Out of sight, but not out of mind: Repairing and replacing your assets

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August 7, 2020 | Perrine Parrod

It is no revelation that as water and wastewater network infrastructure are aging and failing, utilities’ asset management budgets are stretched thinner and thinner. Perhaps now more than ever, there is a critical need for more efficient and cost-effective maintenance of a utility’s assets. 

Asset managers within utilities, who are developing asset management plans (AMPs) with asset management software such as Innovyze’s InfoAsset, have been diligently scheduling and tracking operation and maintenance (O&M) work, whether the work is reactive to customer complaints or the observation of a small pipe break, for example, or planned for routine maintenance, such as pump station cleaning.  But to do these tasks efficiently, asset managers need a smart system to understand and record the location, condition, and criticality of all assets and keep the asset information up to date as infrastructure is renewed. 

Operating and maintaining assets daily

According to Bluefield’s WATER INDUSTRY 4.0 report, emergency maintenance costs roughly three times as much as planned maintenance. Utilities who can find and fix the highest priority water and wastewater asset deficiencies before failure occurs will generate significant savings.  

To ensure asset management professionals get a sound understanding of the condition of water and wastewater assets, InfoAsset Manager stores all current and historical data for inspection, survey, incident, and customer reports, by asset. 

InfoAsset Manager also integrates seamlessly with InfoAsset Mobile for automated synchronization of asset location and related properties, as well as work orders between the field and office. For example, an inspection task can be scheduled in the asset management platform and automatically be seen by field workers on their mobile device. Then the inspection observation media recorded during CCTV surveys for example, can be automatically synchronized back to the asset management database in the office for review and analysis. This streamlined process not only enables productivity of both asset managers and field crews, but it also eliminates any error-prone process from using paper, spreadsheets, or manual workflows, for instance. 

These routine tasks are crucial for utilities to retain an asset as near as workable to its original condition. However, asset managers within utilities may wonder how they can make the most of their limited capital planning budgets to prioritize replacement projects that will occur in coming months and years, when an asset life cannot be extended by repairing and relining anymore. 

Defending capital improvement budgets

Utilities O&M departments who already invested in InfoAsset Manager for the daily operation and maintenance of their assets, might also want to leverage the historical asset data for their capital planning. There is good news for utilities as Innovyze offers an integrated and comprehensive solution that can leverage this historical data in a planning context.

A rigorous renewal strategy will ensure the right group of assets are rehabilitated or replaced at the right time. For asset managers to consistently make sound asset renewal decisions, the capital planning process needs to leverage all historical asset data. Asset managers can use virtually all types of asset information, including GIS information, CCTV or computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) data, and other tabular information within a capital planning platform such as InfoAsset Planner, to determine rehabilitation plans that could be implemented and prioritized within a timeframe recommended by the application. Then, these plans can feed a prioritization process by renewal project. 

Asset management coming full circle

Once a renewal plan along with budget forecast can be determined for the short- or medium-term horizon, planned work tasks can be fed back into InfoAsset Manager, turning full circle around the infrastructure lifecycle.

Full infrastructure life cycle management
Full infrastructure life cycle management

A full asset management process provides a rigorous decision-making process which ultimately results in more defensible and reproducible maintenance practices and capital investment decisions.  As an illustration, regulators will be much more lenient when sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) occur if a utility can provide evidence of its comprehensive maintenance program; and capital improvement budget approval will be facilitated when renewal decisions are justified. 

Utilities implementing comprehensive asset management programs can reap multiple benefits, including: 

  • Complete understanding of the condition of the water and wastewater systems leading to lower operating and maintenance costs;
  • Limited occurrences of incidents such as SSOs, infiltration and inflows, and pipe breaks;
  • Mitigation of asset failures (i.e. lengthening the life of assets and prioritizing renewals) and of disruptions to customers;
  • Reduction of capital expenses through lengthened life of assets and better avoidance of unnecessary renewal investment;
  • Adequate asset renewal prioritization which will reduce costs for operations expenditures in the future;
  • Increased return on investment on asset performance data (historical data);
  • Improved utility reputation;
  • Enhanced efficiencies and productivity across the utility due to good working culture and optimized processes. 

To learn more about the InfoAsset product line, visit https://www.innovyze.com/en-us/products/infoasset-overview

To discuss your asset management programs, contact us

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Tags: Asset Management, InfoAsset Manager, InfoAsset Planner

About the Authors

Perrine Parrod

Perrine Parrod

Global Product Marketing Manager


Perrine is a Global Product Marketing Manager at Innovyze.