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Leading Asset Management Practices Help Utilities Optimize Their Asset Life Cycle Cost

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Since 2007, a four-year research program has been underway for the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), with its research partners the Water Research Foundation (Water RF, formerly AwwaRF), the UK Water Industry Research and the Global Water Research Coalition, to define strategic asset management (SAM) practices and develop associated tools and techniques for implementation. EMA, together with partner firms GHD, MWH and CSIRO, has led a broad research program addressing four principal tracks of research: (1) Public Communication; (2) Benchmarking & Case Studies; (3) Decision/Analysis Implementation Guidance; and (4) Remaining Asset Life.

Track 2 addresses leading practices for asset management among utilities, as well as development of case studies that utilities can use to learn how to implement SAM. An initial survey was completed by more than 50 utilities to identify areas of opportunity for strategic asset management, based on WERF's 10-step strategic asset management plan development process that guides utilities to develop their asset management plan. Responses to this survey resulted in initial identification of gaps for improvement. Thirty-six utility organizations completed a more detailed self-assessment of practices with a multi-functional team from across the utility business processes to answer 160 asset management practice questions using the newly-developed WERF/Water RF SAM GAP web-based tool.

Based on an analysis of the results from the self-assessment, leading practice utilities were identified in the areas of Accounting and Costing, Business Risk Management, Organization and People, Maintenance, Secondary Data and Knowledge and Strategic Planning and Asset Management Plans. Process benchmarking visits were conducted with conducted with leading practice utilities. Leading practices have been identified that any utility can adapt to optimize their asset life cycle cost.
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Keywords: benchmarking; leading practice; strategic asset management

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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