Components and Added Value for Asset Intensive Industries and Organizations
Infrastructure Asset Management Processes
Networks of infrastructure are complex systems which provide us with a range of essential products and services. Decisions on developing, managing, and using infrastructure systems without thoroughly recognizing their complexity result in waste of economic, environmental, and social resources. As a result, public work professionals face significant challenges in managing these assets effectively and efficiently. In recent decades, development and accumulation of knowledge in this domain and technological advances have provided infrastructure managers with tools and techniques to meet these challenges. The focus of public works asset management knowledge base and processes is to facilitate and enhance decisions on development, use, maintenance, disposal, and replacement of infrastructure assets. As per the definition given by the American Public Works Association (APWA), public works are physical structures and facilities that are developed or acquired by public agencies to house governmental functions and provide water, power, waste disposal, transportation, or similar services to facilitate the achievement of common social and economic objectives. Under this definition, APWA lists eighteen categories of public works. Some of these categories are roads group (i.e., roads, bridges), transportation services group (i.e., transit, rails, airports), water group (i.e., water and wastewater infrastructure), waste management group, energy production and distribution group, vehicles and equipment fleet, facilities, parks, etc.
Integrated Infrastructure Asset Management Systems (IIAMS)
Integrated infrastructure asset management systems (IIAMS) are technology solutions which can handle all processes for various public works within a single platform. The appropriate choice and use of IIAMS can significantly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of decisions made by asset owners and managers. For each class of infrastructure assets, IIAMS typically cover a range of processes such as asset inventory and data collection processes, asset inspection and performance data collection processes, asset maintenance processes and history, labor, equipment and material (LEM) management processes, financial asset management processes, decision support systems (DSS), and finally, data visualization and business intelligence (BI) processes. Municipal integrated infrastructure asset management systems (MIIAMS) are a subclass of such systems which are customized for handling municipal infrastructure from the above-mentioned list of infrastructure asset classes (i.e., roads, bridges, etc.). Components and subcomponents of IIAMS alongside their benefits for asset managers are described here.
Modules and Sub-Components of Full-Suite IIAMS
The full suite of integrated infrastructure asset management systems (IIAMS) typically has four main modules which are summarized in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Modules and subcomponents of full-suite IIAMS.
The first primary module of such systems is asset inventory and maintenance management. This module houses several subcomponents and in the industry is referred to as “computerized maintenance management system” (CMMS) or “enterprise asset management system” (EAM).
One primary subcomponent of this module consists in asset inventory and data collection. Availability of large databases and increased computational power combined with innovative mass data-collection technologies (i.e., image processing, remote sensing, complex integration with other existing databases, etc.) enable asset managers to view the entirety of their network, various profiles of their infrastructure inventory, each individual asset, and even detailed attributes of each asset on demand. Other stages of asset lifecycle management (procurement, disposal, replacement) are also handled in the asset inventory subcomponent.
Another sub-component of this module is asset inspection and maintenance management. The primary functionality of this sub-component is the timely and accurate triggering of maintenance activities and recording of maintenance history for each asset. Depending on the level of sophistication of the inspection and maintenance management subcomponent, it can handle one or more categories of maintenance strategies which are listed here in order of complexity: reactive maintenance (breakdowns and following repairs), preventive maintenance (scheduled maintenance activities), predictive maintenance (condition-based maintenance), reliability-centered maintenance (RCM—maintenance based on history, frequency and root causes of failures), prescriptive maintenance (maintenance based on results of advanced analytics which combines factors from all other maintenance strategies and prescribes a certain maintenance regime for each asset). Additionally, utilized labor, equipment, material, and all incurred costs will be recorded for each asset as part of the processes of the inspection and maintenance management subcomponent.
The addition of geographic information systems (GIS) as another sub-component to this module allows asset managers to view and report on their asset inventory, asset performance and asset interactions in any geographical area. Lastly, more advanced CMMS or EAM modules can integrate with other systems within the organization, such as the financial system. This allows for enforcement of financial budgetary rules and constraints on all asset management-related transactions accordingly.
