2.3.1 Approaches to structuring asset management teams
By creating a formal structure around asset management functions, a common understanding and a common purpose to achieve the organisation’s asset management goals can be created and encouraged. While there is no single ‘perfect’ organisational structure, there are three key features that are characteristic of effective asset management within a road agency:
- recognition of the different roles of the asset owner, asset manager and service provider, as explained in Section 2.1
- core asset management functional unit – to:
- focus on the implementation of the asset management framework
- establish the processes within the asset management business cycle
- coordinate asset management activity
- In larger organisations, there may also be specialist groups or teams – e.g. pavements, bridges, ITS, etc.
- cross-department or cross-organisational ‘virtual’ team(s), the members of which are drawn from different business functions to suit the particular purpose of each team. Members may come from corporate, finance, human resources, information systems, strategic planning, operations and maintenance, etc., as appropriate to team purpose. Team purposes could include:
- developing the SAMP and AMPs
- developing levels of service, program prioritisation, risk management, information management, etc.
- This is a matrix approach with horizontal team responsibilities, but does not change vertical organisational reporting and management lines.
In practice, road agencies may be organised in a variety of ways: centralised or decentralised; modal or multi‑level modal; discipline-centred or function-centred; large, small, and everywhere in between to achieve their goals and objectives. Regardless of how big an agency is or how it is structured, it can benefit from a cross‑organisational asset management approach.
It is also important that the specialist teams have a robust technical knowledge and understanding of the asset groups for which they are responsible – particularly where external resources are used to provide technical inputs to decisions with long-term implications.