ISO 55002 – The “How To” Of The New ISO 55000

PART 3 – What’s in ISO 55002?

The ISO 55000 series of standards was officially released on 15 Jan 2014. It comprises 3 separate standards, and we’re covering all of them in a series of ISO 55000 blogs.  This blog is part three of four, and you can read the previous two blogs by following the links below.

ISO 55000, Asset Management – Overview, Principals and Terminology
ISO 55001, Asset Management – Management Systems – Requirements
ISO 55002, Asset Management – Management Systems – Guidelines for the Application of ISO 55001.

This third paper focuses on ISO 55002, the “guidelines”.

Inside ISO 55002 you will find the same structure described in 55000 and 55001 including the use of the same paragraph numbering as 55001 to make cross-referencing easy. I won’t reiterate the content of the second paper on ISO 55001 here – it is recommended that it be read before reading this.

If you are familiar with the UK PAS 55-1 and 55-2 specifications, then you will recall that 55-2 (also guidelines) not only cross-reference 55-1, they include the actual text in red boxes. It is possible to read-only PAS 55-2 and know exactly what is said in 55-1. While ISO has done a good job of cross-referencing, it has not included the exact text. You cannot probably get away with buying only the ISO 55002 document on its own, but (like PAS 55) the authors have made it easy to avoid jumping back and forth between documents.

ISO 55002 does a very nice job of melding the high-level requirements of ISO 55000 (including general explanations of “why”) with the more specific requirements of “what” is needed from 55001 and added considerable value in the form of “how” and helpful tips, ideas, and pointers on what to consider.

ISO 55002 could almost be used as a training course because it gives sufficient detail of how to go about meeting the requirements of 55501 to inform someone who is somewhat new to asset management.

In reading ISO 55002 it is possible to get a good understanding of why the standards exist, what they require, and what sort of things are needed to implement them. Having said that, it is no “idiots’ guide” – the reader must understand good management practices and would certainly benefit from having a technical background, given the subject matter.

In ISO 55002 the reader also gets clarification on what sort of documentation is/is not needed and where it may be found. Although there is talk of Policy, Strategic Asset Management Plan, objectives, etc., there is clearly no requirement to build a bureaucratic empire. In pointing out where information may be found or included ISO 55002, clears up (at least in this author’s opinion) the confusion that leads to criticism of PAS 55-1 and 55-2 being overly bureaucratic.

While the information must be available and documented, there is a great deal of latitude on just where the information resides. What is likely to be the biggest challenge to users of the standard is that whilst they may well be doing much of what the standards call for, in terms of action in the field, they may not have it well documented. Tying it all together will require some effort, as it did for PAS 55, but there are a number of helpful tips that will help keep the level of effort reasonable.

Most of ISO 55002 expands on the requirements of ISO 55001, adding descriptive text, examples, tips, and things to consider. It is not prescriptive – there will still be a need to interpret the requirements and put them into action in a way that makes sense to your organization, but the standard goes a long way towards making that easy. It’s not quite a checklist, but you could use it as such with a bit of caution. If anything, it has more in it than many organizations will need because it is generic. If it were tailored for specific industries it might be a shorter document.

The areas where the most elaboration on the requirements of ISO 55001 can be found are the areas where experience (much of it with PAS 55) reveals that companies are likely to need the most help.

Documenting processes, etc., was a weak point in efforts to implement PAS 55. Companies had processes, often good ones, but they were not well documented nor consistent across the organization. While they were doing the right things, they were not doing them the same way in all cases, nor could they show an outsider what they did.

Similarly, record keeping was typically weak. In PAS 55 term “records” is used to mean information that proves compliance (e.g.: readings, measurements, etc. that are recorded as evidence), while “documentation” meant the descriptions of what should be done (e.g.: policy, procedures…). In ISO 55000/1/2 that distinction is not quite as clear. All of it is referred to as information and the records are “documented information”.

All in all, ISO 55002 is a very handy document that delivers exactly what its title suggests – guidelines. It is neither prescriptive nor confusing and it provides a lot of useful tips and ideas. Anyone considering implementation of the ISO 55000 series standards and especially those who are leading the compliance effort within companies and other organizations will find ISO 55002 very useful, perhaps the most useful document of the three.