Effective Asset Management: Using Existing Tools to Support Investments

Effective Asset Management: Using Existing Tools to Support Investments

Municipalities spend billions of dollars every year on important investments in infrastructure to create healthier environments for their communities. Unfortunately, making the initial investment is only the first step of the process in creating productive and useful assets. The next step is to support existing assets with adequate maintenance, efficient business practices, and sound long-term capital planning. In too many communities assets have been allowed to degrade unnecessarily or are operated inefficiently, while others are replaced before the end of their useful lives, costing untold millions in lost value. With a sound plan for management, these problems can be prevented.

Approaching asset management raises a number of questions for organizations. Where should efforts be focused? What data should be collected? What should the balance be between rehabilitation and replacement work? What technologies are needed, and how should they be implemented? In answering these questions, organizations can learn how best to use the tools they already have.

Creating an effective asset management program means developing a strategy tailored to the requirements of the physical assets themselves. Communities and utilities can do this by focusing on four key aspects of asset management: people, money, practices, and data.

People – The Keys to Success

Maintaining assets is not a one-person job; it requires the participation of an organization’s whole team. The ways employees collect, use, and communicate information about assets is critical. In order to implement effective asset management, it is important to create and stick to a well-developed plan for incorporating employees and understanding an organization’s culture.

Money – A Driving Force

Funding is precious, and budgets are tight. Organizations must be prepared to defend expenditures with an objective and understandable methodology. Prioritizing investments and providing a defensible framework for capital and maintenance decisions is essential to managing assets effectively.

Practices – The Playbook for Doing Business

Streamlining day-to-day operations and maintenance (O&M) practices is often a neglected or undervalued aspect of effective asset management, but it can be one of the most important. Organizations with efficient practices have lower lifecycle asset costs and lower O&M expenditures for the same activities compared with their peers. Staying up to date on levels of operating efficiency and incorporating goals for O&M management into business planning will lead to better systems in the long run.

Data – Information is Power

Data only becomes useful information for an organization when it is effectively collected, stored, and managed. Performing these tasks expertly requires knowing how to select and use the right tools from the vast array of information technologies available. Effective asset management controls information, preventing the common problems of excess data collection, redundant storage, and inefficient access.

Using the Toolkit

The essential tools for effective asset management are available to all organizations. Taking care of assets comes down to utilizing the key components that are already in place in a way that aligns with each organization’s unique culture and goals.


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