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A recipe for good asset management decisions – Part 3

This is the third in a series of posts from the AWA’s Asset Management Specialist Network. Read part one and part two.

Imagine if you received your water bill from your utility with, just under the total amount due, the following detailed cost breakdown:

  • Water Variable Usage Charges
  • Water Fixed Access Charges
  • Sub-Optimal Asset Management Decision Charges

Inconvenient truth?

Part three: Decision authority

To meet his budget, the project manager decided to get rid of the hoists above the bioreactor mixers in the design. The maintenance team would have to hire a crane each time they needed to work on one of the mixers. That decision reduces the CapEx, but would probably increase the safety risk and the OpEx for the next 20 years.

Was the project manager the best person to make that decision?

Clearly and formally defining decision-making roles and responsibilities is another key ingredient of good decision making for any organisation. Who prepares the decision (investigates the issue, identifies and assesses the available options), who must be consulted, who must agree, and who has the final authority?

Competence and stake in the outcomes should be the main drivers when it comes to decision authority. Good decisions are more likely to happen in a culture of transparency, where competence speaks louder than status in the decision making processes, where people impacted by the decision have their say, and where checks and balances are in place to limit the effects of incentives and biases conflicting with Bill’s interests (meet demand and compliance with a tolerable risk at lowest total cost).

The asset management decision roles, responsibilities & authorities can be formalised in a simple RACI matrix or equivalent.

If you have any questions about the Asset Management Decision Series, please contact Zoubir Ait Mansour, Marion Derochet or Norbert Schaeper.

This article was written on behalf of the AWA’s Asset Management Specialist Network.