Decoding the ISO 55001 Asset Management Standard – Understanding ISO 55001 Clauses

Understanding ISO 55001 clauses is vital for building a compliant ISO 55001 asset management system. Understanding ISO 55001 clauses is easy with a logical flowchart

The meaning of the contents in the ISO 55001 asset management standard must be correctly interpreted and properly addressed in your asset management system

To fully understand the implications of an ISO 55001 clause, it is necessary to strip each sentence, phrase, and sub-point down into its logical elements

Learn how to turn the text in an ISO 55001 clause into a logical flowchart that lets you fully appreciate the implications and build the correct application in your asset management system


Understanding ISO 55001 clauses can be difficult. To build a ISO 55001 compliant asset management system (AMS) you must satisfy the intentions in ISO 55001 asset management requirements. The meaning of the text in ISO 55001 can seem like a secret code you must first break. Even the ISO 55002 asset management guidelines are often not particularly helpful.

For example, take ISO 55001 clause 6.1 in Section 6, Planning, noted below. What do the sentences and sub-points mean? What must you specifically do in your asset management system to fully comply with the clause and sub-points?


6 Planning

6.1 Actions to address risks and opportunities for the asset management system

When planning for the asset management system, the organization shall consider the issues referred to in 4.1 and the requirements referred to in 4.2 and determine the risks and opportunities that need to be addressed to:

— give assurance that the asset management system can achieve its intended outcome(s);
— prevent, or reduce undesired effects;
— achieve continual improvement

The organization shall plan:

a) actions to address these risks and opportunities, taking into account how these risks and opportunities can change with time;

b) how to:

— integrate and implement the actions into its asset management system processes;
— evaluate the effectiveness of these actions.


There is a simple text decoding method that you can use to tease-out the meanings in the clauses of the ISO 55001 asset management standard. The technique uses a logic flowchart to understand the intentions described within a clause of ISO 55001.

When you read any ISO55001 clause, you can identify three types of content:

1) a processing requirement (i.e. do something),
2) an input into the process (i.e. get information, history, or data), and
3) an output from the process (i.e. do actions; create something; or provide information, history or data).

The figure below is an example logic flowchart used for understanding ISO 55001 clauses. It shows a logical breakdown of ISO 55001 Clause 6.1. Each individual processing requirement indicated in Clause 6.1 and its sub-points, is put on separate notelets in red hand-printing. These are sequentially ordered to create a logical process. Every notelet is a process step to complete for ISO 55001 compliance. The inputs mentioned in the clause are put above the process steps. These are shown on the adhesive notes with blue hand-printing and tagged with the word Input and an inward facing arrow. The outputs from a process step are in the underside notelets in black hand-printing and tagged with the word Output and an outward pointing arrow.

Understanding ISO 55001 clauses in the ISO 55001 asset management standard is best done with a logical flowchart

Figure 1: Decoding ISO55001 Clause 6.1 Logic Flowchart

The red printing on each notelet in the core process are the words used in Clause 6.1. Each Input is either stated in the Clause, or it is implied by the logical necessities of the core process. Each Output is either stated in the Clause, or it is implied by the logical necessities of the core process.

Putting this flowchart together for ISO 55001 Clause 6.1 took nearly an hour.

When you develop your ISO 55001 AMS, you need to address each adhesive note’s comments. By satisfying what is written on a note you will be complying with ISO 55001.

Once you have a clear understanding of what you must do to comply with ISO 55001 asset management requirements, then ISO 55002 asset management guidelines becomes a much more useful document.

Flowcharting a ISO 55001 clause is a forgiving approach. You may accidentally leave out an input or an output or even a process step, but because the flowcharted process must logically mimic all that is written in the clause, when you cross-match the ISO 55001 text to its applicable notelet, you will easily spot if you have a gap in the logic, or you missed a consideration, and correct it. Turning words into an image and proof-checking the logic is the ideal ACE 3T standard operating procedure solution.

Photograph your flowcharts and keep a copy of the workings done to comply with the requirements for each process step, each input, and each output—they are evidence that you planned your asset management system and took into consideration everything asked of you in ISO 55001.

Mike Sondalini
Lifetime Reliability Solutions
8 April 2017