On 21 January 2020, Ross Waugh and Heather Himmelberger held another Ask-the-Experts webinar titled, “Infrastructure Asset Management – How to Start.” Inframanage.com presents the webinar topics through a series of blog posts.
Explaining the “Getting Started with Asset Management” slide in the previous post and coming back to the question, “How do you start?” Ross said that the simple starting point is to put an inventory together.
He added, “And then start working your way to your service levels, your demand and your risk and your life cycle management of your assets.”
I think that’s excellent advice. So if you haven’t already done your asset inventory, that’s a perfect starting place. So I have another exciting slide here.
This is Superbowl a couple of years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles and Ross why don’t you tell us why you might have picked this slide about the Superbowl to put up here?
Yes, one of the things that, and this is not just in the US, in New Zealand, worldwide. I originally came up with this slide for a conference up in Canada that had US delegates.
When a sports team wins, whatever sport it is, they win because they do the basics very, very well.
And in terms of Superbowl, obviously, if you don’t get the ball back to your quarterback and the quarterback doesn’t get the ball forward to the guy who’s sprinting up the side of the line, or the running backs or whatever, you’re not going to win, you’re not going to score points.
And the point is that the teams and basketball’s the same, baseball, the teams that they were exceptionally well, do the basics very, very well.
They keep the sports scoreboard ticking over, and then they do the fancy stuff on top of that. And yeah, their really exceptional plays are buildup off a platform of doing the basics of their game exceptionally well.
And asset management is like that. And I think often we want to do the fancy stuff. But the reality is you get 80% of your gains from 20% of your work, and that’s the basics.
They are rock-solid operations, maintenance, capital, and replacement planning, and it doesn’t have to be fancy, but you do have to do it well, consistently well.
And so that analogy, I think all of us understand sports, winning and we’ll yell at the television if our team’s doing the basics poorly. What are you guys thinking? How can you possibly muck that up?
And asset management is just like that. Do the basics well consistently, and you make the “yards” and you’ll get the gains that you need and the results that you need.
If you don’t do the basics well, the opposite happens, and you just end up in a world of trouble, and often it only compounds.
So that’s the sports picture. We chose the Eagles because the current Superbowl we see who’s coming up. We don’t want to favor one team or the other.
Yes and another thing to think about, I think it just goes along the theme Ross talking about is that it does not have to be for a small community, a very complicated thing. And the smaller you are, the less complicated it needs to be.
And we have some discussion about that later on as well. Again, keep it simple. You know do your inventory as a starting place, figure out what you need to know.
Figure out what the basics are, how you are doing it, and keep it simple so that you don’t feel overwhelmed and just feeling you don’t know what to do that you don’t do anything.
I mean just starting simply can really get you, just doing the inventory alone will get you so much further than you realize.
Then you’ll start to see benefits from asset management just from doing an inventory and figuring out what you have and what’s going on.
Because you can’t do inventory without laying your eyes on your assets and thinking about them, and that process alone starts you in a perfect place.
And look very small systems maybe they only got a hundred, two hundred lengths of pipe. You don’t need an all singing all dancing pieces of software to manage an inventory. Just a straightforward spreadsheet or database will do that for you. And you can get going quickly with that.
If in the future, you decide you need something a lot more sophisticated, you can migrate across to that at that time. I think sometimes we try to make the job much harder than it is, and I know the EFC, you’ve got some excellent guides on just the information to collect for only a simple starting inventory.
Yes, and we have been working on a switchboard, and we’ll show a slide of that later on and where you can get it.
But we were working, we developed the switchboard that will have all the resources for asset management from around the country; all the free stuff to make it easier to find things.
Like we have an excel spreadsheet for getting started on an inventory. So that would be the right place for people to look as well that has lots and lots of resources that systems can use.
This is not a start from a “scratch thing.” This is a “steal ruthlessly” from everybody else’s who’s gone before you. And take their stuff, use it, take the pieces that work for you, and you don’t have to start from scratch each time.