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The top 3 issues caused by a poor asset register, and how to overcome them

5 April 2019 by Add Energy

A company’s asset register is incredibly important, but it’s often an overlooked source of data when considering the opportunities to optimise the efficiency of a facility.

In this blog post, we share common issues that result from a poor asset register, and provide actionable advice on how to overcome them in your own business.


What is an asset register?

Officially, the definition of an asset register is: “A list of assets owned by the company. The list is used to store the book value of equipment and calculate depreciation.”


While the above statement is correct, the asset register has evolved over time to become so much more than this.

The data stored within it is now used in various formats by most key stakeholders in an organisation. It is therefore essential that the use, and subsequent format and content, morphs to suit the needs of all stakeholders, and strict boundaries, rules and standards are put in place to ultimately control the data within it.

Why is it the asset register so important for maintenance teams?

From a maintenance perspective, the asset register is the repository for all equipment, holding all critical information relating to them in a structured manner so that the maintenance strategy can be implemented efficiently and effectively.

Without an accurate and solid asset register, the building blocks for good decision-making around maintenance strategy, execution and spares management will not exist.


Therefore, ensuring the data is accurate in both content and structure, will enable you to utilise it to its maximum potential, allowing you to manage your asset to the best of your organisation’s ability.

As an operational excellence solutions provider, Add Energy has come across common issues derived from a poor asset register that has a proven direct impact on ineffective maintenance management. Read more to understand what they are, and how to overcome them...

1. I don’t have a clearly defined rule-set for what should be included in my asset register

An undefined ruleset detailing the equipment “ins and outs” is a common cause we see in relation to a poor quality asset register.

Through the course of the asset’s lifecycle the equipment contained within it will change, in terms of volume and technical detail, as projects to execute modifications, upgrades and decommissioning take place.

When it is unclear on what is to be included in the asset register, it will result in it either being too bloated or lacking the granularity to effectively track performance, apply maintenance and manage spares.

2. My data content is inconsistent, and I have no standards in place to provide definition

Inconsistent data entry can pose significant issues including:

  • Difficulty interpreting your data descriptions
  • Inability to analyse like-for-like data for meaningful outputs

A typical example of inconsistency that we see is members of an organisation abbreviating pieces of equipment differently. An example is:

  • PUMP
  • PMP
  • P
  • P-

This means you must search all possible connotations of the equipment to make sure you find all the records needed.

3. We have a poor management of change process

Missing equipment tags though poor, or no, management of change is another common issue we see. Usually, this is because when new equipment is added over the life of the asset, the asset register is not updated accordingly.

If you’re not keeping your asset register up to date when equipment is added or changed, it will misrepresent what is on site. And if equipment is missing, you’ll be unable to assign maintenance. This could lead to serious issues down the line, such as failures or accidents.

The three statements above all contribute to a weak asset register which will ensure you are never able to achieve maintenance excellence due to poor, inaccurate and missing data.

Step-by-step solutions

Set the standard:

If you haven’t done this already, you need to decide what you want in your asset register. This needs to happen before you do anything.


Below, are just a few of the questions you should ask, during the creation of your standards document.

  • Who are the stakeholders we need to involve in the creation of the document?
  • What level of granularity do you want to achieve?
  • Which structure do you want descriptions created to?
  • What standards do you want to adhere to (NORSOK, ISO, etc.)?
  • How will the structure and content of the asset register assist with the implementation of maintenance?

A desktop asset verification:

If there any unknowns around whether the  drawings and equipment list represent the physical plant, conduct a Desktop Asset Verification (DAV) to gain an indication of the gap.

This involves extracting the tags from the drawings and conducting a gap analysis against the existing asset register.

If significant gaps are identified, it will justify the need for a physical verification of the equipment on site in order to verify its location and collect key data that is missing from the asset register, such as make, model, manufacture, location, descriptions, etc.

Conduct a physical verification of the equipment:

Initially, we would recommend that asset maintenance teams carry out a Physical Asset Verification (PAV) on a representative sample of equipment. This can be a few P&IDs, system or a large skid.

By conducting an initial comparison between the physical site, the P&IDs and the asset register, you can gain some insights into the type of gaps that exist within your facility and its documentation. Doing this in the first instance will help define the boundaries of the problem you face. For example, if the drawings are out of date, it would be a futile task to build the asset register form these.

AL_Quotes_top_3_issues4If you do identify a gap, you can then decide - is this gap sufficient to warrant additional expenditure? If the gap is relatively small, you could potentially fix this yourself. But if you identify a significant amount of missing equipment, external support may be the most efficient solution.

There are a couple of ways to carry out the PAV. If you want to conduct this internally, you could add this to part of your day-to-day operations - with the team taking drawings with them when executing operations and maintenance tasks and ticking off the equipment and collecting key information as they go. This will, however, detract from your team’s normal duties and liquidating the work in a piece meal format can result in quality issues.

Alternatively, you can utilise a third party specialist to manage the full program from initial validation through to final consolidation and list of recommendations for improvement.

Update your asset register accordingly:

Once either a DAV or PAV, or both has been conducted you can update the asset register, based on the findings and additional data collected. This update must be done aligned to your data standard.


Optimising your asset register may not fix all these issues instantly, but it is the place we’d recommend you start. It will give you the grounding required to build a productive and efficient maintenance schedule, track financial expenditure, compare trends between facilities and all the other requirements of the stakeholders. 

If you need support on any of the activities above, Add Energy has the experience and capability to help you and your team. If you’d like more information, or have a specific question, you can fill in the form below and a member of our team will be in touch.


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