Background and objectives

In November 2016 the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) approved SAAMA’s application to register a professional designation – “Certified Senior Asset Manager” (CSAM) – in terms of the national qualifications framework. This emanated from collaboration of leaders in AM from countries across the globe, including South Africa, linked to the preparation, and launch in 2014, of the international standard (ISO55001) on the management system requirements for Asset Management (which was also adopted in SA as a SANS). Leveraging collective global experience, the document sets out principles to be adopted by asset-intensive organisations to most effectively and efficiently manage assets.

The formalisation of AM designations aims to recognise the essential role that PEOPLE perform in ensuring that any such system is appropriate and enabling it to deliver. This applies to the public sector – providing basic services that support social well-being and facilitate economic growth; as well as the private sector – enhancing business performance and maximising job opportunities.

Importantly, this initiative of SAAMA presents an opportunity to:

Raise the profile (and therefore pride and motivation) of people responsible for the foundational performance of infrastructure (that may often be over-looked until things go wrong); and

Provide a cross-sectoral and multi-layered career structure in which young people can enter and confidently grow according to their capabilities, or in which domain specialists can be equipped to better contribute to overall organisational objectives.

Indeed, successful delivery is the result of effective integration of the contributions of the various members of the AM team…..each applying their specific competencies, aware of the impact of their contribution to the whole.

Naturally, the shape and form of any given AM team will be dictated by the nature and scale of the organisation’s business, as well as its operating environment. It could comprise, for example, engineers, accountants, financiers, planners, project managers, operations and maintenance managers, change managers….and their respective support teams.

A Working Group comprising volunteers from SAAMA has prepared a general framework of key asset management roles considered to be typical of asset-intensive organisations, large and small.

Designations framework

Typically, such organisations would have domain-specific teams led by a person competent in that field. They would inform organisation-wide policies, strategies, and plans with respect to that domain (and who may in turn adopt aligned domain-specific policies, strategies and plans). In small organisations, these may not be teams, but individuals, and indeed domains could be combined in different ways. In the following figure, this role is depicted as the CPAM – the “Certified Practitioner in Asset Management”.  And members of the CPAM’s team are depicted as CAAMs “Certified Associate Asset Managers”. A CPAM could, for example, be in charge of a team responsible for project management, asset accounting, or maintenance management.

Importantly, the contributions of the respective CPAMs need to be effectively integrated, covering the whole ambit of AM (as contemplated in the ISO)…..and this is the role of the CSAM – “Certified Senior Practitioner in Asset Management”. It is not a requirement that the CSAM role is performed by a person who is an expert in all domains, but rather by a person who has insight and clearly understands the essence of the contribution of each domain to overall performance. The CSAM takes professional responsibility for the overall management system (for the organisation’s entire portfolio, …..or, in large organisations, at least a significant part of it).

The CFAM “Certified Fellow in Asset Management” does not reflect an operational or management role per se, but is rather recognition, by the industry, of strategic leadership contributions in the field of AM – new applications or development of the AM body of knowledge, or in its application in complex operational environments.

The above framework provides general context to the role of the CSAM, the first designation to be approved by SAQA. And, has contributed to the formulation of the hierarchy internationally. The hierarchy has been informed by the “LARF” framework that provides general guidance on linking roles, levels of responsibility, NQF levels and years’ experience.

There may be refinements or changes to the framework going forward (for example consideration of a fifth designation – executive manager role). However, SAAMA considers it important to move forward, and to rather refine progressively than delay the process.

Interested volunteers are invited to be assessors.

SAQA’s requirements for individuals to be allocated the CSAM designation can be viewed by visiting this link, as well as the draft submission requirements. Please note the deadline for applications, volunteer assessors and comments are 27 April 2018.

Click here to access the online application form.