The value of optimised asset management
Effectively managing assets, and maximising the value realised from them, is the single common objective for the water authorities charged with ensuring that ensuring that each and every Australian’s basic human right to water and sanitation is met. This relies on coordinated planning, asset selection, acquisition/development, utilisation, care (maintenance) and ultimate disposal or renewal of the appropriate assets and asset systems.
A disciplined approach to optimising performance and value across the asset life-cycle attained heightened focus in the 1990’s and has been evolving ever since. Yet it remains a complex challenge – assets exist in many forms, and deliver value in different ways. Business value often relies on overall performance of multiple assets working together within complex systems, each requiring a different approach to management decisions across its life cycle.
While technology is clearly an enabler of effective asset management, it is not in itself the answer to improved asset management performance. Building maturity in asset management practices to optimise the value delivered is the result of a coordinated and inclusive focus on continual improvement at each point of the asset lifecycle.
It’s a challenge that has been successfully tackled by Queensland’s Unitywater. Responsible for operating and maintaining essential civil infrastructure over an area of 5,223 square kilometres, Unitywater already employed an enterprise asset management platform recognised by Gartner as best-in-breed, yet had only been able to use a fraction of its capabilities due complex customisations and integrations.
The Asset Performance Program was established in 2017 to extract maximum benefit from data collected in the field, and in turn make field crews more productive. It was conceived in response to a variety of issues that signaled improvement opportunities, including an inability for field workers to see a history of work on the asset, limited integration with other corporate systems, overheads associated with complex on-premises infrastructure and a lack of real-time capabilities in the field.
The resulting initiatives are universally described as enablers across the business – removing the barriers to operational efficiency today and opening the possibilities for future innovations. By optimising the performance of existing asset management systems, Unitywater has improved the quality of data available for asset management decisions, reduced response and restore times and made a significant contribution towards the company wide goal of taking $100 off the customer bill.
Asset Knowledge & Performance Manager, Ivan Beirne, says this continual improvement approach to asset management systems has led to increased efficiencies across all aspects of the asset lifecycle from design to disposal.
“Optimising integration of systems and data across various processes has improved the quality of data available for asset management decisions. A drive towards data-driven decision making allows the asset management branch to better focus renewal investment and target key assets for maintenance optimisation activities.”
While there is no one, single roadmap (or indeed a fixed final destination), the rewards of optimised asset management are significant, with an increasing body of knowledge, insight and experience to be leveraged.
Read more about how Unitywater, with asset management specialists Clarita Solutions, have employed modern technology to help protect assets, save money and improve outcomes and learn how you can leverage this experience to accelerate your asset management maturity.