And one last topic area I want to cover in the last few minutes that we have is we have several questions about asset management plans, what those are like, and implementing your asset management program.
So, I did want to touch on the asset management report and to be really, really cautious not to view the asset management plan or the asset management report as the end game. Like the goal that you are trying to get to.
So, you’re going not to have a very successful program if you are viewing it as I’m going to do all these things, so I can get my report written, and then I’m done.
A report is merely a communication tool to tell, to explain what you are doing, why you are doing it, think through the process. It provides information to others about how you’re doing it, why, and that sort of thing.
The report is just a “bleep” along the way. It’s not the end goal. It’s not the endpoint.
So be very cautious about viewing your plan that way and only view it as sort of a method of summarizing what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, but your asset management program is going on the whole time.
It goes on before you write the plan, after you write the plan, during the plan, and it keeps going.
And Ross, maybe you can talk a little bit about how New Zealand’s experience of going from the 500-page plan to the much briefer plan that explains in greater detail what people are doing.
Yes, when we started, we put everything in them. We had all the history of the utility and all those sorts of things. And that was just a data graph the first time through. And I think we were up to about the seventh iteration.
And in the electorate of Australia and New Zealand, you will see a reference to a three-year planning cycle. And it is essential to emphasize our political cycle in Australia and New Zealand, that’s three years.
We call the boards, our communities, municipalities, and our federal governments on a three-year cycle.
Here in America, that’s a four-year cycle. If you are going to get into a process of updating, I would suggest four years.
The UK is for five years. They have a five-year cycle for asset planning because your politicians wanted to have input into the service levels, the decision-making.
Back in 2006, our auditor general, whose department ordered all the asset plans, came back to the industry and say, look you guys, this is an excellent set of asset plans.
You’ve got stunning technical detail and analysis, but nobody can understand what’s important. He came up with this phrase that “you need to capture the right debate.”
And we’re still trying to do that because it’s a perfect challenge. The thing is you can get buried in a massive amount of technical detail and analysis, optimize decision-making analysis and planning, and all those sorts of things.
Still, at the end of the day, the community and the decision-makers almost need one page or even less that says:
- What are the other key issues that they are going to knock us around?
- Where are the big dollars coming up?
- Where are our significant risks? Those sorts of things.
They’re not usually going to read 50 or 100 or 200 pages of technical details to get the answer to that.
So, we’ve started putting that other information into technical reports and things like that referencing those reports from the asset plans but trying to distill it down the same saying; this is the big picture stuff.
And then make your decision, making off that, what are the big decisions we need to make? What is the right debate that we need to have around how are we managing assets going forward?
Living the asset management dream
And one last thing we want to talk about, we only have a couple of minutes left is I love this question, how do you make the leap from creating the document to living the asset management dream?
And I thought that was a fabulous question. That’s what we have been talking about as you don’t want the document to be a piece of paper.
You want the document to be, how am I going to change my behavior so that I am actually making a difference?
As an example, with a utility that had a long-term operator, the gentleman was retiring, and one of the issues was he had a lot of knowledge on his head about where assets are, and he was going to leave. So, all that knowledge was going to go with him.
So, they wanted to develop a map and an inventory, so many that knowledge could be put into a format that others could use.
As the gentleman is developing this map, we became aware that they will often spend two to four hours looking for assets. And in one case, up to 12 hours looking for an asset because they didn’t know where they were.
After they decide to do this plan and develop a map and an inventory, it takes them less than ten minutes to find all of their assets.
So just living the dream is really about like putting into practice what it is you are trying to do.
If I want to know where my assets are, I put that into practice so that I can then spend a whole lot less time looking for my assets.
You can then ask yourself the question, well, the two hours I was searching for assets maybe twice a week for 52 weeks, that’s hundreds of hours a year that I now have bought myself that I can do something else.
Maybe I could do maintenance, or I could do operational tasks, or I could do cleaning or inspections, or whatever it is that you wish you could do but never have time for. Now have that opportunity to do something else.
So, I think living the dream is really about just putting these simple things into practice, like apply common sense, as we often call asset management, as it’s only used common sense.
The kind of things that you think, oh, I should have been doing it that way all along.
Yes, you never really thought about it. You never had the time to think it through, so now you do.
So just use your common sense and go from there.