A participant asked, “We have little to no records on the system assets so we have recently started doing an inventory of manholes, valves, etc. How do you recommend numbering the assets? It seems a bit overwhelming.”
I’m going to give you an answer and turn it over to Ross.
There are basically, two ways you can do it. And there’s probably… or two ways that I hear in the US that people have done it.
And then I’m sure there are ways in New Zealand that they get into it so like I said, I’ll let Ross weigh in as well.
Giving random number
But we here, one method is just to give it its random number and not worry too much about giving it a smart number. Letting either the computer choose it or you choosing just independent random numbers just like 126574 or something.
And many computer programs will randomly number assets long that way and some people swear by that approach saying, it’s easier. It doesn’t tie an asset to a location. So if you move an asset to one place to another, it doesn’t cause any problem.
Develop a numbering system
The other way to number your asset is to develop a numbering scheme. That’s what we call smart numbering scheme where maybe a series of numbers or letters that identify those assets. And they will tell something about where the asset’s located.
Something about what type of asset it is and then maybe a number because there might be more than one of those assets.
So for example if it’s a well pump, as the main street compels, maybe you have WP for well pump, maybe you have MN main street and maybe 001 because maybe there’s 3 of them.
So it has a series of numbers and letters that end up giving you some information about that particular asset.
Some people swear by the latter approach, some people swear by the former approach. I think either one can work.
Where people had difficulties because they move asset around a lot. In some larger utilities do that a lot, where they pick one pump from say, the main street pump house and move it to the other street pump house.
And now the “MN” doesn’t work anymore, so that’s not where it is but you don’t really want to have to renumber that asset.
In a smaller utility, there’s a lot less movement of assets around so it probably works a lot better to have the “locational” or smart numbering system to smaller utility than the larger utility where again they’re trying to move things and back and create some difficulties.