During the Asset Management Council’s recent Asset Management in Government Symposium, held on Friday 4th October at the Pan Pacific Melbourne on the picturesque South Wharf, there were key themes that sprang from each speaker. Read on to learn more about the day and the speakers’ themes.
Over 130 attendees gathered at the Pan Pacific Melbourne to hear the latest in asset management, from a number of engaging presenters. Our first session commenced at 9AM, with Andrew Curthoys, Director of Engagement and Taskforce, Economic and Infrastructure Strategy, Department of State Development, Queensland, who shared on Digital Enablement in the government sector. Through the State Infrastructure Plan (SIP) Andrew noted the government has been able to implement a cross-government departmental working group to build a SAMP framework that is being used across agencies. He highlighted that the SAMP links perfectly with Building Information Modelling (BIM), building future needs with technical solutions.
James Price, from Experience Matters in South Australia, gave an engaging presentation on information assets. Experience Matters is undertaking research across three continents, with numerous companies and institutions. Thus far, the research shows that many businesses often abdicate the responsibility of managing information assets to the IT department, with directives to purchase new software programs that will aid in the management of such assets. Using a metaphor of purchasing a glass of wine from a bar, that a customer buys the wine in the glass, not the glass itself, James proved to attendees that content is different to the delivery method. It’s the same for businesses; information assets are the content. The information assets contain the value, not the software program that delivers it.
The third speaker of the morning session, Nicola Belcher, Director, Asset Management, Department of Transport, Victoria, talked about the value in implementing asset management in the public transport network using the newly mandated Asset Management Accountability Framework (AMAF). The AMAF details requirements for agencies responsible for managing publicly owned assets. This includes the development and implementation of asset management strategies, governance frameworks, and process to regularly monitor and improve asset management.
Helen Carroll from Public Works Advisory in the Department Planning, Industry and Environment, NSW, spoke on the Challenges and Opportunities in implementing asset management policy. Her role as Manager Asset Management provides ample examples in both challenges and opportunities; Helen noted that we will all come up against brick walls when implementing asset management plans. A way around that wall exists, often hiding in plain sight. It’s when we begin to view challenges as opportunities that we break through that wall.
Christine Ip brought a case study from her role as Director Client Advisory, Queensland Treasury Corporation, and began by highlighting her five key elements in problem-solving. Defining the problem was the first element, with clear communication as the last, and including elements of an agile team, data analysis and focus area. The key takeaways from Christine’s case study were: bring the best practices together to create framework; define the problem and ask why, why, and why again; and use available data to avoid making bad decisions.
Deanne Leaver, Director Asset Strategy, Victorian Health and Human Services Building Authority brought her conundrum to the delegates: Integrating Whole of Life Thinking into the Business Case Process. The remit is vast, with 84 different agencies, all with their own boards and CEOs, making for big problems without linear solutions or causes. Deanne gave delegates another perfect metaphor in asset management: the babushka dolls, highlighting how asset management policies and strategies all have to sit neatly inside each other.
After a lunch break, the symposium continued to provide delegates with engaging and informative presentations. Sarah Hannah, Head of Asset Systems from AGL, talked about the energy efficiency as a value of the business, but linked it with the issue of maintenance of feedwater heaters. The feedwater heaters were causing the business to spend more than $20 million per year in fuel and carbon costs. Sarah’s team began to work on the problem, focusing on fixing the culture of the business and asking why, how and what.
Shirley Robertson, Senior Advisor, Queensland Investment Corporation led us through the achievement of operational readiness signoff in large infrastructure projects. Shirley outlined the importance of communication, collaboration, and what each contributor brings to the project.
The last presentation before breaking for afternoon tea was from Daniel Yuen, at Sydney Trains. The challenges highlighted by Daniel reflected engagement from stakeholders and the team itself, assurance and certification scope, and business system integration. To showcase the path to success with the latter, Daniel played a video that highlighted the redesign and launch of the new business system integration, Manage Assets Portal (MAP).
The final three speakers were by now keen to present, having waited all day for their turn. Lynne Jarman from the Asset Planning Unit, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria, spoke on her perspective of implementing SAMPs, PAMPs, and LAMPs in the social housing sector. The assets—public housing, such as high-rise and walk-ups—are diverse and generally ageing, and the department struggles to keep up with demand. The key learnings from Lynne’s presentation rise from communication, to expect resistance but be prepared to deal with it, and to allow plenty of time to implement. A rushed plan rarely takes hold.
Western Power’s Asset Management Principal Consultant, Ankur Maheshwari, delivered an exceptional presentation on risk-based asset management, noting that the two go hand-in-hand. Ankur highlighted transparency as a key driver to implementation, as well as communication. A risk-based approach ensures provisions for asset failure and the consequences thereof, but also optimises and prioritises investment.
The symposium’s final speaker, Hessam Mohseni, Manager Asset Performance and Assurance, Department of Transport, Victoria, spoke on implementing the AMAF into a complex environment. The AMAF requires that attestation and improvements to asset management are covered each financial year. Hessam highlighted the improvement plan for the transport sector, that will address deficiencies and improve functions.
The day closed with a panel discussion. Four of our presenters answered three questions: name the one thing that makes your asset management framework easier to adopt; name the sexiest thing to come out of the sector that has been enabled by digital; and what is the biggest differentiator relating to capability uplift or cultural improvement that would attract new talent? All questions were judged through active participation from all delegates and live scores showed on the screen in real time. Deanne Leaver was declared the overall winner of the panel discussion; a great way to end the day.
The overall agreed theme from the speakers and the delegates was linked to a quote, best attributed to Mark Twain: continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection. If we can work towards continuous improvement in our asset management strategies, I think we are well on the way to building better value to our respective businesses.
Article by: Linda Kemp, Communications Specialist, AMCouncil