Heather and Ross continue to discuss the Important Actions in Tracking Life Cycle Cost of Assets.
Heather provides some examples taken from real utility infrastructure management situations she had encountered. Ross gives the possible benefits of tracking maintenance program implementation.
And I would say too that, some of the systems that haven’t previously collected that kind of data but then started to collect that data start to see that they’re spending their time, as kind of a human nature sort of thing. We spend a lot more time with assets we can see, touch, and visualize.
So a lot more time gets spent on things like pump stations, the outside of tanks where you can inspect the outside and a lot less time get spent on pipes and wells where it’s a lot harder to see them.
Until you start tracking where you’re spending your time and your money, you may not be aware or as conscious of the fact that you’re not universally giving equal routine maintenance around the system.
You’re kind of giving more maintenance to certain assets and less to others because it’s easier to do some of the maintenance than it is to do others. But if you start tracking that, that gives you the chance to say, you know what, we are really ignoring our wells. Or we haven’t looked inside tank.
I actually talked to somebody who hadn’t look inside their tank for about 30 years and that’s not really where you want to be. You want to know actually what’s happening inside your tanks.
So once you track again, you start tracking things on an asset basis or an asset class basis you start to see where you’re spending your time and your money. And you can shift that if it seems like you’re spending it in the wrong places or you’re ignoring some assets.
The one case, if you see multiple pumps and you can see why, that you’re spending way more money, that tells you about that pump versus the others. But it can also tell you assets that you are completely ignoring and saying we haven’t look at our wells for ten years, we’ve basically done no maintenance.
So we really ought to get on that because we haven’t been pulling pumps or we haven’t been checking draw downs or we haven’t been cleaning out our screens or anything like that. And that can cause a problem later.
So again, it will help you really understand what you’re doing within your system.
You had an example recently around air release valves didn’t you?
We had a utility that talked about some of their air release valves and that was their biggest problem within their whole system where they were spending a lot of time with leaks in the winter time. It turns out they just didn’t have a good hand on the type of maintenance that was needed to be done on those valves or how it should be done.
And as they developed a program to, say, well we need to spend some time there because that’s our number one problem. They could develop a whole maintenance program that said, okay we need to this in the fall.
And there’s other maintenance on the spring to make sure they were ready in the winter to try to prevent these breakages of their air release valves. They were able to design a whole program around, what to do with our release valves because that was their number one expenditure.
As these things were breaking they were spending a lot of time and effort. It was probably their number one thing. And they could design a program that would try to prevent that expenditure.
And coming back to the original question. When you get ahead of the curve and you get on top of that preventative maintenance so you’re not getting all the call-outs in the middle of the winter and all the problems associated with that.
That really starts lowering your annual cost and your long-term life cycle cost of delivering your service.