How Advanced Analytics Benefit Asset Management for Water Distributors
Assets come in many shapes and sizes in the water industry. Vehicles for carrying maintenance crews, extra pipe inventory, and pumps that move water through the system are all examples of physical resources. Water utilities must develop a robust plan for asset management to avoid service disruptions and keep operating costs low.
What is asset management?
Municipal asset management involves tracking the condition of physical resources necessary to keep the system running. A well-designed asset management plan will include protocols for tracking inventory, maintaining old equipment, and purchasing new resources.
When a water main breaks, the utility must have the supplies the repair crew needs on hand. Waiting for spare parts from a supplier can lead to long service disruptions.
Every piece of equipment comes with an expected usable life. Monitoring the condition of assets prevents unexpected breakdowns. By paying careful attention to water asset performance, the utility can take a proactive approach to maintenance that minimizes the unexpected.
The asset management plan should indicate items that are due for replacement. Budgeting for such purchases prevents the need to use assets beyond their lifespan, hoping they will make it through another year.
The Three Pillars of Municipal Asset Management
A workable municipal asset management plan cannot just be a list of items on a spreadsheet. This kind of manual tracking is unfeasible as the system becomes more complex. When developing an asset plan, leaders should look at the three pillars of asset management.
The management system must provide accurate, real-time information about assets, including basic facts like inventory and age. Water asset performance data provides a comprehensive understanding of equipment status, demonstrating how the asset functions over time. Accurate information will improve maintenance plans.
A management plan should make the operation more efficient. A proactive approach to maintenance will lead to fewer breakdowns and faster response times. Maintaining an accurate inventory will decrease the length of service interruptions.
The ability to retrieve information is critical to a successful asset management plan. Team members need fast access to relevant data to predict problems and properly maintain the system.
Advanced Analytics and Asset Management
Emerging analytics applications are changing the way water utilities approach asset care and management. Sensors on equipment allow them to capture more performance data. Advanced analytics programs then interpret that information, providing a comprehensive picture of system health. These applications can predict when an asset will need maintenance or replacement.
Benefits of Utilizing Data Analytics for Asset Management
Public utilities can be slow to make changes to their operating procedures. They may be concerned about the cost of implementing new technology. However, using advanced analytics to manage assets offers several benefits.
With an analytic solution in place, the utility can move from a calendar-based maintenance schedule to a performance-based one. This change will result in fewer unnecessary repairs and unexpected breakdowns.
Lower Operating Costs
Advanced analytics offers a more accurate picture of the system’s health. This knowledge produces a clearer sense of inventory needs, better maintenance planning, and fewer overtime emergency calls.
In the event of natural disasters or other emergencies, systems managed with the benefit of analytic software will have faster recovery times. Awareness of the weaker parts of the system will allow repair crews to develop efficient recovery plans.
Better Customer Experience
Data analysis can improve customer care and communication. When the utility has an informed asset maintenance plan, it can perform repairs after offering plenty of customer notice. Customers can plan for a scheduled disruption rather than fretting over an unexpected failure.
Combining SCADA and Analytics Applications
System control and data acquisition (SCADA) technology is a natural fit when implementing data analytics for asset management. In a SCADA solution, sensors take real-time measurements throughout the water collection, distribution, or treatment system. A central server receives current information about variables such as water pressure, flow rates, and quality.
The analytics software filters these data sets, removing outliers to prevent false readings. It then uses algorithms to generate a functional picture of the system. By comparing current information to historical data, the software can make predictions about system health and alert the utility to possible problems.
Cloud-Based SCADA for the Water Industry
High Tide Technologies develops cloud-based SCADA systems for municipal water organizations. Our team provides a resource that allows managers and repair personnel to access pertinent data from any location. Our SCADA technology offers the data water systems need to take advantage of new analytics solutions. To learn more about the power of SCADA for your facility, contact us today.