In the previous post, Heather discussed about planning and setting up an Asset Management Program. She pointed out that Ross is going to talk about simplifying asset management.
She asked Ross for anything he wanted to add.
Look, I think that’s just reminded me of the very early days when I was consulting or just before I went consulting, so about 20 years ago. There’s was an authority that I went visit – I knew the guys there and they had a relatively new system.
This is wastewater we’re talking about. Relatively new system and the pipes were 25 years old and they were plastic pipes. So you would think they were going to last about a hundred years.
But they were on a sandy ground beside the beach, big beach area. And so they had not very deep, because they have to dewater every time there. They have lots of pump stations, lift stations.
So they had something like a hundred pump stations, or lift stations, and the pumps had all been installed for 25 years. So they’re all coming towards the end of their life.
So they bought some software Heather, as people often do. And the software said, put all the information about your pipes. And so they’ve been doing that. They’ve been spending heaps of effort doing that.
And the thing is, the real risk and the real failure was around the pumps because they’re all getting towards the end of their life. They’re were all going to start needing replacing.
Importance of capturing infrastructure assets data
And I said to them, well, what about your pumps? Have you got them…oh no no no, look we still got 2 or 3 years to get all our pipes into this brand new system we’ve got. I said well, so where’s all your information about your pumps?
And they said well, we’ve got Bob, the pump supervisor and he has a little black book. I said oh good, he knows his job. They said, you know he’s fantastic because he got so much work to do.
And I said what if Bob doesn’t come to work tomorrow? And all the engineers in the room just stopped and they said – we would be gone. You know, we really really rely on Bob and if he doesn’t come, we’d be in so much trouble.
I said, for me I think I would stop collecting information on my pipes and I start collecting information on my pumps. So that if Bob doesn’t come to work tomorrow for whatever reason, you’d have captured that information.
Doing little techniques to manage asset inventory
And I think, one of the little techniques you can do there is sit down, on one sheet of paper and make a list of all the things you’ve got. So you can say hey – I’ve got wells, I’ve got tanks, I’ve got lift stations, I’ve got pressure pipe, mains, which is sewer. I’ve got big pipes and I’ve got little pipes and whatever else it is that you’ve got.
And I think the easiest thing to do is say, right, based on what I know, is it in the first third, second third or last third of its life. Then you’ll come up with a couple of asset classes that are in the last third of their lives. As simple as that.
And you’ll know about them because some of them are already giving you some trouble. And that’s where you start. And so as you see the difference, if it’s your wells or might be you’ve got some really old tanks up on, you know elevated tanks that are… the stands of the tank that’s just about to fall over, or whatever it is. Start there, because first of all, they’re going to be the first thing you have to replace.
And secondly, they are the thing that’s going to have the highest risk of failure. And that in very simple terms, in a couple of weeks, you can deal with your biggest risks and your highest potential cost.
Just as part of your normal day to day work. Simply by sitting down with your, maybe your senior work crew supervisors and a few of your engineers.
Maybe, you put a coffee on around the lunch table, whatever. You’ll get it out very very quickly. And that gives everybody a bit of direction and starts the conversation in the organization without spending any money at all.
PHOTO CREDIT: Morning Light by David Yu