Gladstone focuses on a New Era for Asset Optimisation


Reducing cost, increasing asset availability and optimising operational reliability are ongoing challenges for business leaders across a range of industries.

So the Gladstone Engineering Alliance’s (GEA) industry update this month was particularly timely, bringing together industry leaders from across the mining, oil and gas, utilities and transport sectors for a candid discussion on asset optimisation in a low cost environment.

The event, sponsored by Berg, saw approximately 70 people from the region come together to hear from a panel of industry leaders including:

• Stephen Lewis, Gladstone Power Station Manager Engineering and Projects;
• Bill Sugden, SIRF Roundtables, Manager Industrial Maintenance;
• Derek Berg, Chief Executive Officer – Berg Engineering, and
• Howard Thomas, International speaker and Principal of Thomas & McKinlay Consulting, who facilitated the discussion.

This was an important discussion for industry and the panel delivered by tackling some tough questions and providing insights into both the current challenges and the potential solutions for efficiency and productivity gains.

There was robust discussion around the theme of cost cutting verses a focus on innovation and what constitutes innovation. Procurement practices and the benefits of outsourcing to specialist expertise were also hot topics generating debate; along with rotable asset management and whose balance sheet the asset sits on.

Consensus was achieved around the need for greater collaboration to drive innovation and add value and for small and medium enterprise to position themselves as more cost effective than larger corporations.

Operational excellence professional and panel session facilitator Howard Thomas said it was the responsibility of all business leaders to pursue excellence in their business.

“Efficiency and productivity are core business. The pursuit of excellence is a driver of innovation. But innovation isn’t about the latest software options or the latest piece of technology. Innovation by definition is fundamental step-change that provides a benefit,” he said.

“Why do companies insist on carrying out activities in-house that could be carried by more efficient providers? Tapping into specialist expertise provides many benefits, including efficiency, a level of understanding that enables innovation and takes costs out of the business.”

That is, innovation can simply mean changing the way you operate.

Berg’s innovative asset optimisation program (AOP), which facilitates the end-to-end management of agreed rotable asset classes, was used as an example of how shifting your thinking can change the way you operate.

“Our AOP is specifically designed to maximise equipment performance and reliability which in turn reduces operating and repair costs,” said Berg CEO Derek Berg.

“Taking cost out of production is essential for business. So maintaining and repairing or reconditioning of the rotable elements of assets makes sense.”

Traditionally Rotable Asset Management (RAM) is the realm of the large Original Equipment Manufacturers. However, Berg is applying the same approach to a range of smaller rotable assets to great effect.

Derek said using Berg’s extensive experience of working across a range on industries and the knowledge accumulated by working on a wide range of assets within each industry had provided significant insights around common parts.

“This gives us the ability to take the spares off our client’s balance sheet and the depth of technical know-how that enables us to optimising the equipment we are working on.

“Because we service process companies in a number of different areas we are also learning about the environments in which the equipment is being used. Some working environments are harsher than others, and we can employ that knowledge to manufacture parts accordingly and improve the lifecycle of the asset.”