8 November 2019
All organisations have physical infrastructure—from humble offices to grand public buildings such as schools and hospitals, and from roads and railways to water treatment plants, pipelines, and energy generation facilities.
Organisations also tend to have strategies. These overarching goals often relate to costs and reputation. But sadly, many organisations struggle to control their costs and protect their reputation because they fail to manage their physical assets in line with their strategy.
Jake Ansell, Professor of Risk Management at the University of Edinburgh Business School and Manjit Bains, Director of the Asset Management Business School, explain how managers in businesses and organisations can turn this situation around.
Rather than seeing physical assets as a burden on business, they're actually key to transforming it. If you're someone who manages assets for an organisation—for example in the utilities sector, at a public sector agency or arm of government, or at a private firm with multiple locations—you will know how easy it is for high-level strategy to become detached from what's happening on the ground.
Many organisations are realising the importance of building asset management capability in-house rather than hiring consultants. To do this effectively, asset managers need up-to-date knowledge. Equally important is the ability to communicate the benefits of asset management to colleagues across the organisation.
Building this capability means refreshing managers' skills so they can transform the organisation from simply caring for its assets to using them to deliver on its corporate strategy. In short, they can help bring about a culture change.
The alignment of physical infrastructure assets with an organisation's strategic direction makes absolute sense but it requires the relevant people to step up. A new course we're offering will give managers and leaders the latest thinking in the field and help them apply their learning to the real-world situations that they face. By responding to demand, we hope to tackle this key area of concern.
The managers and leaders who take this course will emerge with a mindset that will help their organisation make better investment decisions so physical infrastructure really can be classed as an asset and not a liability.
Professor Jake Ansell, University of Edinburgh Business School
Manjit Bains, Asset Management Business School