• Novice
  • Aware
  • Competent

Asset Operations

This element looks at how an organization operates its assets and the relationship of the total budget within a particular industry sector compared to the operational costs for a given organization.

Operating Procedures

The quality of the operating procedures used for individual assets, including automated processes and the type of support systems provided.

Best appropriate practice includes:

Clearly identified operating procedures are readily accessible to all operational staff and other interested parties covering:

  • Normal start up
  • Normal shut down
  • Normal operations
  • Safety issues
  • Emergency response procedures for when the asset fails.

Operations Manuals

Written operational policies and procedures, including a business risk perspective, and the degree to which these are available across the asset portfolio to all appropriate staff.

Best appropriate practice includes:

An understanding of operational costing so that the appropriateness of manual or automatic operational procedures and practices can be regularly reviewed.

Complaints System

The way in which the organization records internal and external complaints against service delivery. How they are processed:

  • According to response and long term performance records
  • Against the facility, system or, especially, the asset.

The review assesses the way the organization processes and provides feedback to the complaints and assesses any breaches of services levels.

Best appropriate practice includes:

A centralized complaints system for operational complaints that links customers or owners with relevant work orders or other operational responses.

Emergency Response Plans

The process used to determine the need for an emergency response plan and the policy and guidelines available for the development of these plans. (The plans themselves are dealt with in Data and Knowledge).

This section looks at how the organization:

  • Assesses the risks
  • Identifies and completes the plans to appropriate quality levels.

Best appropriate practice includes:

Electronically accessible emergency response plans of a standard and content appropriate to the consequence of failure of the various assets.

Performance Monitoring and Control

The processes used to monitor and control the operation of assets, facilities and systems from a performance and cost perspective.

Best appropriate practice includes:

Appropriate asset operational performance indicators are continuously monitored and reported on an exception basis.

All operations are routinely checked and any departures from defined procedures are recorded, and procedures are subsequently re-checked.

Urgent issues/manual updates are communicated using a "bulletin board" email system to all responsible staff (for example, safety notes, operating rule changes, new training identified).

Automated Control Systems (Central and Distributed)

The appropriateness of the:

  • Practices used in system control and data acquisition or automated processes
  • Policies set for these investments.

Best appropriate practice includes:

The automation of the system (SCADA) provides sufficient benefits to warrant the investment required.

The SCADA systems have sufficient distributed central systems (DCS) where PLC's are effectively used.


Case Studies Australia

Managing High Risk Assets

The problem with sewage pumping stations is that they are potentially a ”weak link” in the sewerage system. Sewage pumping stations are more susceptible to failure, due to their mechanical or electrical components, than the rising mains and gravity sewers that make up the rest of the sewage system.

During 1994, over a period of a week, the Hazelvale pumping station failed three times, causing sewage spills of 168 kilolitres, 47 kilolitres, and 20 kilolitres into the nearby creek.

These incidents raised a number of asset management issues.

The contributing factors were:

  • The inadequate condition of the pumps
  • Power supply problems
  • Unreliable communication
  • A very short time to spill (insufficient lead time to arrange eductors).

The consequences of failure were that a high-grade quality creek was polluted and the organization was faced with the embarrassment of advising nearby residents, together with the EPA and the Health Department.

What did South East Water do to manage this risk?

It assessed the spill points for each sewer pumping station to determine the likely environmental impact of a spill.

Environmental impact was based on the environmental value of the receiving waterway (that is, whether it was a pristine stream or a polluted drain) and the perceived community sensitivity associated with the receiving waterway (that is, whether there would be no public concern about a spill or that it would turn into a media event.)

For many items the assessment criteria also included whether the item was obsolete. For example, if pump components were no longer available ‘”off the shelf” or supported by the manufacturer, then these pumps were assigned a condition 5 rating.

Improvements in standards were identified, for example standby generators were installed at eight critical sites.

They also established a telemetry system to control pumps, over-riding the automatic controls, offering savings in time. Previously a visit to the site was required to change over pumps. A back-up level control system for the pumps was introduced.

And the end result?

  • Reduced number of spills
  • Improved information systems to mange sewage pumping stations
  • Improved relationships with the mechanical/electrical contractor.

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