by Heather Himmelberger

Assess Current Practices and Identify Issues

Analyze current asset management practices and identify inefficiencies or recurrent problems. This could be a routine that seems overly costly or a maintenance strategy that doesn’t deliver the expected results. Think about asking yourself questions, such as: Why do I do this activity? Why do I do it this way? Why on this schedule? This activity or asset maintenance has a high risk of injury or safety problem, is there another way to do the job with a different asset or less hazardous approach? Asking questions is a great way to start building data-driven decisions. 

Data Collection and Integration

Once you choice what issues/assets/activities to work on, gather relevant data from multiple sources including operational records, maintenance logs, and system performance data. It’s crucial to integrate and centralize this data to form a cohesive analysis platform.

Data Analysis and Visualization

Use data analysis tools to evaluate the effectiveness of current practices. Visualizing data, such as through mapping, tables, graphs, charts, or time-series analysis, can help identify patterns, trends, and problem areas that may not be apparent from raw data alone.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Conduct detailed cost-benefit analyses to compare the costs of existing asset management practices against potential improvements or replacements. This includes calculating long-term savings versus short-term expenditures. This can also include benefits that are non-monetary in nature, such as environmental or social benefits. Examples include: improving health and safety for employees or customers, preventing the discharge or disposal of a hazardous material, using less of some type of material or supply, improvements to energy or water efficiency, improved customer service or satisfaction, reduced customer inconvenience, or eliminating a difficult job to perform.

Developing and Implementing Solutions

Based on these data-driven insights, develop strategies for improving or replacing assets or changing procedures (e.g., operational or maintenance). Implement solutions that are projected to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, or improve service delivery.

Monitoring and Adjusting

Continuously monitor the outcomes of implemented changes to ensure they deliver the expected benefits. Adjust the strategies based on real-world performance and additional data collected to optimize asset management continually.

Stakeholder Engagement and Training

Engage with all stakeholders, including operational staff and management, to ensure there is buy-in for the new strategies. Provide training and support to help staff adapt to new tools or practices. Additionally, this is a great time to recognize the staff who asked the original question or pushed the analysis at the beginning and to celebrate the improvements, cost savings, and other benefits achieved. If appropriate the benefits should be shared with the customers in some way (e.g., through the web site or on a consumer confidence report). 

Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Foster a culture that values data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement. Encourage staff to question existing methods and propose data-backed solutions to operational challenges. Consider adopting Level of Service goals to drive additional work in this area.