Asset Management at Real Journeys
While a group with several independent companies, it is the Real Journeys’ engineering team that is responsible for managing and maintaining all of the group’s assets. This includes 37 marine vessels (plus tenders, rafts and kayaks), 68 coaches (plus 204 other fleet assets) and 162 infrastructure assets such as buildings, utilities, wharves and moorings.
While the asset portfolio is relatively modest compared to other asset-intensive businesses, two factors make asset management more complicated as well as more critical, which is why robust processes and systems are essential. Firstly, the remote location of most of the group’s businesses and assets means they need to be very self-sufficient – both in terms of maintaining and repairing assets as well as in terms of accommodating visitors and staff. The remoteness also means long travel times to reach some of the assets, so relatively small jobs can take a long time. Secondly, given that a lot of their assets are for passenger transport, the potential risks associated with asset failure are particularly high.
Asset management in a growing business
Real Journeys was founded in 2008 and has grown significantly since. In 2011, the decision was made for engineering to become the centralised custodian of all assets for the Wayfare group. Two years later, with significant growth plans ahead, the department decided it was time to get serious and put an asset management plan into place. In the following years, the group acquired and started several new businesses, and the asset portfolio grew significantly. By 2015, the engineering department was managing a budget of about 15 million.
It was around this time that the team realised that the then-current asset management systems and process, which were based on Excel spreadsheets, were no longer sufficient for the fast-growing business. As Business Development Manager (Engineering), Jayne Lewis, puts it, “Cracks were beginning to show. We had several close calls where we almost didn’t get work done in time, and it was 80-90% reactive. It was becoming quite a serious business risk for us.”
The company needed a more efficient way to manage the diverse workload of repairs, maintenance, correctives and compliance needs, and meeting the hundreds of concessions they have working in that part of the world. So in 2015, the decision was made to invest in a mature asset management solution.