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10 Tips to Master Utility Asset Management in 2024

10 Tips to Master Utility Asset Management in 202410 Tips to Master Utility Asset Management in 2024

In a survey, North American utility leaders indicated that:

  • 38% have an asset management coordinator or asset managers.
  • 57% have a work plan to implement asset management.
  • 58% reported achieving benefits by implementing these plans. 1

Despite these benefits, 48% of these firms were not satisfied with the level of maturity in their asset management programs. 2 One major reason behind the low rates of success is the lack of knowledge in the field. Therefore, we provide a detailed guideline explaining utility asset management inside out.

What is Utility asset management?

Utility Asset Management involves the systematic planning, organization, and monitoring of a utility company’s physical assets, such as infrastructure, equipment, and technology. It encompasses the company’ entire asset lifecycle, from acquisition and operation to maintenance, renewal, and disposal.

Why does it matter?

Utility Asset Management is crucial for ensuring the reliability, performance, and sustainability of assets. It enables utilities to optimize resource allocation, reduce operational costs, comply with regulations, and enhance overall service delivery. Proper management helps avoid disruptions, ensures efficient use of assets, and supports long-term strategic planning.

Top utility asset management applications

Some of the use cases of asset management include:

Infrastructure maintenance

Utility asset management can help manage utility infrastructure maintenance by ensuring managed and sustained pipelines, treatment plants, and distribution networks. This way, critical components can operate optimally and sustainably, preventing disruptions in service.

For instance, Mitnetz has been struggling with the safety and reliability of the distribution network. With asset management, they could keep a cost-effective planning while achieving efficient infrastructure maintenance for various physical assets and facilities within the network. 3

Equipment optimization

Asset management tools can be applied to optimize equipments focuses on enhancing the functionality and efficiency of equipment such as pumps, generators, and meters. fine-tuning their performance, utilities can extend their lifespan and reduce operational costs while maintaining reliability.

Smart grid management

Smart grid management entails the implementation and oversight of smart grid technologies. These technologies enhance the efficiency and reliability of electricity distribution, paving the way for a more resilient and responsive energy infrastructure.

Data management

Data management utilizes data analytics to gain valuable insights into asset performance. This information is crucial for predicting potential failures, allowing utilities to make informed decisions and proactively address maintenance needs, ultimately improving overall asset reliability.

For example, UtilityCo utilized advanced analytics in asset management, cutting operating expenses by 20-25% and capital expenditures by 40-60%. 4

Regulatory compliance

Regulatory compliance involves ensuring that the utility adheres to industry regulations and standards, safeguarding against penalties and legal issues. Compliance is vital for maintaining a trustworthy and law-abiding utility service, increasing customer loyalty.

One example is Scottish water that develop an asset management program to improve regulatory compliance and controls, which allowed company to improve business performance, enhance reputation and exceed customer expectations. 5

Risk mitigation

Risk mitigation revolves around identifying and addressing potential risks associated with asset failure, safety hazards, and environmental impact. By proactively managing and mitigating these risks, utilities can safeguard their assets, operations, and the well-being of the community.

For instance, with asset management, Downer was able to understand asset risks better and adjust the schedules for proactive maintenance tasks, also known as preventive maintenance, by 29% without facing unexpected issues.6

Top benefits

  1. Efficient operations: Streamlining asset management processes leads to more efficient day-to-day operations, reducing downtime and improving overall productivity.
  2. Reduce costs: Effective asset management helps control maintenance costs, prolong asset lifespan, and avoid unnecessary expenses, contributing to lower cost.
  3. Compliance and risk management: Ensures compliance with regulations, safety standards, and environmental requirements while identifying and mitigating risks associated with asset use.
  4. Enhanced reliability: Regular maintenance and monitoring leads to improved reliability of assets, minimizing the risk of failures and service disruptions.

What are utility asset management tools?

Various tools can be used for managing utility assets, including:

1.) Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) Systems

Centralized platforms for planning, tracking, and managing all aspects of assets, including maintenance schedules, inventory levels, and work order management. They ensure regulatory compliance and facilitate strategic decision-making.

Features: Comprehensive platforms for managing assets throughout their lifecycle, including maintenance, inventory, and work order management.

Discover more on asset management automation.

2.) Workload automation tools

Workload automation tools streamline utility asset management operations, ensuring efficient scheduling, monitoring, and workflow management.

Feature: Seamless task streamlining, efficient scheduling, real-time monitoring, and comprehensive workflow management are key features of workload automation tools in utility asset management.

3.) Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)

Focuses on maintenance-related tasks, such as work order creation, scheduling, and asset tracking. CMMS systems streamline maintenance processes, enhance asset reliability, and extend their lifespan.

Features: Focuses on maintenance-related tasks, such as work orders, preventive maintenance, and asset tracking.

Compare CMMS vs EAS to learn the difference better.

