By Nick Pealy, Senior Consultant, Asset Management and Reliability Services, CH2M HILL Operations & Maintenance Business Group

This post is one of an ongoing series of Access Water posts about asset management best practices. Read the first few and stay tuned for more asset management insights over the coming weeks.

On March 11, McGraw-Hill Construction, in partnership with CH2M HILL, rolled out the results of a groundbreaking research study of asset management practices in the U.S. and Canadian water industries. Using a combination of an online survey and four in-depth case studies, the study assesses the extent to which water utilities have adopted 14 leading asset management practices, reveals which practices have benefited implementing agencies the most, and identifies the greatest opportunities and barriers to implementation of an asset management program.

One finding of the study, which has been confirmed time and again by CH2M HILL’s experience working with our clients, is that a comprehensive approach to the development and implementation of an asset management program often serves an agency well.  The approach involves:

1. Chartering the program to establish goals, measures of success, and roles and responsibilities of stakeholders. The chartering process also requires stakeholders to formally commit themselves to making the program successful.

2. Conducting a gap analysis of the agency’s asset management practices relative to best practices.

3. Creation of a roadmap for improvement that lays out realistic,  but firm and measurable goals for short, medium and long term improvements.

4. Development of measurable service levels (outcomes to the customer) for the organization’s core services.

5. Development of an asset management policy for the organization, a statement of the role of asset management in the organization’s overall strategic plan.

6. Assessment of the risk and consequence of failure of the organization’s critical assets to support how the organization allocates scarce resources among priorities.

7. Development of asset management plans for each of the organizations major asset classes to guide strategic and tactical decisions regarding the construction, operations, maintenance, repair, replacement and decommissioning of those assets.

8. Development of an asset register and supporting technology systems  to support analysis, decision making, construction, operation and maintenance, repair, and replacement of assets.

9. Implementation of leading maintenance practices including condition assessment of certain assets and reliability centered maintenance.

10. Implementation of a rigorous business case process for major investments, for both O&M and CIP.

11. Ongoing training and mentoring of staff on the principles of asset management and how those principles should be applied in their work.

CH2M HILL has been fortunate to work with many of the leading implementers of asset management in the U.S. and around the world. Columbus Department of Public Utilities is one example, and you can learn more about their approach and successes here.

While many organizations still considering adoption of asset management practices may be concerned about the level of effort involved, a program development plan can be scaled to almost any organization’s needs and appetite for change. Moreover, asset management is applicable to all types of business, including utilities, manufacturing companies, city and county governments and more.  Have questions about CH2M HILL’s asset management services? Contact us!

Nick Pealy is Senior Consultant in the Asset Management and Reliability Services Group in the CH2M HILL Operations & Maintenance Business Group. Nick joined CH2MILL in September, 2012, after spending nearly 24 years with the City of Seattle (almost exclusively in the utilities) as a director and senior utility executive responsible for finance, human resources, information technology, and operations and maintenance (which he was responsible for more than 5 years). He has extensive experience in the water, wastewater, stormwater and solid waste industries, with expertise in finance, human resources, organizational and employee development, technology, strategic planning, asset management, operations planning management, and emergency management. Nick lives in the Great Northwest, and spends most his time on Whidbey Island when he isn’t traveling.