Research in the Service and Support Engineering theme is concentrating on asset management. As organisations are facing increasing pressures to deliver more for less, it has become of key importance that they develop effective asset management capabilities in order to achieve their aims. The potential reward is certainly very high, and the awareness of opportunities that lie in asset management is spreading across industries at an accelerating rate. Our research is investigating how life-cycle decisions about physical industrial assets (such as machines, vehicles, tools, or equipment) can be improved throughout an appropriate asset management system – leading to increased capital and performance value, as well as minimised costs/risks related to predetermined asset outputs or service levels.
In 2010 we:
- Developed an approach to evaluate the different asset information management approaches in current use.
- Continued development of a method to value information used for maintenance decision making.
- Outlined a risk-based methodology to quantify the impact of asset information quality.
- Created a mathematical solution for optimising inspection and maintenance strategies for assets with multiple and hidden failure modes.
- Produced a hybrid approach for assessing information quality.
- Held workshops to identify and prioritise challenges in service and support engineering, to be addressed in the first years of the Alliance.
In 2011 we:
- Continued research to optimise maintenance and inspection strategies to reduce cost, increase availability and improve the value of complex engineering assets.
- Produced tools to support practitioners' work to assess and improve service data quality.
In 2012, the Theme will have a particular focus on performance measurement and performance architectures for asset management. The performance measurement system includes the measures that an organisation uses to feedback information about the performance and health of the physical assets and asset systems into decision-making processes, as well as measures of the effectiveness of the asset management system itself. We will be exploring what performance measurement systems can best support the delivery of asset management activities. It is fundamental that performance measures and targets correlate to the business, vision, goals and stakeholder requirements. On this basis, we will also set the ground for a performance architecture which – by defining who, in the extended organisation, has to come together with what information to make what decision and at what point in time – forms an essential part of understanding the linkages between performance measurements and stakeholder goals.
We are looking at how companies design asset management systems- a key part of services like rail transportation that depend on through-life management of expensive fleets of equipment. Working with our industrial members we will investigate how current practice goes beyond theory and documented procedures, and how the resulting asset management system contributes to an effective integrated service.
The case studies conducted have highlighted a number of critical learning points with regard to the provision of asset management services. A briefing paper outlining the key findings so far is under preparation.