Start collecting data on your assets at conception if you want to decrease lifecycle costs

Early, accessible, quality information drives asset management best practices.

By Sheila Kennedy, contributing editor

1 of 3 < 1 | 2 | 3 View on one page

In brief:

  • There is growing focus on capturing relevant, quality data starting with the design of a capital project and improving upon it throughout the asset’s life and into retirement.
  • Project managers and operations and maintenance (O&M) managers must begin sharing knowledge and data at the outset of the project, rather than waiting for the handover to operations.
  • Collaboration fostered by better communication, systems and data allows for a smoother, more efficient transition through each phase of the asset lifecycle, and provides time savings, holistic visibility, and better data quality with which to manage costs and optimize ALM.

Asset lifecycle management (ALM) and costing is a process that must be continuously improved. The bulk of an asset’s costs are incurred during its operative life, but the data required to minimize these costs begins when the asset is first conceived. Because of this, there is growing focus on capturing relevant, quality data starting with the design of a capital project and improving upon it throughout the asset’s life and into retirement.

To accommodate this goal, project managers and operations and maintenance (O&M) managers must begin sharing knowledge and data at the outset of the project, rather than waiting for the handover to operations. In addition, information collected in the various systems used throughout an asset’s life needs to come together, whether through integration, reports, or an analytics dashboard.

Collaboration fostered by better communication, systems and data allows for a smoother, more efficient transition through each phase of the asset lifecycle, and provides time savings, holistic visibility, and better data quality with which to manage costs and optimize ALM.

Southern Company (www.southerncompany.com) and Sherwin-Williams (www.sherwin-williams.com) are already making strides in this area, and industry professionals working with organizations like Fiatech (www.fiatech.org) are actively promoting the concept to others.

Tackling the challenges

Figure 1. Asset management teams generally have limited input during facility development, design and delivery. This is a lost opportunity to influence lifecycle cost.
Figure 1. Asset management teams generally have limited input during facility development, design, and delivery. This is a lost opportunity to influence lifecycle cost. (Source: Fiatech)

The segmented responsibilities in the delivery and management of capital facilities, including the separation and accountability for budgets and schedules, is industrial ALM’s biggest challenge, according to Ray Topping, director at Fiatech, an international community of professionals working to make step-change improvement in the design, engineering, construction, and maintenance of large capital assets. “This leads to sub-optimizing in the steps in the delivery of facilities and a lost opportunity to optimize ALM,” Topping explains.

“Asset management teams generally have limited input during facility development, design, and delivery. This is a lost opportunity to influence lifecycle cost,” says Topping (Figure 1). “For instance, more than 80% of one capital facility’s costs occur during the facility operation. Nevertheless, information management throughout a project is mostly geared to the immediate needs of project delivery activities, not for the benefit of asset management.”

Atlanta-based Southern Company, through its subsidiaries, provides electricity to 4.4 million customers in the southeastern United States. The utility is approaching its journey to improve ALM and costing with a focus on the data (Figure 2). “We are collecting engineering information in the design organization as it relates to the asset and continuing that through the build/construct process and into handover. The intent is to carry that to retirement,” says Tedd Weitzman, engineering analyst at Southern Company.

Figure 2. Southern Company’s data quality initiative benefits asset lifecycle management.
Figure 2. Southern Company’s data quality initiative benefits asset lifecycle management. (Source: Southern Company)

“The short-term opportunity is to drive efficiency and quality through the project execution process. The long-term opportunity is leveraging asset data in the operations of the facility via reliability maintenance strategies, which reap huge cost benefit over the life of the facility,” says Weitzman.

Sherwin-Williams, producer of paints and coatings in the United States and throughout the world, has more than 26 plants in North America. Its IT organization developed and continues to refine operational dashboards that provide a common view of various data sources across the enterprise. From an ALM perspective, the dashboards provide insight into all assets and their performance.

1 of 3 < 1 | 2 | 3 View on one page
Show Comments
Hide Comments

Join the discussion

We welcome your thoughtful comments.
All comments will display your user name.

Want to participate in the discussion?

Register for free

Log in for complete access.

Comments

No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments