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Inspectioneering Journal

ISO 55000 – What You Need to Know

By Marc Laplante at Meridium. This article appears in the July/August 2014 issue of Inspectioneering Journal

One of the more popular topics discussed and debated vigorously in the asset management community is the potential impact of the ISO 55000 series of standards, which was just released in January of 2014 and is the first set of international standards addressing asset management.  Whenever a new standard is introduced, there is always a bit of angst on the frontlines as to how it will affect operations and what it means for the business.  However, many of the people on the frontlines have been enthusiastically waiting for the promulgation of this set of standards.  Adopting and conforming to ISO 55000 might not be as challenging as organizations think, as many of them will be happy to know that they already have most of the necessary components in place.

Let’s start with the basics of what the ISO 55000, 55001, and 55002 standards are all about.  ISO 55000 contains the overview, principles, and terminology of the standard (it contains the ‘should’ statements), whereas 55001 contains the actual requirements (it contains the ‘shall’ statements).  55002 is a very useful document that provides ideas to apply the requirements that are found within 55001.

The genesis of ISO 55000 is PAS 55, the scope of which is primarily the management of physical assets.  Offering a more comprehensive asset management focus, ISO 55000 is not focused solely on physical assets.  Those of us who participated in writing this standard began thinking more broadly early in the writing process.  We were prompted to think outside of the customary context of physical asset management and include other types of assets including intangible, non-physical assets.  We leveraged many of the important elements of PAS 55 into ISO 55000 which has become a management system standard that will not be unfamiliar to those who have participated in ISO 9001, ISO 14001, or other management systems standards like them.

The practical significance of ISO 55000 is how people interact with assets every day.  ISO PC 251 committee chairman Rhys Davies explained in a December 2013 interview that by understanding the value of each asset in an organization, a company can be better equipped to manage it and make the most of that value.  Standards touch our everyday lives and in ways we often take for granted.  We personally look to standards to guide our own purchasing decisions whether they include toothpaste, home entertainment devices or retirement investments.  At home we are all asset managers to some degree as we personally own assets or at least have personal responsibility over them.  At work, standards are in place that protect our customers (ISO 9001 for Quality), that protect workers (ISO 18001 for OH&S), and that protect the planet (14001 for Environment).  The ISO 55000 series of management standards were developed to protect investments in assets.  The many forms of assets – production machinery, protective functions, reputation, intellectual property, branding, etc. – protect or produce value and therefore themselves need to be protected as well.

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