By Jackie van der Westhuizen,
Accurate and up-to-date asset registers are fundamental to efficient asset management. This is especially the case with large-scale infrastructure assets like the national road system. The functions listed below, all critical for measurable and sustainable service delivery, can only be executed successfully if the asset register is accurate in terms of both scope of the asset systems and identifiability of individual components:
- Contribution of asset systems to service delivery, both from functionality and return-on-assets perspectives, can only be assessed if individual assets can be related to specific services and their performance standards.
- Realistically determining the on-going maintenance requirements. These maintenance requirements can be ignored and maintenance work can be deferred for a period; but will return with a vengeance, showing itself by sudden and dramatic decreases in service levels.
- Day-to-day control over maintenance work execution. Work teams can be activated and guided, but the foremost requirement is to do the right work on the right asset. If this is not achieved, every maintenance man-hour spent can rightfully be doubted.
- To-the-point and realistic functional failure reporting. An accurate asset register, with asset identification systems and tags designed for operational control rather than annual financial reporting will free up a significant portion of administrative and maintenance man-hours to do meaningful work, rather than identifying and locating poorly tagged assets.
Experience teaches that in the South African public sector in particular, the basic task of maintaining an accurate asset register is challenging. New technology solutions can assist in implementing the right asset register and management processes, in such a way that real integration and efficiencies can be achieved.
The key technologies that are utilised are 3D mobile mapping, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and well-designed, structured Asset Management Systems. The correct starting point when technology solutions are employed is properly designed, integrated asset management systems. This approach is clearly corroborated by the recently published ISO standard, ISO 55000/1/2. This standard shows the importance of an asset management system that goes beyond functional boundaries, and provides full visibility from strategic service delivery direction down to maintenance task execution.
Good asset management can save a business up to 35% on maintenance costs and increase asset availability by up to 20%. To achieve such optimisation levels, however, assets and resources must be planned effectively, controlled efficiently and consistently monitored. A mobile mapping solution provides for the classification and monitoring of an infrastructure network spread over large territories in an efficient, safe and cost-effective manner. It is based on several geo-technologies that are applied in an integrated fashion. It is designed for the purpose of performing the inventory of linear infrastructure assets, such as poles, streetlights, signage, roads, overhead equipment, rail and bridges, which are managed by transportation authorities, utilities suppliers (telecommunications and electricity distribution) and municipalities.
When it comes to managing physical assets, many organisations need to move from “fighting fires” to taking a strategic approach, one in which people and processes are aligned, all functions work as one and asset maintenance is pro-active rather than re-active. Mobile mapping is a more effective, more efficient and quicker way to build up an asset register than traditional surveying methods, including GPS foot surveys. It is accurate to within one centimetre, and it is possible to scan up to 400km a day. These types of solutions contribute to clients’ improved productivity, reduced equipment downtime, lower maintenance costs and improved equipment efficiencies that will make business better for the transport infrastructure, utilities and mining sectors, among others.