Nobody ever says ‘Thanks’

“We donʼt get the recognition we deserve” the council’s maintenance guy told me. “Nobody ever says, ‘Thanks!’” 

But why would they when you have just told them your organisation has an insurmountable renewal gap in its road assets?” 

We have to wonder if presenting problems without solutions is really what asset management is about. What if a brain surgeon told you that you have a brain tumour but nothing could be done about it, would you say ʻthanksʼ? Or would you be inclined to downgrade his expertise, seek a second opinion and/or wallow in the misery of the diagnosis? If so, why should councils be any different?

If, however, your brain surgeon said: ʻYou have a brain tumour, it is tricky, but we can operate and there is an excellent chance that, if you follow the regime that I will give you, you will recover well.ʼ Would you now say a heartfelt ʻThanks!!’ Indeed you would. Again, why should councils be any different?

We now have models that enable easy prediction of future asset renewal. It really is ʻplug and playʼ, we put in the raw data and, hey presto, out come the answers. These projected asset renewal costs will generally be far above the capacity of the organisation to finance, so we cannot stop there. Providing this ʻraw dataʼ is NOT the end of the Asset Management task, merely a preliminary data input.

A Solution?

Suppose now that you say to your council. “This is the current state of the asset renewal gap. The figures represent the cost of continuing to do things the way we have always done them in the past. This problem has built up over many years and it will take a number of years to correct, but with your support and using the asset management tools and knowledge we now have, we can reduce this gap to manageable levels.

As a bonus, what if, at the end of the year, you are able to recalculate the gap and demonstrate that you have made, say, a 10% or 20% reduction, and that, with actions already in hand, you are on track to reduce the gap even further in the following year, do you think that they will now say: “THANKS!”?   Of course.  You have now done something worth thanking.

Asset Management is not about presenting problems – it is about addressing them.  

This was ten years ago. Where are we today?