  Specification for the optimized management of physical assets

PAS 55 – 2  Guidelines for the application of PAS 55 – 1

These specifications were issued by BSI in 2004 and PAS 55 – 1 was adopted as the global standard for an asset management system. It was superseded in 2014 by ISO 55001.

The ISO 55000 Series was developed by the ISO Project Committee 251 with over 30 participating countries. Knowledge input was obtained from the national standards bodies of the participating countries and also from commercial organisations and academic intuitions. It benefited from a decade of experience in implementing PAS 55.

What is driving certification?

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has predicted a rate of growth in ISO 55001 certification similar to that experienced with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. Time will tell. Certainly, we are now seeing a move towards customers, investors, insurers and regulators making ISO 55001 a prerequisite for doing business.

The case for using ISO 55001 to develop a robust and effective Asset Management System is a strong one. The additional step of seeking 3rd party certification requires serious consideration. Organisations should evaluate the pros and cons before deciding.

See our article, ISO Certification – Is it Right for Us?