For asset management to be successful, a road organization must have in place a corporate structure that facilitates the implementation and delivery of asset management by appropriately empowered and competent staff (UKRLG and HMEP 2013). This organizational structure must be fully supported by the leadership.
The assessment of current asset management practices may reveal the need for an important corporate change to attain the potential of asset management. Depending on the differences between actual and recommended practice, the implementation of a comprehensive change strategy may be required, which should be driven by the organization trying to reach the right level of maturity.
The change strategy has to identify what needs to be done and how the organization’s executives will involve and motivate staff in achieving the benefits pursued. Typical processes of this corporate change include integrating asset management into business processes and organizational culture, establishing asset management roles, and setting performance management standards (FHWA Transportation Asset Management Expert Task Group 2013). These standards, in particular, may be supported by agency agreements with the government.
Many road organizations around the world still function based on a silo-like organizational structure, in which the areas responsible for managing the various asset types (pavements, bridges, slopes, and so on) operate almost in isolation, without an integrated vision to achieve the corporate objectives. Asset management aims at aligning and linking processes so that all business units within an agency operate in a coordinated fashion rather than independently (FHWA 2012), based on a unified view of asset management policy and strategy taken at the leadership level (UKRLG and HMEP 2013).
Frequently, adopting the right structure for asset management will present greater challenges than putting to work new technical or analytical procedures (FHWA 2012). This might be particularly the case with developing countries, where the resources and staff necessary for the institutional change may not be available, thus inhibiting the implementation of asset management. In such circumstances, greater effort is usually required from the supporters of change to make the case for asset management.