responsible stewardship of the nation's aging Infrastructure
Last Modified 7 August 2010
Asset Management Defined
The most common definition of “Asset Management” is found in a publication entitled “Asset Management Primer” which was published by the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Asset Management (FHWA 1999):
“Asset management is a systematic process of maintaining, upgrading, and operating physical assets cost-effectively. It combines engineering principles with sound business practices and economic theory, and it provides tools to facilitate a more organized, logical approach to decision-making. Thus, asset management provides a framework for handling both short- and long-range planning.”
The foundation for asset management and, thereby, for Responsible Infrastructure Stewardship, are the goals and objectives of the steward’s own organization. Thus, Responsible Infrastructure Stewardship, working through the asset management process is a means for helping the steward’s organization to achieve its goals.
A clear example is a fire department goal: ‘‘to limit the risk of fire, injury and property damage associated with fire, explosions, or other emergencies.’’ A corresponding departmental objective may be that “the first emergency response vehicle shall on the scene of an emergency incident within 7 minutes from the time of dispatch over 90% of the time.” The data and analysis tools of an asset management strategic process can guide the fire department, municipal government, and local politicians in giving proper weight in resource allocation decisions to aging fire station garage door needs in relation to other, competing organizational needs, thus, optimizing the use of limited funds and minimizing the long-term consequences of deferring repairs. Examples abound in public and private organizations. Many are less intuitive, but just as deserving of responsible treatment.
In a nutshell, ‘the fundamental aim of asset management is to maximize benefits for asset users while minimizing organization costs. The second decade of this century is witnessing a growing number of public and private organizations rely on asset management as a tool for strategic level administration.