You might have heard many different opinions about the most important very first steps to take to get started with asset management.
Ross said that what they have learned in New Zealand over the past 18 years, one really needs to do the basics of asset management well.
These asset management basics are:
- Having an asset inventory (or asset register) and keeping it in good condition and maintaining good records as best you can;
- Having a range of condition assessments that are realistic;
- Getting your asset maintenance programs well-sorted-out;
“I think it’s impossible to do good asset management without a good asset inventory and there’s a bit of work in getting to that” Ross said.
Ross emphasized that those three things and nothing else are really the important first steps to start your asset management practice.
Using the football game, as an illustration, Ross explained that if you don’t do your basics better than the other team, you’re going to lose. Winning football teams do their basics very well. And then they do the fancy stuff on top of that.
If you can’t get your ball back to the quarterback then you’re never going to win the game. It is this sort of thinking that one is able to achieve well in asset management.
Initial ways to quickly develop your asset inventory
In the context of US water utilities asset management, Heather suggested that as you’re getting started, there are two ways to start the asset inventory process. These are:
- some mapping (using GIS)
- some picture-taking
Heather said that mapping your system is a good way to get started in asset inventory. This includes those types of assets that are in the field such as the pipe, the tanks, the hydrants, the valves, and the meters.
She added that in the asset inventory process you can include getting the locations of the assets and recording them into some kind of spreadsheet database program or whatever you want to use.
Taking pictures is another good way to get started with the asset inventory. Heather shared that many systems have found that to really shorten the process of developing an inventory, they go out and take pictures of at least what they can see.
In summary, Heather said that you have a map to help you with the asset inventory; the photos to help you with getting asset information and to some extent the condition assessment data.