Rio Tinto – Asset Management Simplification Program

Summary of the project, product, framework

Rio Tinto’s Asset Management (AM) Simplification program is innovative in its approach as it operates the ISO 55001 certified Rio Tinto AM System to manage an intangible asset   – a knowledge asset – the Rio Tinto AM Body of Knowledge (AM BoK).

The Rio Tinto AM Simplification program’s purpose is to:

Provide the Rio Tinto AM Community with access to leading practice asset management information through a simplified AM Body of Knowledge to make good asset management decisions in the optimisation of asset risk, performance, and cost.

Use of Best Practice Asset Management Principles

The objectives of the AM Simplification Program are that our AM knowledge is:

The Rio Tinto AM Simplification Program is designed with best-practice principles and delivered through the following program phases:

  1. Phase 1: Set the Foundation based on ISO 55001: through designing, implementing, and obtaining ISO 55001 Certification of the Rio Tinto AM System on an intangible asset, the Rio Tinto AM BoK, we have built our foundations on best-practice AM principles.  The heart of the intangible asset is the ability to support informed AM decision making.
  2. Phase 2: Operate the Foundation: through the Rio Tinto AM Centre of Excellence (AM CoE) Global Process Ownership & Assurance (GPA) we are operating the certified Rio Tinto AM System to manage the legacy intangible asset, Rio Tinto AM BoK.
  3. Phase 3: Simplify, Embed and Sustain the Foundation: through designing and delivering an organisational management of change program we are adopting and applying best practice AM principles in Involving the Rio Tinto AM Community to Evolve the Rio Tinto AM BoK.  For example, the Rio Tinto AM Simplification program is adopting the following best practices in Asset Management:
    1. Involve Program:
      1. Adoption of the ADKAR Management of Change Framework & Kotter’s 8 step Leadership of Change
      1. People at the heart of the program
    1. Evolve Program:
      1. Adoption of the GFMAM Landscape Areas and Subjects to define the Rio Tinto AM Capability Delivery Model and the competencies required to sustain organisational capability
      1. Development and application of a Content Principles and Style Guide to create a clear, concise, consistent and readable set of artefacts that are digestible and applied.

Degree of Originality and Ingenuity of Rio Tinto Asset Management Simplification

The Rio Tinto AM Simplification program applies a high degree of originality and ingenuity to achieve a sustained value outcome for Rio Tinto.  In being awarded ISO 55001 Certification of the Rio Tinto AM System for the Rio Tinto AM BoK by the certifying organisation, Rio Tinto was advised it was the first organisation globally to achieve certification for the AM BoK intangible asset.

There is a uniqueness and purposeful simplicity in the innovative adaption of an asset management systems approach to traditional physical assets in the AM Simplification program.  The innovation is demonstrated through adapting and applying it to an intangible asset, i.e., an organisational knowledge asset for Asset Management.

Rio Tinto Asset Management Simplification Program and Project Management

The Rio Tinto AM Simplification Program is sponsored by a senior leader of AM, supported by the Rio Tinto AM Reference Group (AMRG) to provide Group-wide visibility and support for the program as a global strategic initiative.  The program is led by the Rio Tinto AM CoE GPA team, supported by an endorsed working group and associated project teams involving the Rio Tinto AM Community.

A high-level implementation plan is being led by the AM CoE GPA team on key activities and deliverables and is being reported to the business.  Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the program are managed internally by the AM CoE GPA team with targeted support by a trusted partner.  Phase 3 is delivered through a trusted partnership with project management support to jointly deliver the physicality of the evolution of the AM BoK by involving the AM Community through effective management of change support.

Value of the Rio Tinto AM Simplification Program to the Rio Tinto AM Community

Rio Tinto is an asset intensive organisation.  Everyone plays a role in supporting our asset portfolio through good AM decision making.

The strategic view of AM is framed around aligning AM decisions to our strategic priorities and organisational outcomes.  At the heart of our AM Concept Model is the notion of Plan, Do, Check, and Act.  This continual view of AM is governed by the AM CoE with direct links to the wider organisation through the Safety and Operations Committee (SAOC) and AMRG.  At the strategic level, and implicitly at the other levels, are the applied principles of AM as described in ISO 55000.

  • Value – We will return value in all our AM decisions.
  • Leadership – We will be innovative in our AM decision making and encourage open thinking to support our future opportunities and challenges.
  • Assurance – Our AM decisions will be made consistently within a framework guided by the AM BoK.
  • Alignment – We will consider our AM decisions holistically and their actual and potential impacts in all directions.

The tactical view of AM is focussed on assuring good AM decision making through a trusted system.  At the centre of the Systems model is the AM lifecycle that supports the AM BoK.  This sub-process supports how we assure that we Acquire, Prepare, Operate and Maintain and Dispose and Improve the artefacts from the AM BoK.  The Systems model plays a key role in linking our organisational objectives with our AM objectives.  The tactical perspective also considers the timeliness and availability of artefacts for the organisation. These priorities may change from time to time.

The operational view of AM is framed around delivering sustainable value in a safe, standardised, and consistent manner.  Good AM decision-making in our operations is demonstrated by the management of risk, maximising performance and optimising cost.  The AM CoE plays a role in assuring that value is realised from the delivery model.  The AM CoE also assures that the artefacts that support and flow through our models remain fit for purpose and are accessible.


