You already know that having the right data (accurate, concise, and timely) empowers you to make good decisions. The challenge is paying for the technology necessary to capture quality data. Funding sources are always in short supply. That's why it's vital to take advantage of any and all programs that help defray costs. A great example is Michigan’s Storm, Asset Management, and Wastewater (SAW) Grant program.
In case you haven’t heard, the State of Michigan’s SAW Program is part of new legislation that provides grants and loans for asset management plan development, stormwater plan development, and sewage collection and treatment plan development.
Here are some of the program highlights:
- $97 million is available for grants/loans in the fiscal year 2014
- Grants are available up-to $2 million per municipality
- The state will match 10% for the first million and 25% for the second million
- Some municipalities may qualify for a 100% grant
- Grant and loan applications will be accepted starting December 2, 2013
- Funds are awarded to grant and loan recipients on a first come, first served basis
**You will find more information, including FAQ's and SAW Program applications, here.
Can good asset data increase your chances of receiving funds?
Yes. Not only does good data result in a clearer, more thought out plan, quality data will put you well ahead of the curve when it comes to preparing your grant application (remember, funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis). Working from a centralized, easily accessible database populated with accurate data means you aren't depending on others to help you gather and vet the information. It's there for the taking not just by you, but for other people and purposes, too. Not to mention, that same valuable data can be leveraged once your asset management plan is in place — analyze and use it improve service levels, reduce the cost of asset ownership, and increase the sustainability of your infrastructure.
Operations Management and the Asset Life Cycle approach.
Every couple of years the ASCE gives an annual report on the infrastructure of the USA. That being said, there is good news and bad news.
The good news? In 2013, our national infrastructure earned a 'D+' — that's an improvement over the 'D' we were awarded in 2012.
The bad news? The best grade we could manage was a 'D+'.
Owning assets means you are spending money. That’s no secret. If we can reduce those costs, obviously we are saving money. By creating an actual plan for managing the life cycle of your assets, you’ll quickly begin reducing those costs. It’s time to roll up the sleeves.
A simple, but effective, plan.
Getting funds involves having a plan. Having a plan involves having a capable management system in place. The system needs to be able to tell you what you have, where it is located, and what its current condition is. That’s the first part. From there it’s kind of like washing your hair – wash, rinse, repeat.
Here's a basic, foolproof approach:
- Review or plan your attack for each asset
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Ben Franklin said that. I believe him.
- Tell your team where to start
It's not a team until everyone understands the overall plan, goals, and desired end results.
- Submit your work requests for each asset
If you conduct careful, accurate inspections, you'll capture great data and create the appropriate follow-up actions.
- Receive and assign tasks
Group tasks according to your plan and assign them geographically for maximum efficiency.
- Complete the work
Before closing-out work orders, take time to schedule future inspections and maintenance.
- Review your plan
What parts of the plan worked? Which parts didn't? Should the plan be adjusted?
- Repeat steps 1 – 6
Results that matter.
With good planning and the right operations management system in place, managing the life cycle of an asset will reduce ownership costs.
- No more best guesses
Predictability curves along with an ongoing account of inspections, maintenance, events, and OCI for each helps you accurately forecast an asset’s service life and budget for upgrades, replacements, and repairs.
- Fewer urgent call-outs
A well-kept asset performs better. And when an urgent situation does arise, you’ll have the information necessary to resolve it faster. Not to mention, your crews will be able to focus on working proactively rather than reactively — that translates increased worker productivity and efficiency.
- Greater visibility
Understanding how and where money is being spent helps you quickly identify problem assets and inefficiencies in how they’re being managed and maintained. You’ll also have a platform to monitor your plan, and the flexibility to adjust it as needed.
Developing an effective asset management/life cycle program may require some very fundamental changes to your organization. However, building a responsible community for the future is a task we must all strive for. With these types of efforts we will be able to not only show long term cost savings, but long term sustainability for generations to come.
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