Bridging the Asset Management Gap—Narragansett Bay Commission’s Asset Management Story

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ABSTRACT
The development and implementation of an asset management system is not a one step change process since asset management requires a number of conceptual and practice changes, in addition to new information technology. Often, the complexity of the effort can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many very practical, common-sense approaches and methods to asset management that can be implemented effectively if one takes a logical “crawl before you walk, walk before you run” approach. As a starting point, there are a number of foundational elements that need to be in place in order to perform the sophisticated analysis and decision-making necessary to effectively apply asset management. This paper will examine the workable approach one progressive sewerage agency in Rhode Island, Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC), took in establishing its asset management program.

INTRODUCTION
The development and implementation of an asset management system is not a one-step process. Asset management requires a number of conceptual and practical changes, in addition to new information technology. Many utilities are often reluctant to embark on any asset management initiative, as the magnitude of effort appears overwhelming. Fortunately, if the effort is staged correctly, asset management does not have to be a daunting task. There are many very useful, common-sense approaches and practices to asset management that can be implemented effectively if one takes a logical “crawl before you walk, walk before you run” approach. This paper will examine the workable approach one progressive wastewater agency in Rhode Island, the Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC), took in establishing its asset management program.

While asset management encompasses the high-level strategy and program for providing the public with a cost-effective level of service, there are a number of foundational elements that need to be in place in order to perform the more sophisticated analysis and decision-making techniques necessary to succeed at asset management. These include optimal renewal decision making (ORDM), business risk evaluation (BRE), failure modes, and effects and consequence analysis (FMECA). These are generally data and knowledge elements that ultimately contribute to more effective and confident decisionmaking, which is at the heart of asset management. In addition, many of these “building block” elements are rooted in sound maintenance management strategies that have existed for many years, which many utilities already practice formally or somewhat informally. The development of an effective asset management strategy can begin by addressing the following basic elements:

  • Know what assets you own and are responsible for,
  • Record key information related to those assets,
  • Organize those assets for cost roll-up and analysis,
  • Identify which individual assets and/or asset groups are critical to your utility’s success,
  • Determine what condition those assets are in,
  • Develop asset management plans for the various assets and/or asset groups,
  • Create a corporate maintenance management strategy,
  • Develop an asset renewal/replacement strategy.

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