Success factors for effective asset information management

By Alfred Kayser

Whether you’re a railway network, a power station, a hospital or a telco operator, the chances are you are facing increasing demand on your assets – mostly an uplift in usage – whilst also needing to reduce your risks and optimise your asset maintenance workforce. This requires complete, correct and easily accessible asset information. But getting hold of it is not as straightforward as it might seem.

Asset data – such as designs, specifications, maintenance history, inspection results and outage information – is generally scattered across the organisation and is usually inconsistently managed. This results in a lack of availability of data across the asset management processes, from design via build to operation and maintenance.

Improving asset availability and reducing risks

This is evident with organsiations that have a large, complex asset infrastructure that is vital for operations, such as the transport sector. Failing assets can seriously hamper people’s travel and can also have serious liability risks. Having better insight into the actual status of assets, including inspection reports, outage statistics and usage patterns, enables you to optimise asset maintenance, which improves asset availability and reduces risks.

Take the electricity sector. In the past, it was predominantly focused on stability and the avoidance of outages. Nowadays, because of the energy transition, there is much more of a focus on changing and modernising the electricity infrastructure. This transition introduces new challenges for electricity grid operators as there is much more demand on the grid, which results in congestion. To deal with the challenges, more accurate information about the assets is required, such as type of connection and maximum load parameters. It also needs faster handover of asset information, from a newly built asset, to an operation and maintenance phase. It’s also important to optimise asset maintenance through maintenance predictions, which helps with workforce planning.

Asset information management (AIM) is vital for companies to be able to effectively manage their assets. So what are the key success factors of an AIM programme?

  • Asset vision: define the vision for your organisation based on the question ‘what if you knew everything about your assets?’ What benefits would that asset insight bring?
  • Definitions: define information needs for each class of assets, and define where and how the information needs are managed in the organisation
  • Collaboration: work with asset partners to collectively manage asset data across the asset chain around planning, design, building, operations and maintenance
  • Separate AIM from operational systems: decouple AIM from operational systems, as these will only have their own specific view and subset of the asset data that’s only fit for purpose for that particular system
  • Asset information roadmap: define the roadmap to implement AIM step-by-step and don’t forget to add in maturity levels. For example, focus first on specific types of assets, or a specific segment of the organisation, dependent on business needs and its dependencies to other programmes
  • Don’t get lost in the details of technical data exchange standards, such as BIM (Building Information Management) and ENTSO-E CIM (Common Information Model). Instead, focus on the overall concepts of these standards from your own organisation’s perspective. This will allow you to make the bridge from your data needs to those standards.

For big infrastructure companies – energy, transport, public services etc – asset management is always going to come under pressure. And with the current economic environment and the high inflationary back drop, companies with large asset infrastructure will be mindful of minimising their cost base and ensuring their asset network is optimised. If more effective asset management is on your radar, asset information management is a great place to start.

Want to know more? If you would like to improve the availability and quality of your asset data, as well as reduce the time required to process data received from contractors on completion of asset build, please get in touch at [email protected].