Holistic Asset Management Planning Sets the Stage for Enterprise CMMS in a County DPW

Enterprise asset management is a way of doing business that leads to a sustainably operated organization with the tools required to deliver a desired level of service at an acceptable level of risk. It employs analytical tools and business processes that optimize lifecycle costs, extend infrastructure useful life, and deliver efficient renewal, replacement and capital investment strategies. KCI partnered with Anne Arundel County in Maryland to plan for an enterprise asset and work order management (AWOM) system in order to strengthen business and infrastructure decision making and provide defined levels of service to customers.

“Asset management is not new. Early adopters were the oil and gas, and manufacturing industries,” said KCI asset management consultant Madeleine Driscoll, PE. “Due to increasing regulations and aging infrastructure, asset management programs are becoming more prevalent in the municipal space.”

Benefits of asset management include:

  • availability of more accurate data
  • more efficient operations
  • enhanced customer satisfaction

Anne Arundel County’s Department of Public Works (DPW) started with the end in mind. They had a vision to heighten their commitment to protecting public health and the environment by implementing a formal asset management program. The organization was using outdated software that no longer fulfilled the organization’s needs, could not easily integrate with other information systems, and was on the brink of becoming unsupported by its developer. The focus on preparing for a new computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) provided the opportunity to take a fresh look at ways to enhance current business processes and formalize asset management strategies within the organization.

The county could have blindly purchased a new system, but they recognized that software alone was not going to achieve the desired outcomes. The goal of the project was to ensure the DPW’s future readiness through strategic planning and documentation across the three operational bureaus (Highways, Waste Management Services, and Utilities) as well as the Bureau of Engineering. According to Driscoll, “It was never intended to be a discreet project with a defined beginning and end, but rather a sustainable process that provided focus and vision to a large department.

Anne Arundel County Infographic 1

CMMS Discovery and Outreach

Anne Arundel County Infographic 2Over the course of two years, KCI engineers and analysts worked hand-in-hand with a dedicated group of county staff to gather information, conduct a formal needs assessment, document as-is workflows, develop technical requirements for the work order management software RFP, and create bureau-specific asset management plans.

“We followed a change management approach focused on engaging people along the way, which established buy-in for the new asset management program” said Regional Practice Leader Heidi Hammel, GISP, PMP. “Surveys and staff interviews helped build a deeper understanding of each group’s mission, goals and opportunities while gathering information about workflows, reports and associated activities.”

Our team also documented and analyzed 60 other data sources that had been identified to contain asset-related information, including physical attributes, condition assessments, work order history or financial data. Compiling this information into an asset register is a foundation of successful asset management efforts since data that is collected as part of everyday business practices (e.g. location, size, condition, work history, age, etc.) is then used to make better decisions regarding DPW renewal and replacement programs. The result was a comprehensive list of more than 600 individual requirements.

Anne Arundel County is taking a holistic approach to formalizing asset management in their organization. While some organizations may begin with a specific asset class, the DPW is assessing the needs and requirements of the entire Department.

Madeleine Driscoll, PEAsset Management Consultant and Senior Project Manager

Madeleine Driscoll, PE

Cross-functional workshops were held where participants were related by asset portfolio. High-level process workflows were developed to document 80-90% of the daily work performed within each bureau. The consensus developed was instrumental in designing efficient ‘to-be’ workflows that considered industry best practices. A total of 64 workflows that represented eight different business operations across eight asset classes were streamlined to just eight workflows total across asset classes, further enhancing the vision of the new CMMS, the principles of asset management and the holistic standardization approach.

Request for Proposal

The culmination of the discovery process led to a comprehensive request for proposal (RFP) for the new CMMS that, while initially focused on managing DPW-owned assets, would also be scalable to incorporate additional county-owned asset classes after initial implementation. Numerous bids were received for further evaluation through product demonstrations and interviews.

Asset Management Plans

At the same time, asset management plans were developed for the three operational bureaus to detail all necessary elements and information specific to each organizational focus area, including:

  • Definition of asset management concepts
  • A general description of the current state of asset management within DPW
  • The vision DPW leadership set for AWOM
  • Staffing resources that currently support asset management type functions
  • Possible alternate organization structures
  • Asset hierarchies
  • Critical asset classes
  • Assessment of existing and desired lifecycle management strategies
  • Bureau-specific initiatives to progress the AWOM program

Upon completion of the asset management plans, the designated AWOM coordinators had a shared understanding of the vision for implementing a formal asset management program and how the new software would support and enhance this effort. The implementation roadmap documented 40 initiatives to further the development of the program and embed asset management best practices within the organization.

“The needs assessment, asset analysis, new and improved workflows, asset management plan, and technical CMMS RFP has provided DPW with a solid base,” said Anne Arundel County Project Manager Steve Moulton. “From here, we can build a better sustainable management program and ways of doing business, to ensure our aging infrastructure is managed in a more proactive and sustainable manner.”

Next Steps

The Anne Arundel county initiative is a strong example of taking a decentralized approach to embedding asset management principals into an existing organization rather than creating a new specialized business unit to manage and implement a program. With a software system selected, KCI will assist DPW with asset inventory compilation and data clean-up efforts required to develop the asset register that will be used with the selected CMMS. KCI has also been assigned additional tasks focused on developing a framework to evaluate the risk amongst asset classes and help DPW further the implementation of the previously identified initiative.