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Asset Management Strategy


Nick Gill

Nick Gill

You are with like-minded people who have very similar hopes and fears. It is so useful to share and listen to what people outside of your own business are doing.

Verified by an engineer

Nick is a Programme Engineering Manager for Route Services within Network Rail. He manages the machinery safety programme and has responsibility for the compliance and safety of plant and other equipment in depots and work areas.

He has an HNC in Mechanical Engineering, a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology and a Masters in Maintenance Engineering and Asset Management – though not necessarily gained in that order. “Chronologically, my academic career is all over the place,” he laughs. “I was in the Army for 14 years in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and, since I left, I have taken every opportunity to study that’s been presented to me. First of all, I completed my HNC at the same time as gaining a Maintenance Engineers Licence with the Civil Aviation Authority. A few years later, I took my Masters, followed two years after that with a foundation degree and 12 years later still, completed my Bachelors – as the gap was bugging me.” In 2014, he achieved Chartered Engineer recognition with the IMechE.

Nick’s career has seen him maintaining helicopters, working as a reliability engineer for the chemicals industry and managing people and plant in his present role with Network Rail. Safe to say, Nick is always open to the idea of new possibilities and continuous learning.


Why the Asset Management Strategy course?

“I have a Masters in Asset Management but I completed it quite a long time ago, around 2006. Although I try to keep abreast of the discipline through reading, research and my day-to-day role, I wanted to make sure that there wasn’t anything new that I wasn’t aware of. I guess it was more of a refresher for me, but one I was very happy to take part in.

“I’ve taken quite a few training courses with the IMechE and they’ve always been very good. The trainers are all very knowledgeable and experienced. I like how they try to focus the content on your discipline and tailor it to be a bit more specific to your work environment, rather than just being a generic course.

“It was a two-day virtual course. I could have chosen the in-person option in London but remote worked better for me, timewise. I could just find a quiet space in my office.”

What was your experience of the course?

“The pre-course joining instructions arrived about a week earlier. I had a quick scan through to be aware of what was coming my way. Although I have been responsible for asset management for a long time, it didn’t make me feel like it would be a waste of time. I was going to get someone else’s viewpoint on how something could be delivered or incorporated in the workplace.

“It’s quite an intense course and, when you are remote, it can be difficult to remain engaged. But that wasn’t the case, here, and I think that was to the credit of the trainer, Matthew Laskaj. We had plenty of breaks, the pace was good and Matthew had a nice, engaging style. He allowed for what he called ‘Pause for Thought’ moments – a couple of minutes at the end of a topic to take yourself away, think about what you’d just covered, how you would apply that in your work and make a few notes. I found that a really useful exercise.

“There were four of us on the course; all asset managers to an extent, responsible for engineering maintenance or reliability. At the start, the trainer asked us each if there was anything in particular we wanted to get out of the course. He then returned to those areas and focused on them specifically at different points. Matthew made an effort to understand each person’s needs and not just deliver a generic asset management session. That worked very well.

“There was a lot of discussion and interaction, and we had the opportunity to discuss things amongst us as a group. Matthew gave us lots of real-world examples, as well as from his career, plus encouraged us to share our experience, too. The latter was fascinating as you would get ideas or solutions you hadn’t considered. The two days were very engaging and interesting.”

What are the key reasons someone should attend Asset Management Strategy?

  1. “A typical engineer will come from university with an engineering degree and find their feet in a business, perhaps by looking at maintenance and reliability. But there is an actual discipline of technical process management which I don’t think is covered enough at the undergraduate level. So, this course gives an engineer a really comprehensive foundation in the elements of an asset management system and asset management in general.”
  2. “The course introduces ISO 55000, which is the standard for asset management. Attendees can use that in the future to map out their model for their business. It also looks at Industry 4.0 and Reliability Centred Maintenance – these are very important concepts.”
  3. “It is a great networking opportunity because you are with like-minded people who have very similar hopes and fears. It is so useful to share and listen to what people outside of your own business are doing.”

What’s been the impact?

“I think the biggest thing for me, which was a good reminder, is that most asset engineers who support operations or production tend to focus on the maintenance of those assets. It’s because that is what directly supports operations and delivery – engineers are all about the nuts and bolts of things, and keeping assets moving and operational. But, actually, I don’t think we focus enough on the other phase of the asset life – determining what the specification and the quality needs to be, and particularly the end of life and what to do with the asset next. Especially nowadays when sustainability and social value are very much part of the narrative. This course reminded me we probably don’t give enough consideration to those elements.”

Three pieces of advice you’d give future attendees

1) “Have a clear idea of what you want out of the course and make your requirements known to the trainer.”

2) “Make sure you engage with the group – we had some really valuable exchanges through dialogue.”

3) “Use those ‘Pause for Thought’ moments to make notes on what ideas, processes and concepts you can employ at your workplace.”

What’s next?

“I was interested to see how other companies join the dots and link all the requirements of asset management structure together – so it’s visible and tangible, and you can make sense of it. How do they construct their thinking pattern and get it down on paper? Because it’s a massive, connected piece of work. The trainer was able to share some one-page asset management strategies he’d seen in the past and a couple of the guys on the course kindly shared theirs, too, as there was nothing commercially sensitive about them. What I want to do now is see how we do ours and benchmark it against what other people are doing in businesses that aren’t in the railway sector. Are we on the right path? Are we going off on a tangent? That will be very useful.”

Asset Management Strategy (V)

  • Duration:
    12 hours
  • Location
  • CPD Hours:
  • UK-Spec:
    B, C, D, E