“Are there any templates that you are aware of that can serve to track assets, something simple that is already developed which contain headings and indicating the information ones you should track for assets? For example, asset type, location. age, etc.”
Well we have developed a very simple spreadsheet and database that is available through to the EFC network website, that’s efcnetwork.org.
Very very simple, and meant to be a starting point. You may want to add fields or different information but very very simple.
There are many many programs out there on the market. Some of them are very very simple and easy to use and match for the smaller utilities. There’s EPA, has a “Cap” program that has some inventory information and it’s free.
So there’s a lot of different places you can go, to help you out with inventorying information. Some of them are better for what Ross terms “linear assets.”
For we talk about the steel pipes, valves, hydrants and some are better for treatment plants. Some do well at both.
It kind of depends on what your level of expertise is with software. You know how much money you have to spend. But there are really some really good programs out there.
They are not very expensive for small utilities that are starting to really help you capture information, inventory information without too much complexity.
And you want to be careful. There are some programs that are very very very complex and most small utilities don’t need anything like that.
They’re really meant for the much larger utilities. And some of them are even meant for major industries. More so than water, waste water utilities.
They can be used with water, wastewater but they’re actually developed for folks who are running a major manufacturing plant or something like that.
Of course, you want to avoid that kind of complexity but there are many programs out there on the market that will help you with the small utility. And Ross, I’ll let you weigh in on that question as well.
Yes, I think, keep it simple. Initially, use the industry templates that are available.
When we started this exercise, 20 years ago back in New Zealand, there was nothing. So there was an industry group who met and developed something, and everybody grabbed it.
It was just like a user group almost – so EFC network’s done some of that sort of thinking.
I think the main thing is the size and for what the level of detail you need for what you’re managing and not more than that. That’s the tricky bit because that can be like the hamster wheel.
Otherwise, you can end up just trying to collect far too much information and try too much detail because you’re using this template or whatever.
And you just get sucked into turning that wheel and you’re not achieving very much. You’re sucking a huge amount of resource into an exercise that you’ll never finish if you go too complex.
So I think using EPA or the EFC one as a starting point and then start thinking about whether you do it or if you need to add any complexity to that and do that only where you have to.
PHOTO CREDIT: Grand Central Terminal, New York, USA by Karl Hipolito. Used with permission.