AES Mong Duong has been awarded the ISO 55001:2014 Certification by Bureau Veritas Certification Holding SAS – UK Branch for the asset management system of the 1,200 MW Mong Duong 2 BOT Thermal Power Plant in Quảng Ninh Province, Việt Nam. With this certificate, AES Mông Dương becomes one of the first companies in the country to be recognised for its effective asset management system.
The following is an interview with Mr Kevin Pierce, Mong Duong II plant Manager about the international certification which is expected to empower the company to boost its operational excellence by managing physical assets efficiently
Could you tell us about the management certificates achieved by Mong Duong II thermal power plant, including ISO 55001:2014?
At AES Mong Duong, we always strive to be the best in all that we do and to perform at world-class levels. ‘Highest standards’ is one of our core values and we hold the solutions we deliver to global standards of excellence. We have invested our resources in quality and standards improvements and this work is demonstrated in the various awards and certifications we have achieved.
These include the certification on international environmental management standards ISO 14:000, Occupational Health and Safety Management Certification OHSAS 18001:2007 and Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems ISO 45001:2018. In the last six consecutive years, we have been successful in maintaining world-class safety standards and our efforts were recognised with the 6th RoSPA Gold Medal in 2020 by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Most recently, we were awarded the ISO 55001:2014 Certification for the asset management system of the 1,200MW Mong Duong 2 BOT Thermal Power Plant in Quảng Ninh Province, which represents the latest international best practice in the management of physical assets.
Looking back, I can say that these awards and certifications are the result of our continuous striving for excellence, and our commitment to continue working to improve ourselves and our business operations.
This is a fairly new certification in Việt Nam, and AES Mong Duong is among the first companies to receive the award. Why did your company choose to apply for ISO 55001:2014, but not other management certifications or tools?
The certification was introduced globally in 2014, but you are right that it is fairly new in Việt Nam, and it is not easy to get the certificate. In order to explain why we chose to apply for this certificate, one must understand the importance of asset management. In my view, asset management is about knowing what we want to achieve with an asset and how to make it happen, in addition to assessing risks associated with that asset. It is about having a long-term strategy.
ISO 55001 establishes specific requirements for implementing and maintaining an asset, it also supports to improve that asset via an Asset Management System (AMS), which helps manage and mitigate risks, while benchmarking performance across all sectors. The certification is exactly what we need as it helps to set up the processes for managing our assets efficiently and boost our operational excellence. It is a natural fit and very much aligns with one of our core values – ‘highest standards’. The certification again shows how we truly put our AES values into action and through excellence in our work and our people.
During the application for this certificate, what difficulties did the company encounter and what was the most important factor in its success?
The certification is the outcome of two years of hard work, during which our company conducted various initiatives, including planning and documentation of assets and collecting operational data following ISO 55001 standards.
At the beginning, it was not so easy to understand the ISO 55001 Standard’s clauses and structure, so we needed to develop the plant team’s knowledge in line with our power plant operation and maintenance practices. One of the challenges was establishing the required documents and implementation evidence to fulfill the certification audit requirements.
Things have to be done step by step. First, we developed the team’s knowledge and capacity regarding the certification, as well as new operation and maintenance practices. Later, after the documentation, it took a lot of time and effort to develop a team of certified internal auditors within the plant’s personnel to conduct the internal audit of the asset management system and to identify and close the gaps prior to the third-party certification audit.
I think for us, it is the dedication of the asset management team which includes members from various departments, and the commitment of leadership that made the application successful. It is truly a team effort. Therefore, I am proud of the achievement and the team’s hard work to obtain the certification.
When this certification is achieved, how will the company have an advantage in the marketplace and in comparison with other companies in the energy sector?
We see benefits both internally at AES Mong Duong, and externally among customers and other stakeholders. Internally, the advantage of applying this ISO standard is the effective and efficient management of short-term and long-term objectives to improve sustainable performance by effectively managing assets and risks. It improves financial benefits for the organisation without compromising the environment, health, and safety.
Also, asset management program implementation with combined, prioritised, and coordinated plans enables the organisation to communicate its objectives to all employees, understand departmental and individual goals to be aligned with the organisation goals to achieve them before the end of the year.
During the audit and preparation process, the team has been equipped with in-depth knowledge of our assets and become more confident with new asset management skills. As we have been promoting the standard internally, the application has also facilitated stronger collaboration across different teams and encouraged teamwork for a shared purpose.
In the long-term, the certification will help enhance our reputation externally as a well-managed business. It shows our customers and other stakeholders that we always aim for the highest standards in our daily operations in order to fulfill our mission of providing much needed electricity for Việt Nam.
In your opinion, what is the role of this certification toward the improvement of productivity in the company? What would be your advice for Vietnamese businesses who are planning to apply for this certification in the near future?
As I mentioned earlier, the certificate provides us with an Asset Management System, which is a strong framework that drives best practice in asset management, empowering us to boost our operational excellence by managing physical assets efficiently. Improved asset management controls thus will ultimately lead to improved productivity and business performance.
ISO 55001 will play a pivotal role in the successful management of our assets in the future and therefore I think other Vietnamese businesses could consider applying for this certification. The application might not be a simple task, but with the benefits it brings to the organisation, I think it’s worth the effort.
The certification, however, is just the start, and the main benefit is in enabling us to improve continually from here. As it is valid for the next three years, now we will work further to maintain the ISO standard requirements in the routine and non-routine operation and maintenance practices, in order to retain the ISO 55001 certificate in the coming years.