IPWEA NZ President and Principal Asset Advisor at Beca, Priyani de Silva-Currie reflects on whether Asset Management can be the glass slipper for Cinderella.

Does it feel like Asset Management is treated as the ugly stepsister in infrastructure decisions?  We have observed far more interest, concentrated resources, effort, and congratulatory slaps on the back for building new infrastructure.  Ribbon Cutting is far sexier than lifecycle management!  How do we change our leaders’ perspective to know what we already know? That asset management is truly valuable and literally a glass slipper – especially in these times of transformation and change.

There is a fairytale to tell about Asset Management, much heard but not analysed.  Why is asset management viewed with a of secondary importance lens – not nearly as important in infrastructure decisions as designing and building a bright new shiny thing. Simple accounting calculations don’t consider all the complex benefits and disbenefits that asset management evaluates.  Decisions seem shallow rather than deep – has that been your experience? Let’s talk about the decision making techniques we have available to us more.

With changes to our industry, reform, and transformation there has never been a more important time to evaluate the benefits of asset management in infrastructure decisions.  Slide that glass slipper on and realise that Asset Management provides lifecycle savings, whole of life benefits, proactive, planned, and scheduled maintenance, and renewals and robust optioneering, and selections for new assets, and complete future funding models for new capital and operating budgets.

We know for example that with upcoming transformation of our industry in water and local government we will be required to provide information quickly.  Likely we will be asked for an accurate inventory and valuation of our assets along with detailed ownership information and proposed operating model and procurement changes.  The transfer of renewals and capital forecast expenditure information will need to be accurate and timely – all of this within a constrained LTP cycle – to do this isn’t magic, it’s good asset management.

Most importantly improving your asset management practices realises the value of your investment.  Reform is on your doorstep, Cinderella, so why wouldn’t you set yourself up for success by understanding your asset portfolio, maximise its performance and realise tangible whole of life gains.  This is the equivalent of finding your Prince (ess)!  At a minimum good asset management will tell you the worth and scale of your portfolio – useful if you are evolving into new organisations, operating models and structures.

Leaders, Cinderellas and those that care to find the glass slipper – this is now your time to shine at the ball.