Most utilities with T&D distributed assets want to be able to fully understand the condition of their system and move from being reactive to being proactive in addressing identified deficiencies. These utilities with thousands of miles of line and millions of individual assets require considerable resources and supporting systems to operate, maintain and to insure the integrity of the data.
What is often found is that while there are many supporting systems, they are disparate with each managing only one aspect or characteristic of the asset, the one that maximizes the value in that system alone. Yet each system is dependent on the integrity of the data. All of these systems must be kept in sync, depending on supporting processes and integration. This usually takes a lot of manual effort and creates many failure points in the process.
Understand the What, When and Where
· GIS systems represent the asset and network connectivity but fail in tracking history
· Supply Chain manages the purchasing, specifications, and only tracks while in inventory, most often as a mass asset
· Compatible Units and Design Tools manage specifications and proposed transactions but don’t address real assets
· ADMS and OMS systems operate assets but don’t address the maintenance history and long-term reliability
· CIS and MDM systems manage the meter data but not the meter as an asset
· Asset Accounting only tracks the financial aspects of the asset for depreciation
Get the Big Picture
Take a step back…. look at the whole picture, the entire ecosystem and employ a better methodology to leverage these systems! Here are some of the key ideas:
Define the appropriate entry and exit point of an asset into the system - At the start, it’s important to have a clear, consistent, and comprehensive entry point (Asset Creation) for an asset into the ecosystem. Be sure to do this for each type of asset because the entry point can be different.
Traditionally, assets have been created only when they are needed and then replicated into each system that requires it.
For example, a serialized asset such as a Distribution Transformer first comes into the ecosystem as a purchased item. This is the first point where the specifications and serialization are known. This is the time to capture this information, on receipt. Suppliers provide significant data regarding their product in an electronic format, including test results. This information forms the basis for a new asset that can be accessed when the transformer is installed.
Other assets that are not serialized will enter the system as an asset only when installed. A pole for example, becomes a track-able asset when it becomes a structure, i.e. when installed. (The inventory or disposition after removal as an asset is of no consequence). The basic attributes are defined by the inventory item specifications, size, treatment, etc.
Define the interactions with work management - The installation, modification, and removal of assets should be “defined” as part of a work order. When work is Planned/Designed, this is the right time to capture and begin tracking the proposed transactions. This would ideally take place as a component of a Graphical Work Design that would develop a proposed GIS change and Asset Management change. Any additional design parameters can be incorporated in the proposed asset transaction such as phasing, tap settings, or control settings that would be communicated to the field workers.
Define the data collection for the field worker - The field worker must provide critical information that they alone can provide. Which asset was placed where? Were there changes to the as-built from the original design? Since the proposed transactions (install, modify, or remove) were identified, the field worker only needs to provide specific build data. Rather that specify the transformer data for example, only the serial number, phase, tap setting, need to be specified, minimizing the field workers data requirements. For a pole, only validating it was installed may be the only requirement. Validations can be performed against these entries to insure accuracy.
Define the completion/in-service transactions - Closing the loop, after the field data has been entered and validated, flagged as in service, then the proposed transactions are ready to be executed. These should be triggered automatically. The work management system should place the changes into active status, engage the appropriate PM’s, and trigger a transaction to GIS to place designed GIS objects in to the active layer (baring and qa/qc processes). Updates should also be automatically triggered to supporting systems.
Establishing these key methodologies will enable a utility to leverage the multiple systems, doing what they do best, automating many of the key activities, utilizing accurate data, collecting only what’s necessary at the right time, speeding up the process and increasing data accuracy.
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