In a move that could change the asset management landscape; mining, energy and utilities players convened an inaugural meeting hosted by Accenture in Johannesburg to lay the groundwork for the creation of the South African Asset Management Council.

The initiative aims to harness the collective expertise of the nation’s leading engineers and asset management professionals to help improve and bring best practice to the discipline which will have an impact on growth as well as performance in the sectors.

The necessity of establishing such a council comes from the critical role that maintenance of large-scale assets plays in supporting South Africa’s economic growth.

Today, asset managers are navigating a complex environment characterised by pressures to reduce costs and uncover new investment opportunities while adapting to technological advancements and evolving market demands. The proposed council will address these challenges head-on, promoting strategies that encompass optimum capital expenditure, data-driven decision-making, AI-powered insights, and agile operations.

South Africa’s rich talent pool of engineers and asset management experts is a vital national resource that the council aims to leverage, emphasising the importance of collaborative expertise in elevating the nation’s asset management standards to world-class levels.

Now that broad agreement has been obtained, players will be meeting again in coming weeks to develop the idea further.

Recognising the mining sector and state-owned enterprises as the backbone of the economy, the council will focus on enhancing the maintenance and management of assets pivotal to these industries.

Effective asset management is not merely a maintenance concern but a strategic approach that contributes to job creation, skills development, and the retention of valuable personnel within the industry. It ensures that companies not only focus on the technical aspects of asset maintenance but also on fostering an organisational culture that values continuous improvement and excellence.

During the meeting, consensus was reached on five key attributes of effective asset management: investment in human capital, efficient procurement and supply chain management, optimised warehouse and inventory management, robust management systems, and the cultivation of an exemplary organisational culture. The council’s mission will be to advocate for these principles, facilitating collaboration among stakeholders to elevate South African industry to global competitiveness.

Establishing an Asset Management Council in South Africa could significantly benefit the nation’s economy for several reasons. A dedicated Asset Management Council would focus on improving the maintenance and management of critical infrastructure and assets. This would lead to more reliable and efficient services, especially in key sectors such as mining, utilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

Improved infrastructure reliability supports economic activities, reduces operational costs for businesses, and attracts foreign investment, all of which are crucial for economic growth.

An Asset Management Council would play a pivotal role in identifying skill gaps in the asset management sector and advocating for targeted training programs. By promoting job-specific training and fostering industry cooperation, the council would help create more job opportunities and enhance the skill set of the workforce. This focus on human capital development is essential for sustaining and growing jobs, thus contributing to a reduction in unemployment and stimulating economic activity.

By advocating for good asset management practices, the council would encourage companies to focus on long-term sustainability rather than short-term gains. Effective asset management ensures that assets are maintained and utilised efficiently, reducing waste and unnecessary costs. This approach not only saves resources but also ensures that companies are more competitive and resilient. Additionally, a focus on developing and retaining the right people in the business through rewarding and nurturing talent contributes to a more stable and productive economy.

According to Accenture, this initiative marks a significant milestone in the commitment to advancing the asset management sector within the country. The goal is to enhance the operational excellence of South Africa’s heavy industries and mining sector, ultimately contributing to economic growth and job creation. The challenges industries face are complex, but through this council, there is an opportunity to address them in a coordinated and strategic manner, leveraging technology and data-driven insights to achieve our objectives.

The firm believes that creation of the South African Asset Management Council is a proactive step towards ensuring that national assets are managed with efficiency and sustainability in mind. The council participants are setting the stage for a transformation in how asset management contributes to the economy.