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In April 2002, the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) embarked on a journey to change the management paradigm of the organization to that of an asset-centric organization. Organizing the work of the organization around this paradigm focuses the organization on the singularly most important mission of the organization: sustainable infrastructure.

OCSD chose to approach implementing Asset Management (AM) in a multi-phased approach. The first phase - developing a comprehensive strategic plan - included executing a “gap analysis” that compared the world's best asset management practices with OCSD's current practices. This gap analysis was then used to define three and ten-year targets based on OCSD's chosen best appropriate practices.

OCSD chose to develop a strategic plan, rather than simply implement a series of separate improvement projects, to obtain the following benefits:

A common vision and understanding of our future asset management needs;

Organizational acceptance and buy-in to an alternate way of making business decisions in the organization;

Up-front education on the AM processes and paradigm across the organization;

To determine the Best Appropriate Practice (BAP) for OCSD;

To provide a coordinated, whole-agency perspective on AM as a management paradigm, rather than a set of disjointed improvement efforts or the tools used to do asset management; and

To bring agency focus on AM as a management paradigm to all levels of the organization.

A sophisticated and comprehensive “gap analysis” assessment tool was used to objectively measure and evaluate OCSD's current asset management practices. The assessment showed that OCSD currently performs with excellence in many of the areas measured; however, there are several significant asset management best practices that simply have not been deployed at OCSD, or any other major US utility. The overall assessment confidence level or AM quality rating score for OCSD is 68%, compared similar water agencies in Australia who average 81%.

A second, comprehensive workshop, numerous interviews, and a comprehensive gap analysis process led to consensus regarding the specific and best appropriate AM improvement components with which to “fill the gap.”

In a third comprehensive work shop, OCSD's Asset Management Committee, Executive Management Team, and other members of the staff collaboratively set confidence level improvement targets for primary and secondary quality elements. Some 1500 specific improvement tasks, which correspond directly to confidence level scores, were considered in the gap analysis process. In addition, the District decided that deploying Best Appropriate Practices should be accomplished within 6-10 years, and there should be a “progress target” set for the 3-year point. The overall confidence target levels are a 3-year improvement target of 81%, and 4 to 10-year (BAP) improvement target of 92%.

Through collaborative workshops, 274 individual best appropriate practices improvements were selected for inclusion in the OCSD AM Improvement Program, and are the basis for the targeted confidence level score goals. A proposed OCSD TEAM Program Charter was developed that established the critical strategic framework logic & philosophy to underpin the program. The AM Improvement Program is expected to reduce the District's total infrastructure life cycle costs by at least 15% over and above the savings already achieved by the agency's re-engineering program and other initiatives. The 25-year TEAM Program financial benefit forecast is Capital Improvement Program reallocation/ reduction benefits of about 75 million, and Total Life Cycle benefits of at least 350 million.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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