Asset performance modeling is the second typical module of IIAMS. In this module, performance functions specific to each asset class (i.e., pavement) or subclass (i.e., flexible pavement) are used to forecast the performance of infrastructure assets over time. These functions are capable of modeling behavior of assets by considering several factors such as environmental factors (i.e., temperature), usage scenarios (i.e., traffic loads), and maintenance practices (i.e., do-nothing, routine maintenance, etc.). The development of asset performance functions is a lengthy and complex analytical process which involves the gathering and analyzing large volumes of data by researchers. Once developed, asset managers can calibrate and use these functions for modeling the performance of assets in each class based on their specific parameters.
The third module of IIAMS is the decision support system (DSS). This module is a mathematical modeling post-processor which combines data of CMMS and asset performance modeling modules to generate all inventory management and maintenance scenarios for subsets or the entire network of assets. Users can define parameters which control scenario generation. Typically, these scenarios encompass various groupings of assets in one or more classes, variety of maintenance strategies and activities, various budgetary constraints, and a number of different planning horizons (i.e., one year, four years, ten years). After all scenarios are generated, DSS solves the generated mathematical model and provides asset managers with optimal inventory and maintenance management scenarios which satisfy all the constraints introduced. The output of this optimization process provides asset managers with an optimal set of an organization’s yearly asset portfolio management decisions and maintenance projects. As a result, the organization’s limited asset management budget is spent in the most efficient way and its assets are utilized to optimum capacity over a longer period.
The fourth module of a full-suite IIAMS is the business intelligence (BI) and reporting module. This module houses tools and wizards for data visualization (i.e., graphs, dynamic dashboards, etc.) and enables users to efficiently report on large datasets stored in the system. These output reports can be generated in many different structures and formats such as tabular reports with user-defined aggregations, statistical reports, graph reports, and distinctive design reports, etc. BI and reporting wizards are critical tools which make results of the DSS interpretable by asset managers. The output of these tools (i.e., reports, what-if analyses, etc.) are building blocks of data-driven decision-making by asset managers at strategic and tactical levels.
As mentioned, these four modules together form a full-suite IIAMS which covers the entire infrastructure asset management processes in organizations (i.e., municipalities) across the portfolio of infrastructure assets owned or managed by them. However, due to the sizable knowledge, technical and functionality domains covered by these four modules, typical infrastructure solutions available on the market are not full-suite systems. Most of these solutions cover one or two of these modules or are even customized for specific asset classes. To overcome this shortcoming, organizations typically purchase the platform which is specialized in handling each of these four areas and bringing these separate solutions together via integration. This is a proven approach in the industry that is currently in use by many agencies and organizations. Some of such platforms which are widely used in the industry are Maximo and its extensive set of add-on solutions such as CMMS, AASHTOware bridge management package, MicroPaver pavement management package, dTIMs transportation infrastructure management package, AgileAssets transportation infrastructure management package, and HEC-HMS hydrologic analysis and hydraulic structures management package.
Benefits of IIAMS for Asset Intensive Industries and Organizations
Knowing components and functions of IIAMS, it can be understood how asset intensive industries and organizations such as municipalities benefit from the implementation of IIAMS.
On the business front, these systems provide visibility to asset managers at the network level, asset class and subclass levels, individual asset level, asset attributes level, and asset maintenance history level. This visibility combined with advanced analytical tools available in these suites allows for optimal data-driven decisions across all asset classes organization-wide. Additionally, when all asset classes of an organization and their management processes are covered under a single IIAMS, asset managers can make trade-offs across boundaries of asset classes. For example, trade-offs between road and bridge management programs have become an option. Moreover, by using these systems and choosing the proper length of planning horizon, asset managers can account for total asset lifecycle costs instead of initial procurement costs. As a result, the outcoming decisions are more sustainable both financially and practically.
On the technology side, single IIAMS, which cover all asset classes in an organization, allow for much simpler transition management and training processes for all user profiles across the organization. With similar logic, the processes of upgrading the platform, enhancements and integrating with external systems (i.e., ERP) become much simpler compared to the scenario of having multiple systems in place for asset management practices in the organization. If you have any questions regarding infrastructure asset management systems, do not hesitate to contact one of our experts!
Waheed Uddin, W. Ronald Hudson, Ralph C. G. Haas. Public Infrastructure Asset Management, Second Edition (2013).
Lemer. A. Progress Toward Integrated Infrastructure-Assets Management Systems: GIS and Beyond. APWA International Public Works Congress NRCC/CPWA Seminar Series “Innovations in Urban Infrastructure” (1998).