In addition to explaining “How to Setup an Asset Numbering System”, Heather and Ross shared some important steps to achieve an efficient asset numbering system.
Try out the asset numbering system on some assets
Heather said that one thing to think about is we often hear stories of utilities when they start their numbering system. And they have some pretty good fights over what people want things numbered or they start down a path and they’d decide it didn’t quite work.
So keep in mind when you’re first starting, try it out on some assets first. Pick a little section of your utility, try out the numbering system, make sure you’re happy with it, it works, people understand it, it does what you wanted to do. And then go back numbering everything else.
So before you sink a ton of time and effort into it, pick a subset after you kind of decide on the numbering system you want. Try to number all those assets, see how it goes and if you had some difficulties with something new, adjust your numbering sequence accordingly and then go forward and number the rest of your assets.
So that you can just make sure it’s working and it’s doing what it is you want it to do before you spend all kinds of effort on it.
Keep it simple
Ross shared that Albert Einstein many years ago made this statement: “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.” And I think that applies to a lot of asset management and certainly the numbering systems as well, he said.
And there’s another one there from Steve Jobs which is “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
And I think again, right across asset management and also how you do numbering. Let’s keep it simple.
I don’t know if you have this tendency to do this in America. But when we first started at numbering treatment plants and treatment facilities and pump stations in New Zealand, we had people that wanted to go right down to the bolts on the Gibault (or flange) joints, on the cast iron pipe coming out to pumps.
And so you know, if you go into one level too much detail you die because you can never maintain it and you spend too much effort trying to get to that level of detail.
So one of the things with numbering systems is to have that really robust discussion at the start of the process, why do we need this information and what are we going do with it?
If maybe you can’t answer that question well, don’t collect that information. Come up a level. And a really good guide is, at what point do you replace stuff?
So coming back to the bolt on the Gibaults (or flange) -type argument, you should not be tracking bolts through your system.
If you’re doing that, you don’t need to be doing asset management because you got too much money basically.
But you might want to be tracking at a whole of your Gibault (or flange), including bolts level if it is a stock item.
So it’s just the level you manage information at. And if you go down a level too much, you just bury yourself into too much information.
The guys are just spending all day filling out forms or databases and you’ll just end up churning information as opposed to doing work, which is actually what you supposed to be doing during the day is delivering the service, doing the work, and keeping assets working.