In the previous post, Heather and Ross started discussing how to start an asset management plan. This post is the continuation of their discussion.
Don’t build a massive inventory at a highly detailed level
Ross said that the interesting thing about where not to start is trying to build a massive inventory at a highly detailed level before you do anything else because you might never get there.
And most senior managers on board if they are seeing the results for three or four or five years, they’re going to can the program. Maybe even sooner than that.
So, I think this idea of starting in a place to solve a particular issue is an excellent idea.
I was saying to Heather earlier I can remember from your last election campaign. There was an ad running who you want to answer the phone at 3 o’clock, and from the asset management point of view, it’s a different question.
If the phone goes off at 3:00 in the morning, which asset would you hate it to be?
Somebody ringing, saying hey, this asset has failed, or is it the pipe under the interstate? Is it the tank up on the hill? Is it that old pump in the ball field that you should have replaced ten years ago?
And if you can think your way through it and say, if I had a 3:00 AM phone call, what asset would be the worst one for me ever to have to deal with?
That can be the right starting place because what you just have done is that’s my highest risk. That’s going to be an awful mess.
And then you can go, well, okay, now I’ve thought about that, now…
- I can go, find some information,
- do some inventory on that asset group or do some condition and inspections,
- talk to my operators or my supervisors,
- sort out a management plan for that asset or group of assets, and now I’ve dealt with the problem.
You don’t have to do everything at once
Heather stressed that you don’t have to do everything at once, just like Ross said. Like, we don’t need 5,000 bits of information about every asset to begin the program, she said.
Heather explained further:
You can always add to it over time, and you can continually improve the accuracy and things like that. You don’t have to be caught up in having the perfect asset management program or the ideal inventory.
It’s just about doing things that will help you make better decisions and help you save you time and energy and resources in one area that you can use in another. So, a lot of times, when we go out to utilities, there are many inefficiencies in what they’re doing.
So as you change your practices to help you be more efficient, you gain time that will make your life a little bit easier, a little bit better, but then you can do the next things.
So you can start small and build it over time, and then you can start simple and make it more complicated as you go.
Some systems they never need to be very complicated. If you’re a tiny utility, keeping it relatively simple can be just fine. If you’re a very large utility, over time, you’ll be a little bit more complex, but you don’t have to go crazy with that stuff.
Start with mapping your assets
And another place to think about starting is if you don’t have a mapping at all, the kind of a logical place to start is to build a simple map for yourself. And there’s a lot of tools out there nowadays.
I mean many, many things you can put on a tablet or a phone and you can go out, and you can get all kinds of data. So it’s a straightforward way to build a map for yourself that will help you know where your assets are.
So, thinking about just logical, simple starting places and somebody asked about small systems.
That’s often a starting place for a small system is if you don’t start with answering a question as we mentioned, you might need information about valves or meters or hydrants or something like that, then start with a map.
It’s a nice simple logical starting place that you can build off of and do a lot more with.
Add basic information as you do your mapping
Ross added that if you can while you’re mapping, how old is that asset? Is that 100 years old? Is it 50 years old, 20 years old?
And just your best guess of that with the map is you can do an awful lot of planning off with just that bit of information.
And the thing again not to do is trying to get that down to “submillimeter” accuracy. Some people might be tempted to do that.