Victor Diez was runner-up in the 2018 IAM Individual Achievement Awards for Asset Management. His is a story about how the initial seeds were sown, a ‘business case’ established, how top management commitment was obtained, and how a group-wide rollout is being achieved – across multiple organisations with different cultures, starting points and environments.
The ISA Group is a fast-growing multi-national utilities company, based in Medellin, Colombia, with over 40 subsidiaries and partnerships spread across 8 countries in Latin America.
In 2011 there was pressure to seek improvement opportunities and the senior executive team gave Victor Diez the task of investigating “Asset Management” and its potential to better manage the physical asset portfolio. He started by reviewing the current level of ISA’s Asset Management maturity, finding widespread lack of awareness and inconsistency. Two years of extensive research on the subject followed, included visits to and from other organisations in other countries, and gathering a library of reference material and case studies. Victor was also investigating sources of expert support to guide and support ISA on its Asset Management ‘journey’.
Asset Management Journey
In 2014 this journey then began, by establishing realistic goals and a customised roadmap to deliver them. This directly linked Asset Management improvements to the corporate ‘ISA 2020’ strategy for growth, performance and sustainability. It created a vision for a new standard for managing the organisation’s assets across Latin America. This was no small ambition, since ISA has many subsidiary companies, operates in different countries and regulatory regimes, and has an energy transmission asset base with over 44,000 km of High Voltage lines, transporting more than 250,000 GWh/year of power to more than 130 million people in 8 countries. ISA also builds about 5,000 km of new lines every year, representing annual investments of over c. US$3 billion.
An AM Project structure was established, with a small head office team and Victor Diez as the ‘thematic leader’. This was supported through a 3-year contract with long-experienced subject experts, The Woodhouse Partnership (TWPL). The first priority was then a rolling programme of awareness and engagement in Asset Management across the Group. This recognised that any successful transformation programme needs to progress from awareness and understanding before it can deliver effective changes and competence.
Driven by a belief that good Asset Management would solve many problems and bring improvement opportunities, The ISA´s AM Project have challenged existing practices, created new understanding, developed AM leaders and facilitators, and enabled very large and tangible performance benefits for the organisation. Over a 6-year period (4-year in the AM Project), ISA has delivered a successful multi-national rollout of good Asset Management practices across Latin America.
The programme has won the ‘hearts and minds’ of the organisation, established new ways of working, and has delivered Capex, Opex, revenue, risk reduction and other substantial benefits. Asset management is now integrated and recognised as a discipline and core competency.
Now, as the first group of subsidiaries are reaching their first major milestones of certifiable Asset Management maturity, ISA is focussing on how best to consolidate, secure and continually improve their group-wide Asset Management capabilities, with new targets raised to the ‘Excellence’ level.
Lise Tarpe-Johansen, Programme Leader for HOFOR’s Asset Management project, was awarded the 2018 IAM Individual Achievement Award for ‘Transforming asset management despite the absence for any burning platform, business urgency or regulatory obligation’. This summarises the HOFOR journey so far.
HOFOR is Denmark’s largest utility company and was facing a number of major changes. The population is growing and there is an increasing demand for services. At the same time, the climate is changing, and regional rainfall is increasing, so there is a growing need for sustainable ways to handle extremes of rainwater and wastewater, and benefit generations to come. HOFOR is also behind the Copenhagen municipality’s ambitious plan to be a carbon-neutral country by 2025, including turning the City of Copenhagen into the world’s first carbon-neutral supplier of energy.
The motivation to adopt asset management usually requires a pressing business need, a regulatory or other external obligation, or a passionate senior executive ‘sponsor’. HOFOR had none of these: it achieves good service levels, has generally benign regulators, adequate financing and a collegiate leadership group. Nevertheless, and largely owing to the insight, influencing skills and tenacity of the programme manager, Lise Tarp-Johansen, the company adopted a major transformation programme and introduced asset management concepts and business processes, including new competencies, culture and tools, simply ‘because it is the right thing to do.’
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