Monitoring and improving asset performance

Once ownership of an asset has been taken and it is being managed and operated by an organisation that is not the end of the story.

Whatever the asset is and how it is being used the market which it operates in will change.
In the feasibility and business planning process some of these issues will have been addressed, but it will be necessary to review how the asset is being used and whether some areas are underperforming.

The key to avoiding problems is monitoring and review. This allows both looking at current performance and considering how things might change in the future in the relevant market (eg changes in regulation or supply). If this is done it allows for remedial action to be taken as soon as a problem becomes apparent.

Asset performance can be reviewed and monitored from a variety of perspectives, but to do this requires collection and analysis of detailed data on a regular basis. Dependent on the overall turnover of the organisation or the project this may be needed monthly if problems associated with performance are to be prevented from creating problems with cash flow. Some of the main ways to do this are:

Financial Performance – are the costs and income as expected or are there big variations from the budget projections? Can reasons for underperformance be identified and addressed – e.g. credit control or reducing costs by changing suppliers?

Usage – are some parts of the asset and its facilities being used more than others? Are some of the services/products provided by the asset being used more than others? Is it possible to eliminate those that are underperforming by changing what they provide or the way they are priced? (e.g. changing to shorter hiring sessions/opening hours or equipping a room with IT facilities that can mean it is dedicated to training? Moving from restaurant/cafe provision to event and outside catering?)

User Feedback - Does the data from customers or users indicate improvements that would increase take up of facilities or services?

Most asset owners look to “sweat” their assets – that is getting as much out of them as possible by making costs as keen as possible without affecting quality and making sure that income is recurring. So for example in buildings and land this is getting as many people using and paying to use it as possible, in energy/food projects this is getting as much energy/food generated as possible for the amount of costs involved.