Aligning Lubrication Excellence with ISO 55000

Alejandro Meza, Noria Corporation
Tags: lubrication programs

In previous issues of Machinery Lubrication, the asset management standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) known as ISO 55000 was discussed in regards to how it can provide a framework for supporting the deployment of lubrication excellence. This article will go further by explaining how the requirements for ISO 55000 can be aligned with the features of lubrication excellence to provide a deeper understanding of how a world-class lubrication program can be developed to fulfill these standard requirements, leading to greater machine reliability and eventual ISO certification.

ISO 55000 was released in 2014 with the goal of improving the value realized from an organization’s assets. The standard consists of a series of three documents: ISO 55000, ISO 55001 and ISO 55002. The series defines the requirements and guidelines for the effective design, implementation and maintenance of an asset management system. Implementing ISO 55000 can give an organization the confidence that the right things are being done in its asset administration to support the organization’s mission and objectives, such as the production of goods and services.

Defining an Asset and Asset Management

According to ISO 55000, “An asset is an item, thing or entity that has potential or actual value to an organization. The period from the creation of an asset to the end of its life is the asset life.”

Asset management can be defined as the “coordinated activity of an organization to realize value from assets.” It involves the balancing of actions, costs, opportunities and risks related to the desired performance of assets to achieve organizational objectives. In other words, asset management relates to all actions involved in a plant to have productive machines, technologies and systems.

Lubrication Excellence as Part of Asset Management

A good asset management system considers the machine’s complete lifespan. In general, the elements of an asset life cycle are shown in the table below.

Note that the stages listed in the table are interrelated and aligned to other company systems and goals. An asset management system must also be supported by strong managerial commitment, organizational culture, training, metrics and continuous improvement. A favorable business environment is another critical factor when implementing an asset management system.

Lubrication Strategy as Part of ISO 55000 Asset Management

It’s easy to see how a well-structured lubrication strategy has a positive impact on nearly every stage of the asset management cycle and how an effective lubrication program can help you achieve your organizational goals. A lubricant could even be considered an asset that contributes to the operational goals.

Keep in mind that the ISO 55000 series of standards do not specify how to do things but rather what should be done. This allows an organization to achieve the requirements by following its internal procedures. Audits can be conducted to compare current practices to the standard asset management requirements. The requisites can then be converted to guidelines for a lubrication strategy so the lube program, tasks and actions can be aligned with the standard.

Following is a brief description of the ISO 55000 series guidelines organized into seven sections: organization, leadership, planning, support, operation, performance evaluation and improvement.

Organization - Asset management objectives must be consistent and aligned to organizational objectives. Stakeholders should be identified and satisfied, and the scope and boundaries of the asset management system defined.

Leadership - Asset management leadership must be put in place by top management. The asset management policy should be defined and reviewed, and the asset management leadership should be given the authority, responsibility and resources to accomplish the identified objectives.

Planning - Risks and opportunities should be identified, and plans put in place to address them to support the achievement of organizational objectives. These integrated plans must detail what will be done, when it will be done, by whom, and how it will be undertaken and evaluated. These plans should include risks and opportunities and how they change over time, achieving a balance of risk, cost and performance.

Support - The resources required to accomplish these plans should be made available, along with the information systems to support the process. This information must be documented, controlled, communicated and auditable.

Operation - Plans, implementations and processes should be reviewed and controlled, including any activities that are outsourced or encompass change management. Evidence of the organization carrying out the plans and processes is required.

Performance Evaluation - Asset performance and the effectiveness of the asset management system should be monitored, measured, analyzed, evaluated and auditable. Top management should review the asset management system for suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.

Improvement - Non-conformities or incidents related to the assets, asset management or asset management system must be documented and evaluated, and corrective action taken. Asset management and the asset management system should be continually improved.

The table below illustrates how some lubrication practices correlate with the general asset management requirements of ISO 55000.

With proper interpretation of the standard, a lubrication strategy can be aligned to fulfill these guidelines. It is important to note that there are other ways to fulfill the specific ISO standard requirements, so different approaches than those described may be accepted during the certification process.

Final Thoughts

ISO 55000 not only applies to production facilities, but it can also be implemented for different asset types in diverse organizations, such as airports, hospitals, offices, etc. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with these standards, which can be viewed on the ISO or American National Standards Institute (ANSI) website. For some, ISO 55000 may sound too difficult to achieve, but it can provide an excellent benchmark for goal setting or starting your journey toward improved reliability, especially if your organization wants to be competitive and pursue certification.

As you gain a better understanding of ISO 55000, you will realize the value it offers in implementing a proper asset management system as well as a world-class lubrication strategy that can help you reach your goals.


BSI Standards Publication. BS ISO 55000 Series. Asset Management BS ISO 55000:2014, BS ISO 55001:2014 and BS ISO 55002:2014.

Fitch, J.C. (2016). “Will ISO 55000 Change the Definition of Lubrication Excellence?” Machinery Lubrication, Vol. 16, Issue 3.

Cooperleaf White Paper. (2016). “A Best Practice of ISO 55000: Asset Investment Planning and Management.”