This article was first published in Aged Care Today

The benefits of continuous improvement

Having an Asset Management Plan (AMP) is essential for aged care and retirement living organisations of all sizes, as it outlines how their assets are managed, maintained and ultimately replaced.  It’s certainly a hot topic here in Australia with recent changes to NSW Legislation for retirement village operators, and many organisations are rushing to simply ‘get it done’. While it’s a great first step to create your AMP, it will only be of value to your organisation if it is carefully managed and continuously improved.

Five biggest dangers of a set-and-forget approach

  1. The AMP won’t be right the first time. When you first create your AMP, you are attempting to collate retrospective information that is often unavailable of incomplete. As time goes by and new assets are added to the AMP, the quality of data and information improves. It’s only with continuous management that the AMP will provide value for the organisation. 
  2. Overpaying or under-servicing. Certain maintenance tasks are mandated in frequency. But for most maintenance tasks, it’s up to the organisation to determine what is best for your set of circumstances. This will vary between different facilities and assets, and it will also evolve over time as your facility and equipment ages. Data analysis and frequency analysis by someone who understands the facility and the equipment is vital to drive continuous improvement and avoid under or over servicing.  
  3. Health and safety risks. When assets such as fire extinguishers expire or miss a service date, risks go beyond the legislation; they put the safety of staff and residents at risk. Even tasks like gutter cleaning can seem trivial, but if your facility is in flood or fire prone areas these simple maintenance tasks are vital to minimise risks to property and people. 
  4. Unmanned or ‘dead’ AMPs. It’s important to understand AMPs are (or should be) live documents, with constant additions and updates to data and detail. If it’s not managed, asset data becomes inaccurate and irrelevant very quickly. If you are going to invest in implementing an AMP, you want to reap the rewards which you can only do with up-to-date data. 
  5. The plan does not align with the organisation goals. We ask our aged care clients to submit their property goals and broader organisational goals to us so we can integrate them into the AMP. This way, costs can be managed and reported on, and the AMP is not wasting resources on elements that don’t align with the future of the organisation. 

Top three benefits of an ongoing AMP

  1. Improved performance from your assets. Plan your maintenance schedule and avoid constantly paying for urgent repairs. Waiting until something breaks is a great way to eat into the maintenance budget. In an asset heavy industry like aged care and retirement living, it’s vital to take a structured approach to asset maintenance to minimise breakdowns and prolong the longevity of your assets.
  2. Data and Insights at your fingertips. Once you have your Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS) implemented and actively managed by a qualified facilities management professional, you get access to a whole new world of data related to your maintenance that can be measured and (most importantly) improved. With a carefully managed AMP, you know exactly what you have, what you have spent on it and when it may need to be replaced.  
  3. Outsourcing your AMP management can free up your team’s time. Ensure compliance and performance while freeing up your team to focus on delivering quality care and service to your residents – without worrying about failing assets or replacement cost surprises.

Who can help manage your AMP?

Most AMPs are now run through a CMMS, which sounds quick and easy. However we inform all our clients that purchasing software to manage your facility’s assets is just the beginning. 

Owning or subscribing to a CMMS program does not mean the AMP program is fully automated, and it won’t turn your team into maintenance experts. Ongoing resources are required across implementation, maintaining and improving the system. Ongoing investment is the best approach to get a positive return from your asset management plan. 

MDFM specialises in being the end-to-end maintenance solution for our aged care clients. If you’re looking for an outsourced asset management partner with 40 years’ experience in construction, maintenance and asset management, you can turn to MDFM.