The Rio Tinto AM System is a set of interrelated and interacting elements whose function is to establish our AM Policy, AM Objectives and our AM Processes required to achieve the optimal balance of asset risk, performance, and cost.

The elements of the Rio Tinto AM System should be viewed as a set of policies, plans, processes, tools, and information systems which are integrated to provide assurance that AM activities will be delivered.

These elements will be delivered through our AM BoK, our intangible asset that supports good AM decision making at Rio Tinto. The AM BoK contains four “Sub Classes” of artefacts, each representing a different lens in terms of good AM decision making.  The premise of artefacts is they represent value to the organisation whereas a document is just a record.

We will achieve the effective and sustainable delivery of AM value using our collective AM knowledge in our asset related decision making.  Effective AM decision making considers the whole of life perspective of an asset and the system in which it supports.  All AM decisions will consider impacts on our 5 priorities of Safety, People, Cash, Partnership and Growth. 

Our collective knowledge is a key asset which creates a market differential.  Only second to safety and our people, the Rio Tinto AM BoK is the most important asset we possess.  We will establish, communicate, build capability, and assure application of the Rio Tinto AM BoK enabling our Rio Tinto Product Groups to deliver sustainable business and stakeholder value. 

Opinion as to specific contribution made by the nominated individual/ team /organisation

The Rio Tinto AM Simplification program values and requires diversity and inclusion of all internal and external stakeholders and partners to deliver the required outcomes of the program.  The Rio Tinto AM Simplification Program will not succeed in delivering the required outcomes if it were to operate and deliver as an individual entity. 

The author would like to nominate and acknowledge the specific contribution of the following bodies in partnering to deliver the Rio Tinto AM Simplification program:

AM Legacy Knowledge

  • Contributors: Employees and members of the Rio Tinto AM Community past and present

Phase 0: Program Sponsorship

  • Program Sponsor: Adam Bezuidenhout, Chief Advisor Global Process Ownership & Assurance, AM CoE
  • Senior AM Leadership Support: Rio Tinto Asset Management Reference Group

Phase 1: Set the Foundation

  • Rio Tinto AM System Design: Andrew Goodwin, Practice Lead, AM Systems, AM CoE
  • Key Contributor: Glenn Ingram, Practice Lead, Asset Integrity, AM CoE
  • Key Partner: Martin Kerr, Structured Change

Phase 2: Operate the Foundation:

  • Rio Tinto AM System Operation: Andrew Goodwin, Practice Lead, AM Systems, AM CoE
  • Management Review: Asset Management Centre of Excellence
  • Knowledge Management Systems: Kathryn von Frankenberg, Principal Advisor Knowledge Management, AM CoE
  • Asset Management Working Groups: Chairs – AM CoE, Product Group Working Group Representative

Phase 3: Simplify, Embed and Sustain the Foundation:

  • Involve & Evolve Program Design: Martin Kerr, Structured Change
  • AM Simplification Working Group Chair: Andrew Goodwin, Practice Lead AM Systems, AM CoE
  • Evolve Program Delivery: Evolve Working Group; AM Working Group Project Teams; Key Partner: GHD
  • Involve Program Delivery: Involve Working Group; Rio Tinto Corporate Relations
  • Knowledge Management Systems: Kathryn von Frankenberg, Principal Advisor knowledge Management, AM CoE; IS&T

General comments

The following histogram shows the AM journey Rio Tinto has been on since the 1990s until present day, now formalising its approach through a management systems approach.

This journey can be broken down into 5 distinct time periods from the 1990s:

  1. 90s was the genesis of AM in Rio Tinto with Asset Utilisation formed providing internal consulting services supported by a good library of diverse guidance notes.
  2. 2000-2005 whereby Rio Tinto implemented Asset Management Process Fundamentals supported by group wide AM Systems Governance, AM Technology and Global AM Metrics.
  3. 2005-2010 whereby Corporate AM was formalised providing stability through the launch of the AM Manual and Rio Tinto AM Capability Programs.
  4. 2011-2015 whereby AM in Rio Tinto was disrupted by the Global Financial Crisis and the Rio Tinto market response plans; AM Systems and AM Governance was dissolved.
  5. 2016 to today whereby AM was formalised and standardised through the launch of the AM Standard, AM Group Procedures and the AM Framework; AM Systems & AM Governance was re-instated supported by AM Assurance programs and AM Capability Programs and key Metrics, supported by the ISO Certified Rio Tinto AM Systems, the AM Simplification of AM, and our Group AM Knowledge Hub.

To recap, the purpose of the Rio Tinto AM Simplification Program is “To ensure the Rio Tinto AM Community has instant access to leading practice AM information to enable good AM decision-making in delivering the optimum balance of Asset Risk, Performance and Cost”. We recognise the maintenance and evolution of the AM BoK is critical to its success beyond its creation, and that the Rio Tinto AM Community must own and contribute to the AM BoK to retain its relevance and usefulness. Our AM journey has grown over the last 30 years; however, our knowledge journey has just begun.

Our next chapter on this knowledge journey is to innovate our body of knowledge, bringing it to life, transitioning from a static “library based” asset to a dynamic, living and breathing asset that is futuristic in its technology approach in equipping the maintainer and asset management practitioner and professional of the future with the right information available today to make the best decisions for tomorrow. 

Attach photos, plans, reports etc that demonstrate particular features of the project or framework

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