4.) Internet of Things (IoT) sensors

Sensors on assets collect real-time data on performance, conditions, and usage. IoT enables predictive maintenance, reduces downtime, and improves overall asset performance through data-driven insights.

Features: Sensors on assets collect real-time data, enabling predictive maintenance, monitoring, and performance optimization.

5.) Asset performance management (APM)

APM systems utilize data analytics and machine learning to predict asset failures, optimize performance, and guide maintenance strategies. They help utilities shift from reactive to proactive maintenance, reducing downtime.

Features: Utilizes data analytics and machine learning to predict asset failures, optimize performance, and guide maintenance strategies.

6.) Data analytics and business intelligence

Analytical tools help utilities derive insights from asset data. They support informed decision-making, identify trends, and contribute to strategic planning by analyzing historical and real-time data. These tools may include data science tools or data mining software, data visualization solutions, and big data and business intelligence services,

Features: Analytical tools to derive insights from asset data, enabling informed decision-making, industry expertise and strategic planning.

7.) Process mining software

Using process mining in utility asset management streamline data collection and analysis. It shows how tasks flow, spots where things slow down, and helps make operations work better.

Feature: Process mining feature includes core and additional capabilities such as process discovery, process enhancement, compliance check, automated root cause analysis, task mining and digital twin of an organization. These features highlight where processes can be faster, assisting data scientists to make smart decisions and improve how things are done.

Explore how to deploy process mining in utility industry.

8.) Augmented Reality (AR)

AR applications assist technicians during maintenance tasks by providing real-time information, visual guides, and step-by-step instructions. Augmented reality enhances efficiency, accuracy, and the effectiveness of fieldwork.

Features: AR applications for maintenance tasks, providing technicians with visual guides and real-time information.

How to create an asset management program

1.) Define objectives and scope

  • Objectives: What are the primary objectives of the asset management plan? Clearly articulate goals, such as improving reliability or complying with regulations.
  • Scope: What assets are included in the plan? Specify the types, covering infrastructure, equipment, and technology crucial for the utility’s operation.

2.) Identify inventory and assets

  • Inventory: What is the current inventory of utility assets? Establish a comprehensive list detailing specifications, location, and condition.
  • Identification: How are assets identified and labeled for easy tracking? Develop efficient systems, such as unique identifiers or RFID tags.

3.) Employ risk assessment

  • Risks: What potential risks are associated with each asset? Identify and evaluate risks related to failure, environmental factors, or external threats.
  • Prioritization: How are risks prioritized, and what mitigation strategies are in place? Establish a prioritization system and develop mitigation strategies.

4.) Develop performance metrics

  • KPIs: What key performance indicators (KPIs) will measure asset performance? Define specific KPIs aligned with goals, such as uptime, reliability, and efficiency.
  • Assessment: How often will performance metrics be assessed and reported? Establish a regular schedule for assessments, ensuring timely issue identification.

5.) Lifecycle Management

  • Lifecycle: What is the expected lifecycle of each asset? Determine asset lifespans and plan for maintenance, upgrades, or replacements.
  • Strategies: How will assets be maintained, upgraded, or replaced at the end of their lifecycle? Develop proactive strategies, considering technological advancements and operational needs.

6.) Explore budgeting and funding

  • Budget: What is the budget for asset management activities? Clearly outline financial allocations, covering maintenance, upgrades, training, and tools.
  • Funding: How will funding be secured for asset maintenance and upgrades? Establish mechanisms, such as budget allocations, grants, or other financial instruments.

7.) Data Management

  • Collection: How is asset data collected, stored, and updated? Define processes, including technology solutions, data standards, and management protocols.
  • Technology: What technologies or software will be used for data management? Select appropriate tools, such as asset management software or sensors.

8.) Regulatory Compliance

  • Regulations: What regulations and standards govern utility asset management? Identify relevant regulations and industry standards.
  • Compliance: How will the plan ensure compliance with these regulations? Develop processes, checks, and training programs for ongoing compliance.

9.) Workforce training

  • Training Programs: What training programs are in place for asset management? Outline programs for equipping the workforce with necessary skills and knowledge.
  • Communication: How are employees kept informed about changes in asset management practices? Establish communication channels for continuous learning and adaptation.

10.) Continuous Improvement

  • Review: How will the UAMP be reviewed and updated regularly? Define a schedule and process for regular reviews, ensuring ongoing relevance.
  • Mechanisms: What mechanisms are in place to incorporate lessons learned and best practices? Establish processes for capturing and integrating lessons and industry best practices.

Further reading

Discover more on solutions and practices that can transform and optimize utilities:

If you have more questions on utility asset management, we are here to help:

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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Hazal Şimşek
Hazal is an industry analyst in AIMultiple. She is experienced in market research, quantitative research and data analytics. She received her master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Carlos III of Madrid and her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Bilkent University.

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