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Cost Effective Asset Management

This topic covers:

If an organization has an integrated database with an asset inventory system that contains the relevant attribute details of the major components of the assets, then we virtually have an electronic model by which we could survey the asset base.

As assets are stretched to last longer and longer it is vitally important that we can determine the "just in time" point for asset renewal, as deferred expenditure will become one of the key management issues.

To be able to determine the "just in time" point, it is absolutely essential that we have condition monitoring programs that can indicate (with some accuracy) the point at which the asset should be rehabilitated or replaced.

Condition Monitoring - Predictive Modeling

Therefore, condition monitoring becomes a vital ingredient. However regular condition monitoring is a very costly exercise and the economics of existing condition monitoring programs may not be justifiable if the benefits are honestly identified and quantified.

By having an electronic database of our assets we have the ability to do detailed condition monitoring of a small sample of like assets and extrapolate the findings from this sample across the larger asset base, substantially reducing the cost of total condition monitoring.

This sample analysis could include visual or non-destructive assessments, as well as collecting critical samples on which full detailed scientific analysis and destructive testing could be done.

The basic principle is that we do not want to be looking at all our assets. In fact from an effective management point of view, we only want to be looking at those assets that are going to be critical to the organization in the next ten years.

It is therefore important that we determine the interval and the method by which the condition monitoring is to be carried out, keeping in mind that at all times we need to be able to justify this activity on an economic basis.

Faults Analysis and Modeling

By detailed fault analysis we can also determine the increasing probability of a typical failure for a certain type of asset. As this evidence builds we can use the total database to construct a model for the likely ramifications of the continuance of this type of failure. We can also use the database model to locate those similar assets and include them on an accelerated condition-monitoring program.

We can also use the database to identify:

Abnormal Operating Conditions

This may apply for example to pumping stations that have continually suffered voltage surges or regular lightning strikes.

Environmental Conditions

We could identify those assets that are effected by salt air or certain ground conditions through an overlay of corrosion map or a geological map.

Physical Characteristics of the Assets

We can find assets of a particular type or a particular make.

This type of "what if interrogation" process allows asset managers to make sound decisions, without the high cost of visual condition monitoring, or of renewing assets well in advance of any likely failure mode.

Modern responsible asset management principles demand that we complete the works "just in time" and delay capital expenditure wherever possible, but without compromising the risks or the level of service we are offering to our customers.

This requires a pro-active environment where:

  • Problems are foreseen and quantified
  • Adequate management responses are undertaken before the events affect the organization in any substantial way.

Unplanned Maintenance Activities

By the use of hand-held loggers, staff attending a fault or asset failure can record the additional attributes of the asset at very little extra cost, as travel and other issues are a high cost activity in the data collection process.

This has the added advantage that we are collecting data on assets that are causing problems and therefore we are starting to accumulate data on:

  • The cause of our expenditures
  • The activities used to rectify those expenditures
  • The critical assets.

It is imperative that we continually drive these programs from a clear objective and benefits relationship, and only collect data that are proven to be cost effective for the organization as a whole.

Planned Maintenance Procedures

For most asset owners, the staff will already have the typical procedures either in written form, or will have the information in their heads from current practices.

This can easily be captured by either having them tape their current practices and procedures or get them directly recorded into the system using a keyboard operator.

Asset Creation or Rehabilitation Works

For all new works, the data is generally readily available and can be transferred cheaply.

In some cases, the specification for the works should include the necessary input forms, which can be completed by the supply or construction contractor as part of their contract, again reducing the data, capture cost.

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