In relation to the question on the best way to track O & M cost, Heather gave guidance and discussion on asset management information system.
I was just going to mention that you know it’s something that comes up a lot if the question is also getting at, you know, “What kind of computer program do you want to have?”
And it sounds like a little bit of that was in there of you know, “How would we store this data?”
And I think you need to be really careful before you go purchase a very expensive computer program to do such thing, is make sure you understand what you need and what you want that to do.
So as you’re looking at the kind of information you want to store, you know, whether you want to store O and M cost, you know, maintenance activities, when you’ve done them how much it costs.
If you want to store things like, you know your inventory and life of pipe, and replacement values and that kind of thing – really think about what it is that you’re trying to store and what kind of computer program you would need.
If you’re a very small utility, a spreadsheet may be plenty. You may be able to design a spreadsheet that does everything you need to do and that may work.
If you’re a larger utility, you may want to do something a little more sophisticated and there are any number of programs out there at all different levels of expenditures.
So you don’t want to buy something before you know what you want to do. So I really caution people to think through what it is you’re trying to get out of a computer program, what you want to put in, what you want to get out.
Think through that before you buy something because you know one of the myths that I talked about on a blog that I did on the Inframanage blog site, is really people equating a computer program to asset management.
The computer program is not the asset management. The computer program is a tool to help you think through what you need to do.
So as you’re thinking through replacement cycles, you’re thinking through how you want to do your operation and maintenance. You really want to clearly decide on the kind of tool that can help that thinking process.
So let the thinking process come first. Really look at what kind of information do I have, what kind of information do I want to store, what do I want to get out of it?
If I want to do valuation, what kind of information do I need? How big is my system, how many assets do I have? And then you can start to see what kind of program.
So just that word of caution that as you’re looking for ways to store that information, really think through what it is you’re trying to do and how you’re trying to do it.